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Wu-Tang live

| December 19, 2007 | 0 Comments

Wu-Tang Clan
Metro, Chicago
Saturday, December 15, 2007


Less than four months after successfully headlining the Rock The Bells hip-hop festival at Northerly Island, the Wu-Tang Clan returned to Chicago to kick off a 25-stop nationwide tour. Not so surprisingly, the group’s producer-on-the-mic, Rza, was the only absent member at the Metro.

On top of the Rza having booked a small solo tour that conflicted with the first leg of the Wu-Tang tour, some of the group’s MCs (especially Raekwon and Ghostface) have expressed distaste with the experimental-styled production of the Wu’s new album, 8 Diagrams. This dissatisfaction explains why, at this particular show, the group didn’t perform any songs off of the new record. Instead, like their set at Rock The Bells, they stuck to the grimy classics.

But before Wu-Tang appeared much later in the evening, a number of openers, most notably the Molemen’s latest recruits, Decay and Astonish, and NYC indie stalwart C-Rayz Walz, put on strong sets. While C-Rayz Walz was arguably the most talented opening act with his fluent blend of braggadocio and bugged-out raps, being the fourth to perform, he received little love from the crowd who impatiently chanted “Wu-Tang!” and threw their “Ws” up in the sky. Impressively, C-Rayz carried on amid the jeers, which eventually died down. But when the chants of “Wu-Tang” kicked back in, Wu affiliate Killah Priest had to step in and defend his fellow New Yorker.

By the time C-Rayz wrapped up his set, the audience was getting even grouchier. And when the Metro announced someone’s car was illegally parked and blocking the Wu-Tang bus, much of fans started whining as if they knew the culprit was standing right next to them. A half-hour or so later, Wu-Tang B-teamer Cappadonna popped out to warm up the headlining set and then Raekwon, Ghostface, Method Man, the Gza, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa, and U-God appeared to an eruption of cheers. In comparison to the their Rock The Bells performance, the group seemed a little more focused and less scattered this time around, not fighting for the spotlight, but rather letting each other get their shine. But like Rock The Bells’ show, the Wu kept the focus on material from the first four years of their career, which included the classic hood anthem “C.R.E.A.M.” and Raekwon’s dark solo hit, “Incarcerated Scarfaces.”

While no one was really left out of the momentum, Method Man put on the best show. In addition to ignoring the Metro’s no-smoking policy by puffing on a blunt, Meth stood out by repeatedly stepping over the photo pit and getting close to the crowd. But no one expected him to pull a Jackie Chan-inspired move and actually walk into the audience and stand on top of his fan’s hands. Amazingly, the MC actually stood steady and kept rapping for a few moments. And somehow, the show remained equally entertaining the remainder of the performance.

Most would agree that at least on wax, the Wu-Tang simply don’t always stun like they once did with their imaginative, Kung-fu influenced hip-hop. What this show proved, though, is the group (minus the Rza) knows what the fans want and they aren’t afraid to relive an unforgettable piece of mid-’90s hip-hop history.

— Max Herman

Category: Live Reviews, Weekly

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