Live Review: Wu-Tang Clan

29 February 2016 | 1:21 pm | Rip Nicholson

"This seemingly lifetime event left an aftertaste more like an anticipated encounter with a dream girl for a short tryst behind the bushes."

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A golden beam of light shoots out the wings of Wu as if to call upon the legion of Wu to descend upon Riverstage, tonight turned into the gravel pit for the last stop of a highly successful Australian tour.

Tonight seems clear that we are witnessing a once-in-a-lifetime event. What may never happen again is, right now, the city's complete hip hop contingent blowing off their week on a Friday night as the five available members of the supergroup Wu-Tang Clan assemble for one of the rarest Australian visits.

Host RZA steps forth to proclaim: "If you're not here to have a good time, you are wasting your time," before Bring Da Ruckus is pushed out as Raekwon The Chef and Ghostface Killah play supporting roles with GZA and Masta Killa strutting in and out to make up for the conspicuously incomplete Clan. It's befuddled barrage of verse drops, but the lack of cohesion is overwhelmed in the romance of being in front of the legendary Wu-Tang Clan as a rendition of their seminal 1993 album Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) is punched out, with Shame On A Nigga and Clan In Da Front amping the outdoor setting to 11.

Raekwon and Ghostface diversify the setlist with the many flavours of Ice Cream — one of the Clan's few solo joints — before RZA intros C.R.E.A.M., which by now has the call-and-response tightened before classic banger Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing Ta Fuck Wit is sharpened into a live weapon of choice alongside the tantalising sample drop of Gladys Knight & The Pips cuts thick into Can It Be All So Simple. During a breather, DJ Mathematics throws the history card on the decks — segueing RZA's dedications to Biggie Smalls, 'Pac and the late Clan original Ol' Dirty Bastard with Shimmy Shimmy Ya and Baby I Got Your Money. In its final sequence Gravel Pit swings out, before RZA sends off thanking the promoters.

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A 23-year catalogue stabbed with syncopated rounds of verbal jousting, blows of sample-heavy spins and unstrung riffs mattered not for what was, all-in-all, an affair of nostalgia. However, this seemingly lifetime event left an aftertaste like a night with your dream girl turning out to be a short tryst behind the bushes. Still: memorable and enchanting — Wu-Tang forever.