A girl in an expensive dress pukes into a translucent bag, heckled by hundreds of onlookers with nothing else to do. Slowly the bag fills, and the girl gains the ability to stand upright. She hugs the first handsome male first aid worker and they become fast friends, exchanging jokes and hugs throughout the night. I was able to pay attention to the evolution of this love story because absolutely nothing was happening for the majority of Snoop Dogg's show. Also, a beautiful girl puking is not an inexpressive way of describing the night itself.
Snoop arrived at 10:30, an hour and 15 minutes after he was supposed to play. His two woefully inappropriate openers, TOA, a DJ who played drums over beats would have been a perfectly appropriate opener for DJ Shadow, but alienated an audience looking for west coast hip-hop. Second to the stage, Ko Kapches sort of sounded like Nickelback was kicking raps. There was some debate as to what his name was. Several people nicknamed him "get the hell off the stage." Both played live music over pre-recorded beats and with Ko it was evident when he wasn't playing along as my guitarist friend pointed out, his fingers were playing different chords. There were several loud audience eruptions for Snoop during his set.
The lights went up. No longer am I at a concert but in a hockey rink with the lights on. Snoop has to becoming soon... right?
Then there was an hour and a half wait, as gin and juice drunk turned to hungover. I tried paying attention to the crowd, discussing the joints they had smuggled in, the fact that many had work in the morning. In a seizure of glittering sequin dresses, teen girls in Pimp Tight T-shirts, young lanky men in attention deficit disorder-inspired hoodies, I waited and I waited and I waited for Snoop.
Every few moments someone would shout for Snoop and a few fools would follow. Finally voices worn out from screaming for him to get to the stage, Snoop emerged with a diamond-encrusted microphone and the swagger his fans know and love. He moves like a rhythmic spider on stage, his limbs so laid back he almost glides across the stage. For the first half hour, that beautiful amnesia where the wait is erased by the show, had me cheering and screaming for Snoop, lost in childhood nostalgia.
Stormclouds of pot smoke built above our heads. Empty hands were raised to mimic the liquor people consumed outside the seating area. When he asked the crowd what his name was, I was in heaven.
However, underneath the euphoria I noticed a couple of things. His heavy reliance on call and response verged on the ridiculous. We raised our cellphones, our middle fingers, the peace sign twice: once as a tu for Tupac, once as a sign of how many joints we smoke in the morning, until the slogans began to repeat and I got sick of waving my arms and decided there are only so many times an emcee can say, "When I say hell and yall say,“yeah" that I will actually say "yeah." Between every song was a crowd response, whether it was lighters raised for Tupac, or hands and voices raised for West Side and East.
His goodbye, where he got the audience to sing "nah nah nah, hey, hey, Snoop Dogg" passed the show over to the audience for about three minutes. Obviously the crowd was involved but it seemed we were doing the heavy lifting for the performance. He played no new songs off his recently released album Ego Trippin, played a cover of House of Pain "Jump," all in the course of an hour-long show where Snoop was rapping for maybe half of it.
For me this show lacked a sensual seduction, but certainly had a princess puking for a paramedic.