Wu-Tang Clan's essential flavor

Lupo's, January 2, 2009
By CHRIS FARAONE  |  January 12, 2009

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TOUCHDOWN! You might not get all the Wu you want, but you get what you need.

Fortune magazine once estimated that Michael Jordan has fueled our economy to the tune of $10 billion. Wu-Tang Clan are responsible for the careers of about that many MCs — half of whom rocked Lupo's Heartbreak Hotel in Providence this past Friday for the Clan's annual New England touchdown.

Following the early openers (Boston's Ricky Mortis, Rite Hook, Al-Jabra, Amadeus), Brooklyn Zoo — whose line-up consists mostly of Ol' Dirty Bastard's relatives — delivered a tough set over aural melodrama. The highlight was ODB's cousin Shorty Shitstain, whose family resemblance made this particular Wu onslaught that much Dirty-er. (He later joined the proper Clan for a tribute medley.)

A bit less polished, Raekwon's side project, Icewater, came next. For a moment, the only thing the crowd heard was six dudes simultaneously shouting, but the crew redeemed itself by dividing in half for a well-orchestrated cross-stage three-on-three showdown — imagine the "Beat It" video with dudes who actually look prone to throw down.

The best (or worst) part of every Wu party is discovering which headliners made the trip. This time we got Inspectah Deck, U-God, Masta Killa, Cappadonna, Ghostface, Raekwon, and Juelle, the Lupo's bartender who didn't think I'd really shout her out.

Although it won't go down as a legendary Wu-Tang appearance, Friday's show was a rare chance for fans to check a Ghostface-Raekwon-Cappadonna grandstand. Sighs subsided during "Ice Cream," "Run," and "Incarcerated Scarfaces," as the Clan's Wally champs nonchalantly showboated. But even with classic tracks from those in attendance, cuts like "Triumph" suffered from glaring verse omissions.

When it comes to Wu-Tang, fans can't always get what they want — which, for most of us, is every living Clan member plus Cappadonna on stage at a reasonable hour. But for the past three years now, despite tardiness and absences, we've at least gotten the essential flavor that we need.

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