A weed cloud dense enough to snuff out every mosquito in the Boondall Wetlands and the plethora of ’19 Crimes’ adverts behind the bars are sure indicators of things to come: tonight’s gig is going to get loose.
Here for his rescheduled ‘I Wanna Thank Me’ tour and performing in Australia for the first time since 2014, the rap legend promised a show that will be “all about the music”. So how did Snoop Dogg’s triumphant return go down?
First up were multiple support acts, beginning with DJ Malo, who, despite the early start, plays to an already half-full arena and does so with style.
Next were Irish rappers Versatile, who have “come all the way from Dublin, Ireland to buzz in Australia tonight” on their first visit here. Settling into the local ‘culture’, Casper and Eskimo Supreme volunteer to do shoeys upon footwear being hurled to the stage (you didn’t have to do it, lads). That aside, the group get a big response from a pumped audience and will most likely be back under their own steam soon.
DJ Invisible is next and, having been a master of his craft for decades, sets about upping the class and style of the evening’s proceedings with a masterclass in turntabling. Ripping off his shirt to reveal a t-shirt adorning the Aboriginal flag and receiving a huge cheer as a result was a nice moment.
A short time later the veteran DJ was joined by D12’s Kuniva and Swifty McVeigh. Despite the ability to get an entire arena of people to raise their pistol fingers to the air, their set is ultimately one of good vibes and a whole lotta love; especially for ex-bandmate Proof. ‘Nasty Mind’ goes over particularly well, as does a brief appearance onstage by Quaden Bayles.
When it comes time for the man himself, the audience is just about ready to unleash an unstoppable tidal wave of adulation and joy. Snoop strolls onto the stage, surrounded by dancing girls, gesticulating dancers in monkey suits, and perhaps the loudest and most enthusiastic audience the Entertainment Centre has hosted for some time. ‘The Next Episode’, ‘Boyz-n-the-Hood’, and ‘Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang’ are a dynamite start, and the reverberations of love and joy between rapper and audience only increase in intensity when he asks/demands, “So, y’all wanna get fucked up with the Dogg tonight?” to rapturous response, before ‘Gin and Juice’ cranks the dial even higher. Kudos to the security staff at this point for doing a stellar and almost impossible job of policing the smoking laws inside the arena. ‘Beautiful’ follows shortly, which is dedicated to “all the beautiful women Down Under”, while ‘(Smile) Living My Best Life’ and ‘Snoop’s Upside Ya Head’ keep the flow going, and ‘Drop It Like It’s Hot’ features late on as expected.
Covers feature throughout, including Katy Perry’s ‘California Gurls’ (complete with an excerpt of the Beach Boys’ similarly named banger), and tracks from House of Pain and DJ Khaled. But it’s the eclectic mix of Snoop Dogg’s own tracks and the fact he doesn’t actually need pole-dancers and bouncing monkeys to put on a rap show of the highest level in 2023 that are testament to the longevity, diversity, and quality of the 51-year-old Californian’s career and certified place among rap royalty.