reviewed by Arthur Sapounas
On the eve of the highly anticipated 1st ever GZA show in Vancouver, there wasn’t any way to rain on the parade. The rain had subsided and the grimy weather created the perfect mood for his “Liquid Swords” tour. Until, of course, we waited in the wrongly labeled guest list line for over 30 minutes to get into the sold out show.
Alcohol fueled the mood from then on, and double fisting was required due to the ridiculous bar lineups. The only complaint I have was for the venue and the disorganization that had GZA go on really late with no opener. We were by the bar doing shots when the DJ cut the music and threw on the opening skit to “Liquid Swords,” signifying that it was on! He played every song from the classic album, but front to back. It was reminiscent of the older era of hip hop; no openers and a grimy sweaty venue, an MC and a mic.
Once the beat for “4th Chamber” began, the crowd went nuts. GZA’s level of energy was quite high throughout the whole Liquid Swords set and the crowd responded likewise. Notable standout tracks were “Liquid Swords”, “Cold World” and “Duel of the Iron Mic.” It was a very smart move on his behalf to have a tour for an album that was 14 years old, now, with albums like Nas’ “Hip Hop is Dead” proving that they just don’t make it like they used to.
The New York MC continued with solid energy throughout the performance of the album and jumped into material from “Legend of the Liquid Swords,” playing “Stay in Line”, “Animal Planet” and “Knock Knock” which while played well, the crowd just wasn’t as into. “Triumph” from Wu-Tang Forever changed that, with the crowd getting back into the moment.
While I wouldn’t say the show ended poorly with the next couple of tracks, it definitely wasn’t a climatic ending. We all left satisfied and reminded of why we got into Hip Hop in the first place.
The GZA/Genius at Richards on Richards, Vancouver – August 27th, 2008