At LAX last night, memories of a near-fatal plane crash faded amid a flurry of cymbal crashes. DJ AM and Travis Barker returned to the Luxor nightclub for their first Vegas show since both were nearly killed in a Sept. 19 Learjet crash near Columbia, S.C., that claimed the lives of four other passengers, including a longtime assistant to Barker, Chris Baker. The first reports were that DJ AM (real name: Adam Goldstein) and Barker (real name: Travis Barker) were so badly injured they might never see the stage again. Goldstein was burned on his hands and the right side of his head. Barker, the onetime drummer for Blink-182, suffered burns over much of his lower body (since the incident, both artists have filed lawsuits in relation to the crash).
But last night at 12:50 a.m., when the duo hit the stage that was plopped in the middle of the LAX dance floor, it seemed as if the crash never happened. Neither showed any ill effects, physically or artistically. Their entrance was like a couple of boxers entering the ring. AM was up first, clad in a red button-down shirt he soon shed to reveal a simple black T-shirt. His musical weapons of choice, as always, were a pair of turntables and a MacBook Pro laptop computer. Barker climbed up to his drum set, which he would fairly victimize for the next 50 minutes, wearing a black hooded sweatshirt, a black cap with a red L.A. Dodgers logo spun backward on his head, and long denim shorts. The sweatshirt was tossed immediately, revealing Barker’s famously tattooed torso. I couldn’t detect, with the naked eye, any evidence of injury, but TMZ has posted photos of the burns on his back, taken last night as he left the stage. In any case, it's clear that Barker has put on a few pounds since the last time he and Goldstein appeared in Vegas, back in June at LAX. Goldstein himself, solo, has appeared at Pure at Caesars Palace a few times since the accident (see my story from November HERE) and will be back on Friday night. The LAX show (Goldstein is an investor in the club) was the second return show the duo have performed. They performed at The Wiltern in Los Angeles on New Year’s eve, but hadn’t taken the stage in Vegas since June 18.
The time off hasn’t dulled the energy of these two. From the moment they vaulted into Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song” to start the set, it was obvious that this would be no nostalgia show. Watching Barker pound away tirelessly on a set that, really, should be swapped out each week for the punishment, you’re reminded of the old tavern line, “I’ll have what he’s having.” His thunderclaps backed Goldstein’s typically imaginative mash-ups (rare is the entertainment act that can move seamlessly from Guns ‘N Roses “My Michelle” to “Roxanne” by the Police to Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Were Made for Walking.”). Beastie Boys, Oasis, Judas Priest and the Who were given a healthy sampling, and midway through the show LMFAO (the rising electro/hip-hop duo, LMFAO, to be precise) ambled on the stage and hip-hopped between the two stars of the show.
The audience about filled the 1,800-capacity club, which spilled out of the club at around 2 a.m., sufficiently rocked. One of those bopping to the duo’s nonstop set was Dr. Dre, and hey, if it’s OK with the good doctor, it’s OK by me.