Live Review: Wu-Tang Clan, Ivan Ooze

24 February 2016 | 2:08 pm | Bryget Chrisfield

"Ghostface wanders around the front of the stage to sample some spliffs from the front section of the crowd - 'Let's see if that's that good shit?'"

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As we're discussing how awesome it would be if Wu-Tang shone their logo into the sky above, like the Batman signal, we round the corner and notice Margaret Court Arena's surrounds resemble a ghost town! This is no reflection on the atmosphere inside the venue, but something should definitely be done to inject a vibe outside. "You've gotta get high on the burn, not shots" — which translator do I run this overheard hot tip through?

It's local rapper Ivan Ooze's job to warm up the crowd and he raps about District 9. Ooze has a creative turn of phrase ("No drama/More marijuana/Spitting with iguanas...". There are actual cricket sound effects to punctuate a lyrical reference to crickets. War incorporates a sample of Edwin Starr's song of the same name and is a set highlight. He initiates some right side/left side audience participation. There are the requisite air-horn sounds and Ooze delivers.

"The air is so dense with weed smoke that we get high just from passive smoking."

There's a T-shirt for sale at the merch stand featuring one of Wu-Tang's backronyms: Witty Unpredictable Talent And Natural Game. And we've decided their logo should be called the Wu-merang. Since when do Wu-Tang fans sport pioneer beards? Hipsters are everywhere! As soon as Wu-Tang Clan materialise, the air is so dense with weed smoke that we get high just from passive smoking. Peeps go nuts for Shame On A Nigga and we marvel at the collective's rhyming majesty: rhyming "diarrhea" with "gonorrhoea" — props! From our seats in the nosebleed, the DJ's volume could be turned up a coupla notches 'cause the rapping's a bit shouty. You Can't Stop Me Now gets us all yelling along, "No matter how hard you try..." — the chorus melody is performed in trademark flat, nonchalant fashion.

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We're told Melbourne is "the Australian New York City". DJ Mathematics gets a chance to demonstrate his skillz. His quick-as-a-wink mixing is impressive and then he shows off by chucking in a couple of 360 pirouettes without missing a beat(match). He actually kicks off a shoe at a time while operating the decks as the track announces "kick off the shoe" and then mixes with his feet! There's air horn, champagne is constantly sprayed over the crowd and then Wu-Tang Clan "REEEEEEWIIIiiind!" Pogoers in GA can't jump in unison, probably 'cause they're too stoned. There are a few stage invaders, including a legend in a wheelchair who gets his moment to shine and a breakdancer who is so accomplished he's invited back onstage for another (back)spin.

Release Yo Self (Wu-Tang Vs The Beatles) brings the sax stabs and Wu-Tang Clan lead a sing along with The Fab Four's Come Together sample (we sound good, they sound dreadful). Stick to the rapping, bros! As we hold W signs above heads, and bounce them as if fanning flames, it's difficult to also brandish lit mobile phones. There's an obligatory segment from the OG version of Smells Like Teen Spirit before one Clan member tries to sing Space Oddity and then another jumps in with Let's Dance by way of Bowie tribute — stop singing! Shimmy Shimmy Ya ("Oh, baby, I like it RAAAAAW!") destroys us and then Got Your Money completely finishes us off.

There's a lotta, "When I say 'hip', you say 'hop'. Hip/HOP, Hip/HOP." And: "Wu!/TANG!, Wu!/TANG!" Punters start filing out before the show's finished, which is baffling. Ghostface Killah introduces an unknown he says he heard rapping outside the venue and moves to the side of the stage while this 'discovered' emerging artist is placed firmly in the spotlight. And he's not bad at all — impressive flow and vocal chops! Then Ghostface wanders around the front of the stage to sample some spliffs from the front section of the crowd — "Let's see if that's that good shit?" — and while he attempts to score weed for their after-party, over the mic no less, we blissfully leave the arena. PEACE!