At exactly midnight, Wu-Tang Clan members Method Man, Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and affiliate Street Life blazed the stage to wish everyone at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom a very happy Wu Years. Despite all the members being over 40 as Method Man emphasized, they were vibrant and rocked the venue for almost two hours.
Method Man is categorized as being the greatest hip hop performer in history, among Redman and Busta Rhymes and he proved why last night. Crowd surfing, joining the mosh pit, spitting his verses on top of stereos, performing actually really dope old school dance moves and possessing a stage presence that was so natural and charming, he shined bright and his brothers Ghostface and Rae who are much more reserved, were happy to support him as a true team does. Although very sweetly and boy band like, the members including Street Life did a two-step in unison as soon as “Reunited” came on.
Their DJ, Allah Mathematics, in classic hip hop form, did a whole DJ set dedicated to the late and great Jam Master Jay who was Run-D.M.C.’s DJ as well as one of the most respected DJ’s in history. Scratching records with his nose, with his hands behind his back and doing other incredible tricks while simultaneously creating a dope beat, the whole set reminded me of the scene in Juice during the DJ competition, back when DJing was an art form and a founding principle in hip hop.
Wu-Tang was so gracious of the sold out crowd that number one they chose to spend their New Years with Wu and also that they chose to spend the first day of marijuana being officially legal in Colorado. Because of the special occasion, Method Man introduced a new concept: the DJ would play any random song from the Wu-Tang repertoire and based on the crowd’s reaction, they would decide whether to perform that track or not. Of course, “C.R.E.A.M.” and “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothing Ta F’ Wit’” got unanimous cheer.
Highlights of the evening were the Ol’ Dirty Bastard tribute, “dedicated to our brother and yours” as Meth articulated and Ghostface sought an audience member who could spit ODB’s verse in “Protect Ya Neck.” Countless people hopped on the stage only to second guess themselves and be dismissed, before finally, after about five people in, a completely wasted older man demolished the verse and the rest of the clan could perform the classic.
The sound at times was distorted and they kept having to ask for the mics to be turned up, but nonetheless the show was incredible. To say the venue was turned up would be an understatement. Legendary hip hop performers, New Year’s Eve, belligerently wasted hip hop heads and an abundance of weed had Cervantes on another level. In a music era where hip hop groups are lacking, it was nostalgic to see Wu-Tang Clan twenty years later still bonded and still doing performances. The aspect of family between them was crystal clear as their transitions were seamless and whether it was a quick mic swap or taking on the role as the hype man/ad-libber during someone else’s verse, they supported each other every step of the way. Wu Year’s Eve was the perfect way to bring in 2014, providing hip hop history while preparing us for a whole new year of music.