On Friday night swarms of people made their way out to Trust Arena in West Auckland to witness what would be one of the biggest hip-hop events in Auckland. Wu-Tang Clan, 8 of 9 original members, took the stage. Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s (RIP) parts were done by his firstborn son Young Dirty Bastard. Though some of them have been to our shores before, this is the first time they are all together and the excitement showed with Trust Arena being packed to the edges with about 5000 people.
The weather was not the best and this seemed to push people inside quicker but it was quite a slow process to get in. Sadly due to my being held up with a ticketing issue I only got in to catch the end of SWIDT’s set. I managed to catch them performing ‘312’ & ‘Conquer’ and even on those 2 songs alone you can see why SWIDT are becoming a well-known name in themselves. They know how to deliver an electric set.
Next to take the stage was the doctor (literally) & rapper hailing from Detroit, Lazarus. I have to be honest, his set didn’t seem to do much for me or the crowd. Though he is clearly involved with Wu-Tang in some ways, I think it took a while for the crowd to get used to him. They definitely did as his acapella bars flowed throughout the set, but I don’t know if that was enough. It may have been different if he had a longer set but it was very short and sweet.
Then the wait began for Wu-Tang. This changeover seemed to incur a longer wait, making those in the first few rows of the crowd get pushy and excited. But after a bit of a wait, the stage lights darkened and the yellow ‘W’ lit the back screen. DJ Mathematics got the music going as the visuals played out. Finally, the members of the Wu-Tang Clan emerged. Though it wasn’t all at once. They took the stage in segmented moments, a member at a time, with Cappadonna and U-god coming out a bit further into the set. They all then took the front of the stage, letting the crowd see the full original lineup in all its glory, including YDB.
Wu-Tang was here celebrating what has been cited as one of the greatest hip-hop albums in history Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). It was the 25th-anniversary tour and even though they performed it in its entirety they also threw in some extra tracks as well such as ‘Shimmy Shimmy Ya’ and a cover of Rick James ‘Mary Jane’. Throughout the set, there were a lot of moments for them to interact with the crowd, whether it was Rza drowning them in champagne or getting a cup of Gatorade from Method Man. The crowd also constantly displayed their ‘W’ throughout the night. Though I have to say the crowd moment I enjoyed would have to be when they lit the room up with their phones and lighters. You could see the mix of white and orange lights and it was a very strong image and they turned all the stage lights out. But all they had to do to get the crowd going is mention Australia, which they did quite a bit. It was mainly in reference to either singing louder or jumping higher, with Method Man even telling people that “if you have a Wu-Tang shirt on and you’re not jumping to get the fuck out”.
Throughout the night though I have to say Method Man really stood out for me as the hype man but also a person who really appreciated those who supports what he does. He seemed to be enjoying himself the most, busting out some dance moves and constantly smiling. Above I mentioned him supplying the crowd with Gatorade but he also jumped down to the barrier to say hi to everybody and even gifted his Wu-Tang chain to a girl in a wheelchair at the front. Even as the clan departed the stage he jumped down to the front to say hi to as many as he could along the front of the whole barrier. I feel as though I could give you every detail of the show but honestly, it really was one of those shows where you had to be there. Hopefully, these photos give you a better look at what it was.