Snoop Dogg at Arizona State Fair Last Night

Snoop Dogg
Veterans Memorial Coliseum at the Arizona State Fair
Friday, October 29, 2010

Snoop Dogg gave the audience at Veterans Memorial Coliseum everything they wanted to hear (and then some) during his Arizona State Fair performance on Friday evening. Tha Doggfather busted out with all of his signature hits ("Gin and Juice," "Drop It Like Hot," "Who Am I?"), as well as such choice shizzle as Dr. Dre's "Deep Cover" (best known for Snoop's lyric "cause it's 187 on an undercover cop...") and his rendition of House of Pain's "Jump Around."

And the near-sellout throng of fans couldn't have been more stoked. Practically every seat had an ass in it, and I don't think I've ever heard a Coliseum crowd get as noisy as they did when Snoop kicked off "Gin and Juice," the most popular track off his breakthrough 1993 album Doggystyle.

"Gimmie some of our old school one time," he exclaimed right before launching into the song.

I also don't think I've ever seen an audience as diverse as the one who packed the show. Before I headed to the Arizona State Fairgrounds to witness the show, friends of mine cracked wise about how the Coliseum would be filled with gun-toting gangbangers, hoodrats, and ghetto-fab thugs.

Far from it. There was an equal mix of Anglos, African-Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and even Indo-Pakistanis in attendance at the gig, ranging in age from grade schoolers to middle aged soccer moms with their tweener broods in tow and fists pumping the air as Snoop spat out ciphers about indo. Such is the career arc of Cordozar Calvin Broadus, who's gone from being the poster child for violent gangster rap to pretty much a family-friendly hip-hop elder statesman after nearly two decades. (Hell, he even allowed an eight-year-old girl to get on stage and dance along during one song.)

While there's a tendency to diss many state fair performers as has-beens who participate in the event's mostly free concert series because their better days are in the rear view (read: Bret Michaels, The B-52s, Lynyrd Skynyrd, et al.), the low-cost nature of the show gave it a bit of a populist feel. A massive hip-hop party in which all were invited, with Snoop serving as the ring leader and master of ceremonies.

They all sung along en masse to "Who Am I?" and "I Wanna Rock." When he declared "There's one thing I want to make Phoenix, Arizona do....and that's jump around," the entire audience began to pogo in unison while he sang the House of Pain song of the same name.

Although the crowd was most certainly wild (one security guard remarked to me, "We kinda lost control of them a little while ago"), things didn't turn into a melee. And nary a gunshot was heard.

"My name is Snoop Dog and my shows are all about peace, love, and soul," he said near the end of the night.

Tru dat.

Critic's Notebook:

Personal bias: The Chronic and Doggystyle are two of the greatest hip-hop albums of all time, in my opinion.

Favorite songs of the concert: "That's That," "Jump Around," and "Sensual Seduction."

The crowd: As I mentioned above, the audience at the show was more diverse than a United Colors of Benneton ad from the '90s.

Overheard: "I haven't felt this ill in a long time!" exclaimed one white dude in designer jeans.

Random notebook dump: If you forget the words, don't worry, the chick next to you will likely be shouting them out while she's bouncing.

Fun fact: All of the Valley's hip-hop radio stations had tents set up outside the coliseum (Power 98.3, 101.5 Jamz, The Beat 92.7/101.1), with the exception of 104.7 KISS FM.

Number of times I smelled weed in the crowd: 3