The first of two big summer shows at Eureka's Redwood Acres Fairgrounds brought the much-anticipated return of Snoop Dogg to Humboldt County. This past Wednesday (probably two Wednesdays ago by the time you read this), our North Coast hip hop devotees donned their hippest duds and headed to the Fair.
Stephen Marley shared the bill with the rap legend and he took the stage first. The seemingly good-natured reggae star pumped out jammin' riddims with a stage full of smiling musicians and even a dancing kid to boot. Humboldt rasta-bots got their jah on to his many covers of Bob songs and to some of Stephen's own; the scene was good-natured and the crowd seemed enthusiastic. The sky behind the grandstands grew gold with the setting sun and it was nice, dusty middle-of-the-racetrack turf and all.
Stephen's set ended at about 8:30 p.m. Then the wait for Snoop began. The crowd was getting big at this point and people pressed toward the stage to get their best possible view for the Dogg-father. Selecta Prime kept the tunes going for the crowd, and the MC asked many, many times if we were ready for Snoop. We were, and we remained ready for over an hour. At some point the MC announced that Snoop's bus was on the road. About 15 minutes later, the man himself made it to the stage.
The venue was nice and roomy and the stage with its canopy and lights looked amazing. Sadly, the show ultimately lacked luster when it came to the Dogg. One plus was that Snoop brought a full band with him, the Snoopadelics. The man himself, though, just seemed there to do the bare minimum. He didn't take great pains to rally the crowd. It seemed like he just ran through his set as quickly as possible. A most bogus part of the show was the bucket. Oh, that bucket. Instead of waiting for the crowd to toss their nugs, blunts and kolas on stage, Snoop preempted the crowd by passing around a bucket for people to fill with their cannabis tithe. A bit presumptuous, perhaps?
All in all, the Snoop set lasted about an hour and ten minutes. No encore, no duet with Stephen. In fact, one wonders if Snoop and Stephen interacted at all. I'd like to think they at least smoked a blunt together backstage, but really, it was like attending two disjointed concerts. So Snoop proved kind of lame -- still, the whole experience left me pumped for the second of the big summer shows set for the end of this month: Nas and Damian Marley. See you there.
-- Emily Hobelman