House of Blues Anaheim
The upper railing of the Garden Walk was filled with half naked women and hip-hop heads waiting their turn to get in and see Wu-Tang Clan perform on the House of Blues stage last Friday. Wu-Tang's east coast "tiger style" has been around since 1992, gaining a diverse fan base along the way. Orange County went crazy and bought every seat when these tickets went on sale. Having seen Wu-Tang previously, I have to say, the vibe was just not the same and here are a few reasons why.
I've only seen four or five members of the Wu-Tang Clan once before, a few years ago, but I do remember their stage presence keeping a smile on my face for so long my cheeks hurt. The sound from the crowd was so in sync, it seemed like every person knew every word. Bouncing to the beat and shaking your head to faster lyrics was not the energy missing Friday night. The Clan themselves didn't skip a beat, but their energy on stage was almost non-existent. They gave shout-outs and had the crowd using the key words to certain songs, but they seemed like they just didn't want to be there.
2. A Better Venue
This was my first time at the new House of Blues in the Anaheim Garden Walk, parking sucks and it's not that easy to find, but I have always held HOB in high regard. I haven't seen any shows at the new location yet, so I didn't know what to expect. The venue itself was nice, they made some great upgrades from the old spot at Downtown Disney, however, the rules of this place make it wrong for this event. The bar had Vegas prices, $15 -16 for a vodka soda and took what seemed like forever to get a drink and in addition, the venue closes early. It seemed like everywhere I turned a staff member was telling someone not to do something. Anyone using an e-cigarette was quickly tapped on the shoulder, "umm excuse me" and directed to the spot reserved for smoking outside by the front door. That was just for tobacco, so you mean I can't blaze at a Wu-Tang show?
3. Method Man
When Wu-Tang came on stage individually to their part of the playing song. I felt a bit of disappointment as they were all finally on stage and Method Man was not there. Maybe his absence is the reason for the lack of Clan energy on stage. Meth has a voice that commands attention, coupled with explosive energy, and entertaining lyrics, it's hard to imagine the show wouldn't have been better if he was there, he brings the ruckus.
4. An Opening Act
The doors opened at 8 p.m. and Wu wasn't scheduled to go on until 10:15 p.m. but Hugh Heff and Killa Priest were set as the opening acts. Hugh did about three songs and Killa only one, the shortest opening l've ever seen. Putting up a few more artists to fill in time would have made the transition smoother. The opening act was so short, if you had gone to smoke a cigarette, you would have missed it.
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5. A legit smoking patio
It's understandable this venue is fairly new, so hopefully a patio area will be something they think of adding soon. House of Blues lacks an adequate area for smokers. At a hip-hop show the patio is not just for people who smoke but, aspiring music artists, tattoo artist, and other types of artists to network. At an event like this one, the crowd is so diverse, you never know who you're gonna meet and "can I bum a smoke" or "do you have a lighter" are huge conversation starters. The freedom to pay attention to yourself and those around you opposed to the music on stage happens best on the patio.
The House of Blues was sold out for this show, the fans were jumping up and down and singing the lyrics with Wu-Tang. Clearly fans were enjoying the performance, it was just... good. I guess I was expecting more.