City National Grove of Anaheim
Jan. 18, 2012
Even without Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, Wu-Tang Clan at the City National Grove of Anaheim last night was nothing short of spectacular. The C.R.E.A.M. Team showed Orange County what real east coast hip hop looks and sounds like, with their Wu Fest Tour. (Hopefully everyone threw away their Drake and Wiz Khalifa CDs after)
Upon entering the foggy smoke filled room with a pungent aroma of weed, and purple lights to match the Purple Haze in the audience's pockets, the crowd made their presence known with Wu W's high up in the air while screaming, "Wu-Tang, Wu-Tang". As the lights dimmed, the Clan pumped the crowed up even more by saying, "Turn my mic up" and "What you know about Wu-Tang, West Coast?" As the notorious crew took the stage, they chanted "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nothing to Fuck With." Champagne bottles were popped and joints were lit as Wu-Tang prepared to take the crowd back to the mid-'90s with hits like "C.R.E.A.M.", "Protect Ya Neck" and "Shame On A Nigga." (I'm pretty sure I got a contact high.) It was definitely one of the most entertaining entrances I've seen.
As it was with the MCs, there wasn't a lack of joints on stage either. Masta Killa took center stage and shouted with a smile, "Weed is legal" then broke out into an amazing freestyle. The already energized crowd took it to another level, as an pit broke out with b-boys stutter-stepping, back-flipping, head-spinning and pop-locking to every track.
In the middle of their set, Method Man did a spoken word freestyle in tribute to the late Ol' Dirty Bastard. He then dove into crazed fans. The crowd erupted into a mosh pit, as 12 O'clock (from ODB's original group Brooklyn Zoo) took the stage to perform. I could feel the love in the building, and anyone in attendance could feel the spirt of ODB in the building.
RZA took us back to the the streets of Queens, New York as their DJ Mathematics did a stunning tribute to the late Jam Master Jay. RZA stressed that Mathematics was doing everything by hand (not with an iPod) as he scratched his turntables behind his back, in handcuffs, and even kicked his Wu Wear shoes off to scribble with his bare feet without skipping a beat.
This night was a night of dedications, as Method Man dedicated the last song, "Protect Ya Neck" to Jill Scott. The true blue crew was in full effect as every loyal fan sang word for word to this track that started it all. At the end of the song, Jill Scott appeared from back stage and joined Wu-Tang on stage for the night. RZA also added a plug for the upcoming movie Red Tails, which Method Man plays a role in.
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Wu-Tang's set was over an hour long, filled with goofy stage antics and energizing songs. This concert was one for the ages. If you are kicking yourself after reading this, don't miss out when the Wu-Tang Clan performs at the Paid Dues Festival in San Bernardino on April 7.
Critic's Bias: Wu-Tang Clan's performance was memorable and a highlight concert for life. This concert gave me faith that hip hop will rise again. Hopefully Power 106 will stop playing fake techno and hip-hop sellouts.
The Crowd: At times it seemed like the night was more of a fashion show than a hip-hop concert. It was fitted New Era hats and heels galore. Who wears a shiny sequin dress to a hip hop concert? You could definitely tell the difference between the b-boys, OC bros and hip-hop loyalists in the crowd.
Random Notebook Dump: The crowd looked confused in between sets, while the house DJ played old school hip-hop like Busta Rhymes, Natorious B.I.G., Nas and other classics.