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Concert Review by Nick Morgan

Carling Apollo Hammersmith, London
Friday, February 11th - by Nick Morgan

Maybe it’s something to do with the drugs. If Snoop Dogg’s on-stage consumption is anything to go by this is a man with a serious habit. And then I read later in the weekend’s press that he’s now only a two ounce a day man, having cut back from a quarter of a pound (Serge, what is the cask-strength equivalent?).

So very heavy gangsta shite (as ol’ Snoop might say) and quite possibly the cause of the fog of amnesia that leads him to endlessly ask his audience at the Apollo, “What’s my name?”, of the occasional anger and frustration he shows, “I SAID, what’s my motherfucking name?”. Not that the assembled throng seem to mind such was their hazy good humour, despite the fact that (body searches at the door notwithstanding) I was convinced that we were surrounded by more knives than you would normally find in the cutlery department at John Lewis.
So it’s Friday night, two in a row for me in Hammersmith, and the Snoopster is eventually with us having had a busy early evening with ‘live’ TV appearances for Top of the Pops (plugging his new single ‘Let’s get Blown’; “he’s a wanker” says my daughter) and the Brit Awards. He’s on stage surrounded by a fog of smoke (no surprise there then) wearing an England football shirt, which the crowd love. It’s a No 5 shirt, which might make the recently narcotically challenged Rio Ferdinand a bit upset, but hell, Snoop’s only doing his best to make everyone happy.   SNOOP DOGG
That includes his audience, his band (real musicians, real instruments, I’m astonished!), his buxomly bottomed dancers, the crowd of hangers-on in the wings (including ‘the dancing machine’, aka Snoop’s uncle, who spends most of the night at the edge of the stage leering at the girls below), record company marketing men, film studio executives, various lawyers and judges, and even the franchise holders for the ‘Snoop de Grille’, soon to be available from BBQ stores somewhere near you. In fact I observe that the artiste formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg is trying so hard to please everyone (hell, he’s even got the Bee Gees on his new album Rhythm and Gangsta) that he’s lost his place at the head of the pack. According to his PR machine he used to be “a young nigga who was on the edge”. Now he’s so far away from the edge that he’s almost mainstream. 
SNOOP DOGG   The one-time King of gangsta rap should at least be thankful that he still has his brilliant debut album, Doggystyle, to depend on. Yes I know, its crude and misogynistic sentiments are offensive to the sensibilities of liberal middle class white boys like me (and of course, our ‘bitches’). But it was a marvellously executed piece of work (no doubt largely due to the influence of the good Dr Dre), mixing musical and lyrical wit with quite astonishing verbal dexterity. I should add that it gave a serous boost to my pension fund, as the song ‘Gin and juice’ (and the accompanying video) proved a far better stimulus to the sale of Tanqueray in the USA than either earlier unlooked for musical tributes (Johnnie Johnson and Keith Richard’s ‘Tanqueray’) or the brand’s hugely expensive advertising campaign. So a big Bow Wow to that!

Snoopy Dogg

But for da Snoop the album was a peak never to be reached again. And once he exhausted this backbone of his material on Friday (interspersed with some ho’ hum makeweights and arm-waving chants) he’d also exhausted both the interest, and patience, of much of his audience. Had it not been for the appearance of the hugely popular Pharrell Williams, which reignited the enthusiasm of the audience just in time for the finale, then I think the whole evening would have faded into a barely smouldering dog-end. But with truly awful sound all night, and a stage act that was just the end of a leash away from grotesque self-parody, what could you expect? Every dog has his day, or so they say. Snoop’s, I suspect has passed, and now its time he learned some new trixx.- Nick Morgan (photos by Kate)

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