NYC Hammerstein Ballroom

Freshly sprung from rehab in Los Angeles, ODB gives the best gift any fan could ask for this holiday season: a chance to see the Wu united.

Mid way through the Wu Tang concert at NYC's Hammerstein Ballroom, RZA lectures the mostly suburbanite crowd, telling them, "I don't think you all understand what's going on here tonight." The show marks not just Wu-Tang's first hometown concert in recent memory but also the first time the entire Clan has performed together in three years, and the group's esteemed Abbott wants to make sure everyone gets the point.

Wayward Ol' Dirty Bastard, staying one step ahead of the law as always, makes what was otherwise simply an extended album promotion into a moment for Wu-disciples to cherish. Freshly sprung from rehab in Los Angeles, he gives the best gift any fan could ask for this holiday season: a chance to see the Wu united.

Ripping through their collective and solo catalogues, the Wu-Tang mix in some mandatory classic joints with debut tracks from 'The W' and even get cameos from Redman ('Da Rockwilder')and Junior Reid ('One Blood'). 'Protect Ya Neck: The Jump Off' opens the show in frenetic fashion, but new cuts like 'Careful (Click, Click)', 'Hollow Bones' and 'Gravel Pit' don't impact as hard. RZA, perceptive as ever, cuts the 'The W' commercial short and launches the group into 'Wu Tang Clan Ain't Nuthin Ta F***Wit', 'Ice Cream', 'Can It All Be So Simple' and most popularly, 'Shame On A Nigga' by the prodigal Osirus.

ODB stays long enough to also do 'Shimmy , Shimmy Ya' and then disappears as quickly as he came. The late start leaves little time for individual members to showboat, or in GZA and Cappadonna's case, rhyme at all, though Ghostface does his best Otis Redding impersonation while crooning the chorus of 'Cherchez La Ghost'. More disappointingly, though, was the abrubt ending - before midnight and only about an hour after the Wu took the stage. Didn't they know that die-hard fans demand more?

Kem Poston

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