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CONCERT REVIEW: GZA @ The Troc

Photo by PETE TROSHAK

Saturday night Wu Tang Clansman GZA brought his solo 1995 masterpiece Liquid Swords to life at the Trocadero. One of the best albums produced by the Wu Tang conglomerate Liquid Swords was just rereleased in a deluxe package and is being celebrated on tour. The anxious crowd erupted into applause when the scratchy opening sample of the album dropped and GZA hit the stage. No fancy lights or video on this night, just a man and a DJ and one of the most memorable rap albums in history being re-created. The re-creation was incomplete however, as the original album was full of guest stars with performances that would be impossible to duplicate. GZA and his cohort wisely chose instead to concentrate on reproducing the many highlights of the seminal album and combining them with a selection of hits both solo- and Wu-flavored into a tight 80 minute set.  GZA took up position on the lip of the stage and performed with the urgency of a man whose cab was waiting outside with the meter running. His delivery flowed like the river Nile, spitting line after line of his fiery and complex rhymes.  His aggressive performance helped the already hot crowd reach a higher plane of frenzy, with most of them singing along and chanting “Wu Tang” throughout the set. The crowd reached its zenith in the middle of the Liquid Swords segment of the show, when GZA unsheathed the album’s gleaming centerpiece: “4th Chamber / Shadowboxin’.” Soon after he ventured deep into the crowd to sing and connect with the audience and followed that up by returning to the stage for a freestyle rap bio of lost Wu member Ol’ Dirty bastard, and a performance of ODB’s shining moment, “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.” Soon after, GZA finished off the crowd with the Wu anthem “Triumph.”  With the sweaty crowd begging for one more, GZA complied with a few verses of “Wu Tang Clan Ain’t Nothing to Fuck With” and then climbed off the stage and into the front row, dispensing hugs and high fives. – BY PETE TROSHAK

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