Wu Tang Clan’s 20th Anniversary tour in Toronto
Due to years of internal conflict with the group, there was much cynicism that the concert might be a bust. That didn’t stop the show from being entirely sold out and requiring Ticketmaster to cancel a slew of late purchases due to an over-capacity sell-out at the Kool Haus, which can hold 3,000 spectators.
If it weren’t for the fact that is was Wu Tang, I think most people would’ve been livid. Hundreds of fans had their tickets refunded, some unfortunately weren’t aware until they arrived on Nov. 28 at the venue, shut out by an 8”x11” sheet that read “tickets sold after Nov. 14 will be refunded.”For those actually inside, there were other concerns as well. You could openly hear some fans in the crowd talking before the show wondering how many of the Clan were gonna make this performance, among all the doubt of the quality of the show to come. Luckily, fans weren’t too disappointed, but there were many complaints about the lack of space, bad sound quality, and also the lack of ability to exit and move freely.There were a lot of supporting acts before we got to the main opening act of Peter Jackson, G-Five and his live band took the stage. Jackson’s 9-0-Nickel Entertainment produced the entire show, and can’t deny that he set up a hell of a night.
On the turntables throwing down some hardened old school hip-hop-esque tracks was DJ Merciless fresh out of Toronto. He was dropping beats to warm the crowd up shortly after the doors opened around 6 p.m.After that another Toronto-based artist by the name of Symmetry took to the stage with attitude and aggression. He had a group of breakdancers to back him up called the Supernaturals, which firmly replaced his usual Shing Shing Regime leaving him at a loss of his two fellow emcess Cee Self 7 and Salute Truth, and his usual spinner DJ Akiin. There were many other supporting acts in between, but things really got started once Peter Jackson and company hit the stage. Jackson and his live band really livened up the crowd with a powerful performance, switching and combining styles between reggae tunes like “Hustler,” and back to dance tunes like “Hundred Miles” seamlessly. The band added a nice touch and something extra to the night of mostly beats and rhymes.
Nearing the end of his set, Jackson got the crowd riled up for the Clan, saying that Wu Tang was coming up next and he had to call it a night.
He finished with a bang on his raging track “I Don’t Give a Fuck,” and g0t the crowd pumped.Expecting Wu Tang immediately due to Jackson’s haste to get off stage, the crowd instead got 90s hip-hop classics for the next while. The Clan was about an hour late getting on stage, sans three members, just after 1 a.m.Method Man broke out after about four songs, but Rza apparently had a scheduling conflict, also missing the Montreal stop of the tour and Masta Killa never made it past the border after having a conflict with the border patrol. This was disappointing to fans, due to the fact that several other of the tour’s shows had all eight members as expected.
Method pulled off a new trick on this night though. He orchestrated the crowd to make a hand bridge for him so he could surf the crowd on his feet and continue performing. He then launched himself in the air and was giving a soft landing as the crowd around him caught him he then surfed back to the stage. Their set list covered most of the well known classics from 36 Chambers, and Wu Tang Forever, which definitely made up for some of the crowd’s disdain.
Method Man’s energy and zeal from beginning to end dwarfed that of almost all other Clan members except for Ghostface Killah face who seemed to feed off of Method and thus matched his energy level. And of course Raekwon killed every bit of his set on point as usual. With seasoned veterans like this, you can see a definite confidence and comfort that can only come from years of experience. Almost to the degree of seeming like they don’t even have to try anymore.There were a few bumps in the road, and a melting pot crowd with clusters from every walk of life you could possibly think of, from hardcore to light as a feather. One fan even lamented that they could smell marijuana. I guess it was their first hip-hop show. All in all though, it was a solid night of entertainment, and many in the crowd got to see six eighths of the legendary Wu Tang Clan, and opportunity not soon to present itself again.
Story by Devin Size, with files and photos from Tee Onek