*A reunited Wu-Tang Clan did exactly what group member Raekwon told the crowd they would do Sunday night at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. “No disrespect to none of y’all,” he said, “but we came to steal this sh** tonight!”
Commanding the festival’s Outdoor Theatre stage, the legendary rap collective performed over an hour of hits from “Enter The 36 Chambers” and the various members’ solo catalogues.
Taking the stage with an orchestra at their backs and heavy winds kicking sand in their faces, the Wu members lit the dynamite with “Protect Ya Neck,” “Bring Da Ruckus” and “Shame on a N—a,” all from their two-decade-old debut album. The Wu then hopscotched across the various staples of its time-worn live show, including a smattering of solo hits like “Bring The Pain” and “Duel of the Iron Mic,” RZA diatribes about the power of music, touching Ol’ Dirty Bastard tributes set to “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” and “Brooklyn Zoo,” and a smoldering “Triumph” to cap off the evening.
The biggest and best surprise of the performance came when Redman — who turns 43 this week — strolled onstage to manhandle “Da Rockwilder” with his “Blackout!” partner Method Man. He later returned so that the entire crowd could wish him a happy birthday.
But more than the song selections or guest appearances, the Wu demonstrated an easiness within their ranks that was encouraging for diehard fans to witness.
After the group’s last album, 2007’s “8 Diagrams,” was mired in creative disagreements that prevented the full group from touring together, all seems tranquil within the Clan as they gear up for the 20th anniversary of “36 Chambers.” The MCs still have their personal agendas first and foremost — Ghostface Killah, wearing a Wu-Tang shirt and GFK hat, ended the set by telling the crowd to purchase his “12 Reasons To Die” album when it hits stores on Tuesday — but the fact that he, Raekwon and the RZA were all playfully interacting during the performance is a good sign for WTC as it gears up for its sixth studio album.
The RZA asked the audience if it was ready for “one more” new Wu-Tang album, to commemorate the 20th anniversary of their landmark debut.
If the Wu-Tang mastermind is suggesting that “A Better Tomorrow,” due out in July, is the group’s swan song, then all-hands-on-deck Wu-Tang performances like the Coachella set need to be savored even more dearly. It’s not every day the combined forces of Method Man, GZA, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, Raekwon, RZA, U-God and Cappadonna form like Voltron, and by doing so at Coachella, the mighty Wu stole the show.