…GZA! We could hear RZA’s voice blasting in the distance as the host of the 36 Chambers Stage performed a verse from “4th Chamber.” GZA hit the stage hours ahead of schedule, swapping places with Childish Gambino (who really had no business sharing a stage with hard rocks like Roc Marciano and Mobb Deep). The weed smoke was heavy in the air as GZA ran through songs like “Liquid Swords” and “Shadow Boxin’” while fans chanted “WU-TANG!”
The Genius wasted no time between tracks, playing beat after beat and delivering each song with minimal talking in-between. On stage, GZA was a battle-tested veteran (he recently turned 45) who seemed weary but still focused. Like Cypress, he mixed up his tracklist with solo material and Wu classics like “Triumph.” This set was one of the most energetic moments in the crowd. Wu-Tang always brings out the die-hards.
But the energy dropped down during songs like “Crash Your Crew” and “Beneath The Surface.” It was another unpleasant reminder that GZA (like most Wu members besides Ghostface) didn’t have a deep catalog. His first album was his only certified classic.
Whenever things got dry, GZA resorted to Wu-Tang songs. Even album cuts like “Reunited” and “Older Gods” got a better reception than his later solo material (although GZA’s swords were noticeably less sharp on those Wu verses). The highlight came when GZA brought out Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s son—who’s called, yes, Young Dirty Bastard—to perform “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.” Wu-Tang is for the children, indeed.