Concert Reveiw: Wu-Tang Clan

Like the Universe itself the Wu-Tang Clan are order from chaos and the live show is 9 planets revolving around one stage. To me they are the perfect Hip-Hop group, the perfect 360 degree cipher of MCs. You know the rep and you know the catalogue, I can only begin to describe the experience…like a game of Russian Roulette we had a blast!

(Song titles do not appear in order)

Date: 5th July 2007

Venue: Hammersmith Apollo

In Attendance: Wu-Tang Killa Beys T. Wise and Edson G.Rant

Occasion: Wu-Tang Clan comin’ atcha!

I had been waiting for this show since long before the tickets arrived or the tour dates were announced, even before I knew so myself. In fact I’d been waiting for this show for a decade – ever since I got home and turned up the volume of Wu-Tang Forever in 1997.

My usual running mate Tes couldn’t make it at the last minute so I called around everyone I knew saying “do you want to see Wu-Tang tonight?!”, Grant was the first person to get back with the correct answer – “yes!” I made a beeline to his workplace and we were jumping on a bus soon after.

We make our way inside the Apollo after refreshing ourselves at a local hostelry and joined the Wuniform sporting masses that came to pay respects to the Wu-Tang Clan. The wait at the beginning is always rather tedious but tonight it is ridiculous – not a DJ in sight, just a Kanye West mixtape playing really quietly…on repeat…so lame. I feel like throwing something but it is not “some Ds on a chick” (on a side note: is this really the same Kanye who made All Falls Down!? What a dickhead). Two guys from Manchester come out and break the monotony with a couple of decent songs, I’m not sure who they are but I think I have seen them before and after their act the waiting game doesn’t last too much longer.

“Tiger Style!”

Enter the 36 Chambers – 9 hearts pumping to the beat of a RZA snare, plus four more chambers on the 1s and 2s (you do the Mathematics). The crowd becomes one huge wave of jumping energy as, with RZA in the lead, the Clan emerge onto the stage spraying water and champagne everywhere – if you want beef then bring the ruckus…Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthin’ To Fuck With!!

“When the MCs caaame…!”

Early songs come from Liquid Swords and Only Built For Cuban Linx…with Raekwon and Ghostface tearing through Criminology and Glaciers of Ice. The Clan are all lively and energetic bouncing off of each other and filling in each others lines seamlessly. GZA, Deck and RZA let loose before Ghostface’s stand out verse on 4th Chamber:

“Why is the sky blue? Why is water wet?”

With these words Rae comes up behind Ghost and splashes water all over him, leaving Masta Killa to comically towel him off whilst he keeps spitting; it is apparent that Raekwon is in high spirits and mischievous mood.

Method Man comes with the hook on the anthem Ice Cream and Ghost is clearly enjoying himself as he helps out.

Some fool gets up and runs across stage, U-God wastes no time launching a water bottle hard and fast in his direction.

“Clan In Da Front”

Next comes more from 36 Chambers, Tearz is a stand out and after we all put our pounds in the air for C.R.E.A.M Deck’s verse gets the attention it deserves.  Wu-Tang’s songs work perfectly for a live show – with so many MCs to accommodate it is uncommon for songs to be performed in their entirety. Instead different members jump in and out and although the order of MCs on the record is meticulously thought out it is refreshing to have different combos and pairings thrown up on stage. The sound is as loud as it gets, snares cracking and lyrics ripping through the track. Sometimes the vocals are muddied but they are at their clearest when everyone speaks together, plus everyone in the crowd knows every word anyway!

“Roll that shit, light that shit, smoke it!”

I had feared that the concert hall was going to be the one place I would not be enjoying the smoking ban – after all, the countless cigarettes did quite literally provide a smokescreen for puffing the funky stuff. As it turns out people with weed are now the only ones smoking! Better than I could have hoped for! I suppose nothing has changed – it is illegal to smoke it anywhere so right here is as good as anyplace!

“It’s the M.E.T.H.O.D Man!”

Showing his approval by ripping his solo tracks Method Man busies himself stage diving and crowd surfing – at one point he does a full front flip into the crowd!!

Meth, with so much charisma, clarity and energy is the natural centre piece of the live show; even if Rae is intent on interrupting him as he does some shout outs…he quickly gets his own back though:

“When I say Raekwon, you say: That n!gga is fucked up!”

He is not the only one; U-God is pouring Hennessy down Cappadonna’s throat and RZA has presented Meth with a bottle of Grey Goose, Meth declines but Rae is still goading him: “Drink all of it! Drink it all!”

RZA has been quiet, often standing off to the side watching his brothers at work; my guess is he’s savouring the moment. A huge grin spreads across his face at the roars and cheers he receives after Meth announces that today is RZA and Deck’s birthday. For the record RZA is 38 and Deck 37 but none of the Clan looks a day over 30.

The born days are not the only celebration of the night – we are all here to celebrate the life of the one and only Ol’ Dirty Bastard…Shimmy Shimmy Ya!

“Ol’ Dirty had a lot of love – he loved his Clan, he loved his brothers, he loved his family…and, he loved pussy!”

The girls are up on stage whilst Ghost sings Cherchez La Ghost, but they’ve been warned: Stop! Shake your body body – or get the hell off!

“1 dime and 12 fucking pennies” – Raekwon is still talking shit!

Unfortunately for the ladies everyone agrees – “this is the Apollo so you can get booed the hell off stage!”

“Wu-Tang Forever”

With the Clan Reunited the night is an unforgettable Triumph, the crowd has been fantastic – at times deafening as we have yelled and chanted and jumped and rocked and rolled.

“The energy you give to us, we give right back to you”

Love is heavy in the air, It’s Yourz, it’s ours, its one love and One Blood Under W.

Deck kicks off Triumph standing up front, cool in shades and they all proceed to rip it…until it gets to Raekwon’s verse and he just stands at the back saying nothing – the Clan turn to look at him as they fill in and it is obvious he is playing around for the sheer hell of it before he flexes the white gold tarantula on the last few lines.

It is pandemonium as the show closes and the house is brought down with Gravel Pit.

“Who wants to hear another Wu-Tang album?! Well, you’ll have to ask RZA about that!”

With all eyes on him RZA remains tight lipped: “BZZZZZZZZZ” is all he is saying! Well, the buzz is definitely growing and I for one am still buzzing from the showing live at the Apollo on this night.

“As we go…”

As they leave the stage the crowd stands, Ws raised, chanting the name; there is to be no encore but the love and appreciation is so strong that the Clan come out and take a bow (well, Meth does a back flip and flings water bottles to the balcony but you get the idea) before breaking out to the after/birthday party that we aren’t invited to.

It is a beautiful thing to see a sea of thousands of people who have spent the last 2 hours jumping, climbing and treading all over each other turn and shuffle out quietly and peacefully, gradually dispersing into the night.

“The Saga continues, Wu-Tang…Wu-Tang…”

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