"Don't get tired, nigga," Ghostface Killah warned one of his back-up MCs during Saturday's concert at the Showbox at the Market. I felt sorry for the dude, not so much because his boss was publicly admonishing him, but because Ghost has all the energy of a mighty wind.
Ghostface Killah performed on Saturday, October 24 at Showbox at the Market
Garbed in an arterial red hoodie and an NY Yankees cap twisted to the back, the Wu-Tang Clan's He-Man hustler of cocaine anthems, soul-power ballads, and emo confessions brought with him a feral compulsion to move and rap and move and rap and move and rap with little to no breathers, leaving his two gray-sweatshirt-wearing charges (the show's visuals were limited to Ghost's metaphors) a little gassed.When Ghost did finally stop his turbo-charged motoring through songs, it was not only to towel off and rest, but also to encourage us to remain more or less where we stood ("Live in Seattle, nigga!"), or to let us in on little secrets ("I got powers!"), or to explain that he quit smoking weed because it was taking him too long to write an album--a fact that confirmed his rightful place as the Wu's preeminent man of letters. (He takes his words just as seriously as GZA.) Yeah, like most famous writers Ghost is strange, but he's in shape and his live delivery on point.
Ghost sprinted through his cuts as if he were trying to escape a burning house. From Supreme Clientele's "Mighty Healthy," wherein he speaks for all rock stars by acknowledging "You goddamn right I fuck fans", to Fishscale's "Be Easy," Ghost's performance confirmed that it's almost always better to catch a live act who's produced multiple records than one who's just getting started. Newbies' sets are predictable, but a bona fide vet like Ghost can shock like a slasher film with his selections. Or at least make you feel older than you are by dropping something you haven't heard since puberty.
Of course, it also helps that Ghost can swipe songs for his live sets from the million man marchers of the Wu. Indeed, the night's highlight came when he yawped, with considerable help from the crowd, the late Ol' Dirty Bastard's "Shimmy Shimmy Ya," which contains one of the best choruses in all of hip-hop. When Ghost cried, "Ooo, baby, I like it raw," everybody went all Fruity Loops, and, just for a minute, you would've been forgiven for thinking that there was a more sizable showing for the Wu's don of delirious delivery. Not that it mattered: Ghost's "got powers," after all.