RZA is putting together a number of shows to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
Wu-Tang Clan‘s de facto leader is hosting three nights at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City on November 7, 8 and 9, which will see the group’s debut album reimagined as a “live orchestra experience.”
“With the group’s classic 1993 debut, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), RZA established their widely imitated core sound, consisting of stark, booming beats and chilling samples (heavily drawing from vintage soul records as well as kung fu movies), setting the backdrop for the crew’s gritty, violent narratives,” a press release reads.
RZA posted a flyer for the concerts on Instagram with the caption: “Come enter the 36 Chambers through a live orchestra experience @gramercytheatre this November 7th, 8th, & 9th. Tickets on sale September 8th.”
Earlier this year, RZA premiered a similar concept, 36 Chambers of Shaolin and a Ballet Through Mud, at the Boettcher Concert Hall in Denver alongside the Colorado Symphony Orchestra.
The Abbot narrated and live-scored a condensed version of the 1978 kung fu film The 36th Chamber of Shaolin that inspired the name of Wu-Tang Clan’s first album, before premiering A Ballet Through Mud that combined spoken word, ballet and live orchestration.
During an interview with the Library of Congress in 2022, RZA spoke about his reaction to the commercial and critical success of 36 Chambers.
“I won’t say I was surprised, I was thankful,” he said. “Look—this part will sound egocentric—but during the creation, I knew we were making something special. And that there would be an audience for it.
“For me, it [the album] didn’t exist and it needed to exist. It felt like we were capturing New York life and youth in a way that had never been exposed before, not the way that 36 Chambers and Wu were doing it.
“Ol’ Dirty Bastard and I were always like, ‘They are going to LOVE it!’ They had never had it before, it was like the first time a kid gets candy.”
Speaking on the album being made quickly without much of a budget, RZA said: “I think it made it greater. The life with pressure and deadlines [it makes you] have to commit. It makes everything you do be out of necessity.
“Even today, when I’m under pressure, I think it’s when I function at my highest level of output. Also, let me add this, although there was a tight timeline, this was also about a culmination and a revelation of our ideas and of our art and of the creative process—our experience.”
In addition to the upcoming shows, Wu-Tang Clan released a 300-page book titled Legacy earlier this year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).
It honors “not only the remarkable roster, but the executives, the affiliates, family and pivotable personnel that helped make the Wu-Tang Clan and the Legacy book come to life, unpacking their rich and raw history.”