I couldn't care less about the coming and goings, and most likely eventual crash and burn, of Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, but whenever I watch the Wu-Tang Clan DVD showing the now departed Ol’ Dirty Bastard just sitting listlessly and obviously stoned out of his gourd onstage during the Wu-Tang Clan reunion show that took place on July 17th 2004 in San Bernardino, California, it makes me contemplate the double edged sword of fame. His death was a true blow to the music world.
Still the Clan have managed to soldier on by absorbing the loss of their brother and using the tragedy to become stronger. They proved it in spades with their performance to a near capacity crowd at the historical Red Rocks Amphitheatre as the headliners of the 2007 Rock the Bells festival. The night also happened to be the birthday of Wu member GZA/Genius that added a celebratory mood of the show. Despite that, like most Wu-Tang shows, there was a mix of good and bad elements.
On the positive side the clan, who have just started performing with a live band called Stone Mecca, ran through a slew of hits from all of their current albums. While the live band still needs some time to gel with the group, the band did add a unique take on Wu classics like “Reunited” and “Gravel Pit.”
The band also delighted the crowd with joints from the members various solo albums like Rakewon’s “Incarcerated Scarfaces” and a performance of Ol’ Dirty Bastards “Shimmy, Shimmy Ya” with vocals courtesy of Ol’ Dirty Bastards first born son, who was introduced to the crowd by the groups de-facto leader RZA. The group also ran though many of the hits from their first album including “Protect Ya Neck” and “C.R.E.A.M.”
On the negative side Method Man didn’t show up for the show, although his frequent partner in rhyme Redman did make an appearance to spit out a few verses. The set was also plagued by some sound issues, causing the group to get into a verbal confrontation with the sound man. Over all, they were small mishaps that didn't really detract from an otherwise amazing show.
Another disappointment was that the band didn’t play any material from their upcoming album 8 Diagrams despite throwing postcards to the crowd advertising it and selling merchandise with the album art. The album is set to be released on November 13th.
As for the festival itself the show was extremely well organized, unfortunately something that’s often a rarity for rap shows, and the sets by Cypress Hill and Nas made the show worth the ticket price.