Ghostface Killah, Raekwon & BADBADNOTGOOD Halifax Forum Multipurpose Room, Halifax NS, October 23

Ghostface Killah, Raekwon & BADBADNOTGOOD Halifax Forum Multipurpose Room, Halifax NS, October 23
Photo: Vish Khanna
First things first: many people were pissed off because this otherwise stellar set started about an hour and half later than it was supposed to, but there were cool surprises that totally made it worth the wait.

BADBADNOTGOOD lit up the place with a dynamic performance and then, rather than striking their instruments, just moved them over to the left-hand side of the stage. This was noteworthy because of the recent announcement that they've made an album with Ghostface called Sour Soul that's out in February. It seemed clear that some kind of collaboration was forthcoming.

The night's bill featured BBNG and then separate scheduled sets from Rae and Ghost at 9 and 10 p.m., respectively. By 10, there was still no sign of Rae and the crowd was getting restless, chanting "Wu-Tang!" and screaming for the headliners. By 10:30 p.m., there were tweets from people who doubted they were even in the building and the booing had a particularly nasty edge to it.

Ten minutes later, Rae's voice came booming through the P.A. urging people to make some noise. When he strolled out onstage, few expected Ghost to be right behind him but there they were together, ready to rip as a duo. Their first song was "I Can't Go to Sleep" from The W, one of the most intense and sombre songs in the Wu-Tang catalogue, but it suited the passion of the room.

From there, the pair traded off on each other's classic material, joining up or else taking a break while the other took the lead. Seems like a good time to bring up the fact that just prior to the set, a large couch was placed on the stage. Raekwon sat on the couch quietly early on while Tony Starks spit a song, but throughout the night, Ghost actually did some verses from the couch. It was hilarious.

At some point, Wu-Tang Clan's "Protect Ya Neck" was up and things got interesting. Rae declared that someone in the crowd had to take Meth's verse and Ghost said somebody else had to fill in for Ol' Dirty. Then a dude was also summoned to cover Inspectah Deck and, before the song, Ghost warned that, while it was admirable of these guys to be ballsy enough to get up on stage, they'd better not fuck this up. And man oh man, the three of them, particularly the Dirty guy (who even went a capella for other verses when the beat cut out) destroyed it. The place went nuts and Ghost in particular looked like the happiest guy on the planet.

Then, finally, BADBADNOTGOOD were invited up onstage to play live music behind Ghost and Rae. They did not unveil any new songs, instead cycling through classics like "Mighty Healthy," "C.R.E.A.M." and "Shimmy Shimmy Ya," and they all brought the house down. The rough start to the night was ominous, but in the end, it was a magical, memorable performance from two hip-hop giants and three kids on the come-up.