Mission Creek Review: Ghostface Killah

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By Brett Shaw
brett-e-shaw@uiowa.edu

It has been a long while since the Wu-Tang Clan has released music; however, as audience members threw up the iconic ‘W’ and chanted along to verses, it was clear that these fans had far from forgotten about the popular 90s hip-hop group.

On Wednesday evening, Ghostface Killah, founding member of the original Wu-Tang Clan, performed classic hits to a raving crowd at the Englert as part of Mission Creek Festival.

Opening for Ghostface Killah was a group hailing from Iowa City, AWTHNTKTS, who’s 90s rap vibes and humorous personalities tore through the typical awkwardness of opening acts. Their flows captured the essence of goofy, rebellious rap but were also not afraid to “get emo for two secs.” Be sure to look out for this group at more local performances.

Ghostface then took the stage along with his crew and performed a series of beloved songs from the glory days of the Wu-Tang Clan. Without the original backing from fellow Wu-Tang members, Ghostface recruited help from some of his friends in the music industry along with a few courageous people in the audience to fill in the gaps.

The truly dedicated fans who had the verses memorized assisted by performing the missing parts on stage with an actual member of Wu-Tang. That’s literally the coolest fan experience with an artist that I can think of.

One of the performers, a young man who I saw earlier waiting first in-line before doors, absolutely crushed his verse. The other volunteer drunkenly stumbled across stage and kept trying to hug Ghostface, but his bravery was applauded.

Perhaps my favorite audience act of the evening was an elderly woman with a pink pantsuit and a cane who was invited to dance with Ghostface on stage. The crowd went absolutely crazy. She was a hit.

The concert really did form a unity between Ghostface and his fans. He addressed his incredible appreciation for their dedication to Wu-Tang’s meaningful music that still transcends the shallowness of modern pop. At the beginning of his set, he assured the audience that they were his “battery” and the energy and love that they gave to him would be turned right back out.

Ghostface held up to his word, attempting to “blow the roof” off of the Englert. The dynamic verses and lyrical intensity from Ghostface and thunderous beats from the DJ commanded the crowd to their feet, making the seats of the theater obsolete. The night of nostalgia ended poetically with an outrageous dance party on stage with Ghostface Killah.

My ears may have rung as I left show, but I was more than happy to temporarily give me hearing abilities to a former member of Wu-Tang. Should I even say former? Wu-Tang forever.

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