I maintain an axiom, “heroes are bullshit.” The weight of heroism placed upon a human being, no matter his or her altruism, is impossible to bear without fault. Even our anti-heroes, who give us strength in demise, are the source of limitation. To me, idolatry is a person’s first step towards mediocrity. By allowing your aspirations to be lived out by a stranger, you limit your personality from surpassing the master. The older gods will put you on on how to rock this, but it is up to you to maintain 360, lord, live prosperous.
Last week the Ironman, Tony Starks, played his maiden performance in Sacramento, California. It was a night of admiration and loss. Ghostface Killah is not my hero, but his personality has seemed impervious to critique like the superhero he likens his style to. Ghost is not the Lance Armstrong of the streets, but I would sign a petition to get “the kid who obtains the most knowledge will obtain to touch top dollars” quoted in Bartlett’s. I recognize that his G is too futuristic for most mortal men. But a bill entertaining a Wu-Tang clansman should never receive an “all ages” stamp of approval.
The openers fought valiantly for approval, but the doors might as well have opened at 11pm, proceeding directly to the headliner. The Wu-faithful shouted for Ghostface during each openers set. As a curious haze caked the smoke-free hall in the idle moments before Ghostface hit the stage, doubt spread amongst the crowd as whether the god was ever appearing.
Loyally backed by Theodore Unit’s Sun God, Trife da God and Shawn Wigs, Ghost came out spitting darts loaded from a machine gun. The crew burned through verses from “Metal Lungies,” “The Champ,” and “Ice Cream” before addressing the crowd. Ghost turned the direction of the set over to the fans, claiming “We got nothing but hits. What do you want to hear?” The set traveled back to Only Built For Cuban Linx as Ghost dropped his classic “Criminology” verse, proving that his cipher revolves around sciences as he spit with perfect cadence.
“Run” off The Pretty Toney Album was the first cause for panic in the Colonial. The cinematic bass lines resonated like car alarms down the block, as ceiling chips fell into the crowd. Paranoia sent my senses into survival mode as I considered watching the set from the nearest exit.
Supreme Clientele won out, as is expected, as Ghost blessed fans with “One,” “Ghost Deini,” “We Made It” and my personal favorite “Mighty Healthy.” The contact high was intoxicating, the system knocked like police at the front door, and even though the lights flickered on occasionally, it felt as though it were dangerously approaching the perfect night, a night I would retell with the phrase “I was there when…”
It began as a harmless invitation for the ladies to join Theodore Unit on stage to create a party atmosphere for a few songs. The dancers were selected and warmed up to “Super GFK,” but the sample spoke to a perturbance in the room. There was something wrong. I am in support of the “all ages” movement, I have not forgotten the annoyance of being denied access to an incredible concert because of your birth year. But the kids should be accounted for, not invited to dance with adults under the hot red lights. The hands in the audience that were once raised high, pumping to the beat, were folded across chests and placed in pockets, providing balance to shifting postures. An awareness of morals seemed to cut the haze, as the audience judged the age of the girls and Theodore Unit grinded to “Cherchez La Ghost” oblivious to the stale mood, chanting “get that pussy wet.” It was a scenario that made you question the lyrics to “Child’s Play.” The lights began to flicker on, this time for longer intervals, which struck panic in the blunted ones. Packs of men moved towards the exits either out of weed paranoia of a cop raid, or worse off, a visit from Chris Hansen. The situation was awkward whether you tried to bear watching a live performance of potential statutory charges, or the faces of those trying to stomach an icon stuck in squalor.
The ill-fated dance lasted three songs, causing severe damage and potential permanent trauma to the luster of a legacy in the minds of Sacramento. Or maybe it is just me. The events of July 31 at the Colonial Theatre were excusably circumstantial. How often is a hip-hop show permitted the “all ages” tag? Ol’ Dirty Bastard wanted us to believe that Wu-tang was for the children. I have always laughed at the thought, but that night I left a venue with a layer of sweat not trapping in my euphoria, but instead leaving the stench of senectitude.
The disgust had less to do with Ghostface, who seemed to recognize the problem, and kept to the side of the bumpfest, but with his crew who are significantly younger than their leader but not young enough for these girls. Sun God could probably have grabbed a shake with two straws with one of the girls, but there was no excuse for Shawn Wigs awkwardly trying to scoop an illegal eagle.
It should also be mentioned that none of the girls were skilled dancers who could perform to the skill level required for an impromptu booty shake at a hip-hop show. Young and perfectly tanned, their moves might steal hearts at the skate park, but it was an embarrassment to the glory of the usual stage full of ladies at a hip-hop show.
If I were to try and find a positive twist to the experience, it would be a rejuvenated faith that I am not, and could never be a pederast. Trust that you will only see Blake Gillespie kicking the lyrics to “Wisdom Body” in the ear’s of grown women. That’s my word, god.