The Wu-Tang Clan began a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the group’s debut album last year, and they continued with a double barrel blast of shows at Franklin Music Hall in Philadelphia on Jan. 24 and 25. I was there for the second night to capture a lot of images of the legendary rappers as they continued their salute to Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, and Cappadonna thrilled full houses each night with selections from their first record. The group opened with “Bring da Ruckus,” which was one of the highlights of the night. Wu-Tang Clan members staggered their entrances onto the stage to perform their parts following “Bring da Ruckus.” At one point during their entrances, RZA sprayed the front rows of the crowd with a bottle of champagne.
During the second song, “Shame on a Nigga,” the vocals became louder and grew increasingly intense as more Wu-Tang Clan members entered the stage. RZA was drinking a bottle of Grey Goose vodka on the stage during “Shame on a Nigga.” Wu-Tang were in full-force by the welcome fifth song “Wu Tang: 7th Chamber.”
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The vibe and energy of the crowd was intense, and it seemed to elevate the Wu-Tang Clan and their performance. Method Man and Raekwon particularly made an extremely loud and abrupt entrance at the beginning of the show, and Method Man commented in between songs, “Yo, this crowd is way crazier than the crowd last night!”
Method Man also commented, “Y’all gettin’ lifted, Philly!” in reference to the thick clouds of marijuana smoke throughout the venue, and he urged the crowd to “start a mosh pit for this one.” But he cautioned, “Start a mosh pit, but black people stand back ’cause white people are fuckin’ crazy!” Method Man and Raekwon were most vocal and both dominated the mic throughout most the show.
Other highlights, no pun intended, were “Clan in da Front,” “Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nuthing ta Fuck Wit,” “Method Man,” “Protect Ya Neck,” and “Severe Punishment.” Next to “Bring da Ruckus,” the best song of the night was undoubtedly “Da Mystery of Chessboxin’,” however.
The Wu-Tang Clan also performed short cover versions of Rick James’ “Mary Jane” (obviously appropriate) and Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Got Your Money.”
The Wu-Tang Clan have wrapped their current US tour but appear next at III Points Festival in Miami. If you missed them (including their stop at The Anthem in November), these pictures of the Wu-Tang Clan performing at Franklin Music Hall in Philadelphia on Jan. 25, 2019, may give you a taste of their energy. All photos copyright and courtesy of Andy Jillson.