The Roots promise a few magic tricks at July 4 concert

The Roots have their own mural at the World Communications Charter School in Philly.  Credit: Chris Jordan
The Roots have their own mural at the World Communications Charter School in Philly.
Credit: Chris Jordan

The 4th of July is a magical time in Philadelphia.

Just ask Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson of the Roots, which will once again be the house band for the annual Wawa Welcome America! main concert July 4 on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

“It’s not a Roots event until we sneak a few rabbits out of the hat that Philly doesn’t know about,” Questlove says. “No one knew about Lauryn Hill last year or about Boyz II Men the year before. I kind of like that surprise element so we have a lot of surprises and a lot of walk ons that we haven’t announced. We’re trying to put on the world’s greatest variety show and hopefully make it a tradition.”

The announced guests are pretty impressive, too, with Ne-Yo, Jill Scott, John Mayer, Demi Lovato, Ben Taylor, J. Cole and Grace Potter on board this year. North Philly funnyman Kevin Hart is the host.

“There’s going to be a lot of work involved from our end but when you love your work and love what you do, it’s a lot of fun,” says Roots keyboardist James Poyser.

More than 1 million are expected at the free concert. It’s the midpoint of a very big year for the Roots, which saw them named as the house band for the upcoming “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon,” starting in February next year. Locally, the guys also had their own mural unveiled at the World Communications Charter School at Broad and South streets in the spring and they just announced an album collaboration with Elvis Costello, due out in the fall.

“One day when he was a guest on the Fallon show and it was the third successful collaboration between the Roots and Elvis, I said, ‘OK, let’s make this official, let’s get married,’” Questlove says. “The album is called ‘Wise Up Ghost.’”

Drumming is not Questlove’s only skill. He’s just released a memoir, “Mo’ Meta Blues: The World According to Questlove,” and is writing the text for a coffee table book on “Soul Train,” he says.

As for the July 4th show, it culminates with a fireworks display over the art museum.

“They’re not only Philadelphia’s house band, the Roots is the world’s house band,” says Mayor Michael Nutter.


If you go

Wawa Welcome America! concert feat. the Roots, Ne-Yo, Jill Scott, John Mayer, Demi Lovato, Ben Taylor, J. Cole and Grace Potter
Hosted by Kevin Hart
Thursday, July 4, 7-11 p.m.
Ben Franklin Pkwy, 20th Street to Eakins Oval
Free
www.welcomeamerica.com

 

Other Welcome America! events include:

“Silver Linings Playbook” will be shown Monday at 9 p.m. at Rittenhouse Square and “Rocky” will be shown Tuesday at 9 p.m.

The National Constitution Center offers free admission all day Tuesday.

Wawa will distribute four tons of free hoagies at the Independence Visitor Center Lawn on Market Street between Fifth and Sixth streets from noon to 2 p.m. on Tuesday.

Peter Nero and Philly Pops! perform a free concert at Independence Hall on Wednesday at 8 p.m.

The Party on the Parkway is Thursday (July 4!) from noon to 7 p.m. on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway.

The Taste of Philly is Friday through Sunday at Penn’s Landing.


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

News

Mets mascot Mr. Met target of Bill Clinton…

Mets mascot Mr. Met has told how he ended up in the crosshairs of a Secret Service sniper rifle. The man behind the Mr. Met…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Local

African couple claiming misidentification in robbery case to…

At a bail hearing today for Vickson and Lorfu Korlewala, charged in the robbery of an 80-year-old woman, bail was reduced from $1 million total to $500,000.

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Dick Wolf to bring fictionalized world of 'Law…

A&E has ordered a pilot called "D.O.A." from "Law and Order" mastermind Dick Wolf that will focus on real detectives reexamining cold cases. A trio…

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

NHL

Rangers draw first blood against Flyers in Game…

Brad Richards and Derek Stepan scored power-play goals 47 seconds apart to lead the Rangers to a 4-1 win.

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.