Wu-Tang Clan Bell Stage, Quebec City QC, July 5

Wu-Tang Clan Bell Stage, Quebec City QC, July 5
Photo: Matt Bobkin
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To describe hip-hop pioneer rap collective the Wu-Tang Clan's performance Friday night as being one of the most highly anticipated of the festival would be a serious understatement. In truth, as the group's logo flashed on screen and 40,000 fans puffed patiently in the crowd, it almost felt like the entire province was waiting with bated breath to witness the infamous rap icons.

Announcing themselves with a "Je m'apelle" in butchered French, lead provoker Method Man rushed the stage with six of the group's eight members to the opening strains of "Bring Da Ruckus." Currently on tour in support of the crew's upcoming 20th anniversary, the outfit leaned heavily on their prolific debut Enter the Wu-Tang, providing hyped-up renditions of "Shame on a Nigga" and "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'." RZA's crispy beats continued to overpower the Bell Stage's massive amplifiers as each Shaolin monk got their turn at center stage, performing their biggest hits in an extended solo montage (with the exception of Inspectah Deck, who was mysteriously absent.)

Although the crew seemed visibly frustrated by the venue's technical issues with their microphones, the rap maestros hammed it up for the ecstatic audience, with RZA spraying the dense crowd with champagne on more than one occasion. Shining the spotlight on the group's resident DJ, the hip-hop ensemble parted ways as Mathematics provided a scratch-heavy extended breakdown, going so far as to take off his shoes and mix in his socks.

After being whisked away back stage, I was only able to hear the final strains of the group's set, which included a half-hazard attempt at covering part of the Beatles "Come Together," Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Shimmy Shimmy Ya" and "Triumph." After getting their army of followers to yell peace at the stage, the crew promptly left the venue, ignoring an encore (hopefully) in favour of celebrating the Abbot's 44th birthday. But judging by the Clan's interaction as they headed backstage, it may be awhile before we hear any new material from the seminal-yet-disenfranchised group.

To see more photos from Festival d'été, click to our gallery here.