Houston’s Numbers nightclub couldn’t be farther from the slums of Shaolin, but the grimy live music venue welcomed Staten Island’s own seminal rap supergroup, the Wu Tang Clan, last night (December 12) as part of their Rebirth Tour with open arms and a packed house.
In anticipation of the hip-hop icons blessing the stage, the swarm of fans had their W’s held high while chanting “Wu-Tang! Wu-Tang!” With the exception of RZA (on location shooting a movie) and the late great Ol’ Dirty Bastard, the entire Wu-Tang Clan – Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, GZA, Inspectah Deck, Masta Killa, U-God and Cappadonna—were in attendance and ready to rock the crowd with more energy than Con Edison.
The first lyrical dart was thrown by Ghostface, who launched into the first verse of “Bring Da Ruckus,” from the certified classic debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). The Clan then ran through other bangers like, “Shame on a Nigga,” “Clan in Da Front” and “Da Mystery of Chessboxin’.”
The audience, still engaged and thunderous in their chants, recited every word. Then, technical difficulties stymied the music, prompting Method Man to yell at the soundman to “Get this shit right!” Undaunted, the multitude ignited another “Wu-Tang!” chant and Masta Killa stepped into the cipher and went acapella until the beat kicked back in.
“How many niggas been with the Wu since ‘95?” asked The Chef. “We gon’ rock it together tonight!” RZA’s voice introduced “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta F’ Wit” and Inspectah Deck started it off. On cue, when The Clan offered up, “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t..,” the crowd boomeranged back with “Nuthing ta Fuck Wit!”
By this point, it was evident that Meth was the more engaging character with the audience. Tical’s trademark charisma shone through as he served up “Method Man” and then dove into the throng for some crowd surfing. Various members then offered up some of their solo morsels like GZA with “Liquid Swords,” U-God with “Dats Gangsta” and Rae with “Glaciers of Ice.”
DJ Mathematics showed off his skills on the 1’s and 2’s during a tribute to the late Gang Starr legend, Guru, when he used his feet to scratch the records. Johnny Blaze then sent a jolt through the crowd with the sinister, synth-soaked “Bring The Pain,” the first single from his platinum selling solo debut album Tical. GZA dropped “4th Chamber,” another jewel from his critically acclaimed disc Liquid Swords before the group jumped into “It’s Yourz” from Wu-Tang Forever, “One Blood” from The W and, of course, “C.R.E.A.M.”
No Wu-Tang show is complete without a tribute to fallen member ODB, who passed in 2004, and the Clan paid homage in a unique way by bringing Russell Jones’ son, Young Dirty Bastard, to the stage to spit his father’s verses on “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” and “Brooklyn Zoo.”
To close out the show, the Clan served up their ultimate posse cut, “Triumph,” before letting Meth put a stamp on it with “Da Rockwilder.” The icing on the cake, though, was the front row mob literally holding the rapper up by his feet as he spit his verse.
Wu are scheduled to hit Atlanta’s Center Stage Theatre on Thursday, December 16. —Maurice Bobb
Check out photos from the show courtesy of Xphaqtor below.