Wu-Tang Clan Celebrate Their 25th Anniversary at Smart Financial

RZA prepares to introduce the rest of the Wu-Tang Clan.
RZA prepares to introduce the rest of the Wu-Tang Clan. Photo by Jack Gorman
“Houston…Sugar Land…I want to feel the energy!” yelled RZA as he stood center stage at the Smart Financial Centre, dwarfed by a massive yellow Wu-Tang logo being projected overhead.

The crowd in the Sugar Land stadium threw up hands locked together in the Wu-Tang symbol before Raekwon, Inspectah Deck, Ghostface Killah, U God, GZA, Masta Killah, Raekwon, Cappadona, and one new member draped in a red Houston Rockets/Wu Tang mash up T-shirt.

“I hear y’all…but I'm talking about that youthful energy. The energy that come from a youth like YDB,” the group’s leader explained while motioning back to the animated member in the red shirt. A huge black and white photo of the late Old Dirty Bastard flashed across the screen as the chords for the intro to "Brooklyn Zoo" filled the room. The Young Dirty Bastard, or YDB as RZA called him, sprang forward and the room erupted in applause.

click to enlarge YDB performs with the same infectious energy of his late father. - PHOTO BY JACK GORMAN
YDB performs with the same infectious energy of his late father.
Photo by Jack Gorman
YDB is the spitting image of his father, ODB, and brings the same look, sound, and energy his father displayed 25 years ago when Wu-Tang Clan hit the world’s collective conscious with their debut album Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). YDB captured the crowd as he ran through some of his father’s solo hits, walking through the crowd as “Got Your Money” and “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” blasted through the auditorium.

The Wu-Tang Clan recently finished the Gods Of Rap tour which had the group performing across Europe with Public Enemy and De La Soul. They almost immediately went from that excursion to touring stateside for the 25 year celebration of their debut album. The group released a four-part documentary on Showtime earlier this year and Wu-Tang: An American Saga, the mini-series based on the group’s beginnings, is currently getting high reviews on Hulu. It’s a busy year for the group whose members have branched into various regions of entertainment and business of the last two decades. They still took the time out to perform in celebration of their debut album being released 25 years ago.

In honor of the album the group performed every song, with RZA introducing group members as their verses came to the stage. The introductions kept the audience guessing, and speculating, as to which members were performing. With a group this large the main concern would be if everybody would be in attendance and The Wu came to Smart Financial with only one member missing.

“My brother Method Man wanted to be here but he’s filming for new movie,” exclaimed RZA to an audience eagerly awaiting the introduction of his song. “We’re sorry he couldn’t be here…but all the smokers out there gonna show love right?”

The video for Method Man played on the screen as clouds of smoke drifted through the air.
click to enlarge GZA and Raekwon trade bars Sunday night - PHOTO BY JACK GORMAN
GZA and Raekwon trade bars Sunday night
Photo by Jack Gorman
After performing their complete debut, the group kept going, dropping verses from other group as well as solo projects. A quick flip of Rick James’ "Mary Jane" into "Ice Cream" got the crowd to their feet as Raekwon and Ghostface traded bars in front of the packed house.
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Houston Press contributor DeVaughn Douglas is a freelance writer, blogger, and podcaster. He is 1/2 of the In My Humble Opinion Podcast and 1/1 of the Sleep and Procrastination Society. (That last one isn't a podcast; he just procrastinates and sleeps a lot.)