Monday, October 1, 2012 at 5:30 a.m.
GZA, Killer Mike
September 28, 2012
It is said that the third time's the charm, and after two less-than-stellar performances here in Orange County, we were betting on a third round sweep from Wu-Tang esteemed patriarch the GZA. The last couple times he was here, everything from the songs played to the scheduling seemed to be jumbled and lacking, and we were investing in a good heap of hope when we made our way to the Observatory on Friday night. In the past, remarks have been made about the overall quality of shows from Wu-Tang members, but this was still the same artist that was a part of two undeniably classic albums, and one of hip-hop's most consistently dope emcees.
Whether or not the previous shows had been poor didn't seem to factor in our decision to see GZA live, as that inner feeling of being able to have a small, personal piece of Wu-Tang in your life isn't something you can easily brush to the side.
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There was nothing flashy about GZA's performance; it was a clear archetype of substance over style. The fans were frenzied and rowdy, but stayed contained and kept their lips synced to every word. GZA's songs were replicated exceptionally, and it felt like we were intimately experiencing a living, breathing part of the Wu-Tang world as opposed to a bombastic, larger-than-life production. The Wu-Tang Clan might not have a reputation for being the hip-hop community's favorite live act, but there's plenty of reason to continue shelling out the cash to see them when a part of their unit is swinging by. We look forward to the fourth time around, GZA.
Overheard in the Crowd: "Wu!" "Wu-Tang!" about three million times. We counted.
Random Notebook Dump: While the main room was crowded with Wu-Tang diehards, the Constellation Room looked like a sketch show scene parodying the club scene. Bro's, bottles, and blondes everywhere.
Critic's Bias: GZA's Liquid Swords is one the first hip-hop albums I listened to front-to-back.