Adam Yauch, of the Beastie Boys, died today, at forty-seven. Sasha Frere-Jones has a lovely and personal tribute to him on the New Yorker website. Oddly, I was at the Reading Festival show that Sasha mentions. I was in London working on an article and spent a free day out at Reading. While sitting on the lawn, I chatted for a while with a guy who had a band called Velour; in the following years, I kept waiting for Velour to make it big, so I could say I knew them when, but they did not. In any case, the Beastie Boys were about as much pure, vital fun as any pop act I've seen. The Prodigy, who preceded them, were the opposite. A vicious atmosphere developed during their set, and a bloody fight broke out near me, even as a bunch of German kids sang along to the Prodigy's misogynistic anthem with the words “snap my picture.” The moment the Beasties took the stage, it all turned to rambunctious bliss.