More FPSF 2012 Coverage: • Summer Fest line-up reviews on the Rocks Off blog.
• Free Press Summer Fest 2012: The Sexy, Sweaty Crowds
• Popsicles and Pizza: The Food of Summer Fest
• FPSF: The Bands from Saturday
• FPSF: The Bands from Sunday
Snoop Dogg Free Press Summer Fest, Eleanor Tinsley Park June 2, 2012
Among Snoop Dogg's many gifts, even more than his boundless appetite for the sweet leaf, healthy appreciation of the female form and melodious lilt he gives the word "motherfucker," the greatest of all has to be his abnormally limber tongue. Some might say supernaturally.
His tongue is a scalpel when he dissects a verse, and a launching pad when he's shouting out one of his many catchphrases. (It's a wonder it hasn't turned black, too.) If Snoop's microphone is gold, like it was Saturday evening at Free Press Summer Fest, his tongue is platinum.
Snoop going to the grocery store for a gallon of milk is an event, so picture him onstage in front of -- good God -- close to 40,000 people (just a guess, but I'm trying to lowball), all of them hanging on his every word. Many were also singing the ones they knew, which was a lot. The scene made his intro music, Carl Orff's symphony-on-steroids cantata Carmina Burana, make total sense.
The Boss Dogg, meanwhile, had nothing but love for the crowd. "Houston, Texas, make some motherfuckin' noise," he greeted the crowd. "Gimme some motherfuckin' pimp music," he said a little later.
Clad in a rasta cap and casual wear, Snoop was encircled by an entourage of four rappers, three dancers, two DJs, a drummer and keyboardist, and a grown man in a dog costume ("Nasty Dogg") dressed as the figure on the cover of Snoop's 1993 debut album Doggystyle. He may have had a weed carrier in there somewhere, because he sparked up a blunt during the massive singalong during his closing number, his candy-sweet recent hit featuring Bruno Mars and Wiz Khalifa, "Young, Wild & Free."
"Shout out to all the weed smokers in the house," he said at one point. "Damn, I need to smoke some motherfuckin' weed," he said at another. He gave a hilarious speech about always seeming to get arrested every time he's in Texas (the cops always want his autograph), and a warning that any officer wanting to arrest him might have to go through the crowd first. The crowd thought that sounded like a fine idea indeed.
Rolling along on a sound system engineered for maximum bass, the music varied from the steel drums of "P.I.M.P." to the bizarre robo-pop of "Boom" (which samples Yaz's '80s synth standard "Situation") to the skyscraping hooks of filthy Akon duet "I Wanna Love You." He didn't sing "love," perhaps because he was getting a lap dance by his three dancers at the time. Something tells me Snoop Dogg loves his job a whole lot.
His cover of Doug E. Fresh's "Lodi Dodi" was almost subdued, powered by a mysterious bass line from the keyboardist. That made it the complete opposite of his other cover, House of Pain's "Jump Around," which hit the crowd like a lightning bolt and brought about an instantaneous sea of hands. Snoop nailed every last word until he switched over to "Drop It Like It's Hot." Quite smoothly, I thought.
The set's center of gravity, though, was very much the classic G-Funk of Doggystyle. Yes, we got "Gin & Juice" and "Who Am I (What's My Name)," but also deep (DEEP) cuts like "Tha Shiznit" and "Ain't No Fun (If the Homies Can't Have None)." He let Kurupt have a good-sized featured spot on that last one, and brought out another Doggystyle guest, the Lady of Rage, to help him with "G-Funk Intro" and went on to let her take over with her first single, "Afro Puffs."
It's not terribly surprising that Snoop Dogg has turned out to be so loyal. But with all the weed he must have smoked in the almost 20 years since Doggystyle came out, it's absolutely amazing that he remembers every last word.
Personal Bias: Snoop-a-Loop!
The Crowd: Just right around me, I saw some ripped shirtless bros, an honest-to-god Rastafarian, a guy in spangly gold booty shorts walking with a cane, and one dude in colored contact lenses who creeped me the fuck out. And oh, the ladies...
Overheard in the Crowd: "All these people have germs. They're disgusting."
Random Notebook Dump: "Hell yeah, fuck yeah" was a popular chant during the set.
How Hot Was It?: Hot, but not catastrophically so. abc13.com reported that about ten people were taken to a hospital with heat-related problems, mostly exhaustion and "minor to moderate dehydration." Drink water.
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