Method Man & Redman With Ghostface Killah
House of Blues
Saturday, August 8, 2009
Better than: Watching How High sober.
From Ghostface's rant about how "the rap game in New York is fucked up" and how nothing on the radio these days inspires him to the cheers that greeted Method and Red every time one of them said something like "We're getting back to the '90s," this was an unabashed nostalgia fest for the marquee names.
Judging by the Wu hand-signs in the air and screams that greeted classic Wu-Tang Clan tracks like "C.R.E.A.M." and "Method Man," the crowd was happy to go along for the ride.
"Y'all are my battery," Ghostface told the crowd a few minutes into the set, explaining that he'd feed off the energy and give it back. But he apparently didn't trust us to hold a charge, as he kept signaling his DJ to cut songs off after the first chorus, seemingly unimpressed with the crowd response. His set climaxed when he segued from "C.R.E.A.M." into "Run," but did just a single verse and chorus of each. And strangely, Method Man didn't join him for the former. Rather than go with a few choice cuts, most of his set was like a career-spanning greatest-hits medley until a Michael Jackson tribute at the end, letting the crowd sing along with "Don't Stop Till You Get Enough," "A.B.C." and "Never Can Say Goodbye." A couple songs later, he pulled a very un-Michael move and brought about a dozen females onstage for "Ghostface" from The Pretty Toney Album, adding a chorus of "Shake that ass, girl, get that pussy wet."
"You must have learned that from TV," he said to one particularly enthusiastic freak-dancing brunette, before closing the set with "Back Like That." And what do you know? He did the whole song.
Redman and Method Man opened with "Da Rockwilder" from 1999's Blackout!, an early indication this would be a backwards-looking set. But "A-Yo" and "Errbody Scream" from Blackout! 2 got enthusiastic responses as well--especially considering the album's only been out since May. Maybe the crowd was able to shuck off the nostalgia and get into the new stuff because it's a surprisingly strong follow-up, especially considering that it comes a decade after the original. Of course, it helped that Red and Meth ran and bounced around the stage with an energy that made Ghostface look like an old man. For a couple of all-day weed smokers, they had an amazing amount of energy. They refrained from smoking onstage, though; maybe they were catching a contact from the thick haze of smoke hovering above the crowd.
A tribute to Ol' Dirty Bastard near the end of the set had the whole crowd singing along with "Shimmy Shimmy Ya." A couple more hits and the night was over before midnight--but not without another tribute to Michael as "Thriller" boomed over the P.A.
Personal bias: On record, Ghostface is my favorite surviving Wu-Tang rapper (RIP ODB), but Method Man runs circles around him live.
Random note: The stage was so dark during Ghost's performance that he was hardly visible. What, were they trying to save power?
By the way: Method Man giddily announced mid-set, "Joe Budden got his ass kicked tonight. No, I'm serious. Look it up on the Internet." The Internet confirms it: last night, someone in Raekwon's entourage swung on Budden after he and Raekwon got into an argument, which stemmed from a dispute between Meth and Budden over ... eh, who cares? Most of these rap beefs are straight outta junior high. Dudes pushing 40 oughtta be above that.