Boo Tang! (Or, Wack Shit That Went On at the GZA Show)

Most of the time, when you want to see an artist, you buy a ticket, drink a few beers, wait for an hour or so, see a performance (sometimes mediocre, sometimes stellar). Other times, you find out that waiting for the artist to go on for four hours is way more entertaining than actually watching the artist.

This is an account of my time with one of Wu Tang Clan's founding members, the GZA, last Friday at the Detroit Bar in Costa Mesa.


  • Doors opened at 9 p.m. The GZA was supposed to go on at 11 p.m. We
    stuck around the front of the stage watching white boys deejay custy
    KDAY-back-in-the-day hits and dance to their drum machines for a while,
    but went to sit at the bar after the guy behind me announced, “The Gza's
    not even here yet!” 
  • Around midnight, a barker went onstage to announce that the GZA
    was in the building, and was set to perform at 12:30 a.m. 

  • At 12:30 a.m., someone from the GZA's entourage picked up the mic,
    introduced himself
    as ODB's brother and started rapping — to ODB songs! It may have been
    OK if he was good, but he couldn't even complete a phrase. Bewildered,
    the crowd started responding to the usual “Wu-Tang” call and response by
    booing. To every chorus. At that  point, my boyfriend turned to me and
    said, “This is an abomination!” I replied, “I disagree. Notice how no
    one is leaving? It's actually a testament to hope. ”
  • In the midst of the confusion (ODB's pseudo brother mangling the
    lyrics, other emcees losing a microphone in the crowd), the GZA began
    mumbling into the mic. He actually started at 1:10 a.m. By then
    we were so sick of waiting that we stuck around for 15 minutes and then
    left after he didn't live up to the 5-hour wait.

  • After an inaccurate scientific survey of random hip-hop fans (at
    venue and after the show), I found out that it's not uncommon for
    rappers to make audiences wait for hours at their shows. A friend told
    me that he's been to two Wu Tang Clan shows and they're notorious for
    starting an hour before the venue closed.

    This leads me to pose the question: Has anyone ever seen a good Wu Tang
    Clan show?

Overheard at the show:
“If you paid $20, and waited for five hours, you'd be booing too.
Where the fuck is GZA at?”
“Anyone who knows anything about hip-hop knows that Wu Tang sucks live.”
“Some songs are not meant to leave the studio.”
“This set makes me hate rap music.”
“If I hear any more raps about grape flavored blunt, I'm going to
“This would be laughably bad if Wu Tang
wasn't such an important band. I don't think there's any dichotomy like
that in music. Kind of like Bob Dylan.”

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