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Sunday, Jun 17, 2018
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Snoop Dogg Concert

By 9:30 p.m. last night, a crowd of 10,000 was cold, tired and desperately wanted their Snoop Dogg. Now. They were packed into the makeshift concert venue next to Channelside Drive that's normally a parking lot. Clutches of ladies in whisp-thin cocktail dresses huddled under propane heating poles against the 50 degree wind. In a large tent pavilion, other ladies hired as exotic dancers swung around poles (brass) on elevated platforms as tourist awkwardly took cell phone video.
As 9:30 p.m. passed, a forgettable opening act came and went. Then a "video DJ" from Las Vegas, "Ronnie G," took the stage and absolutely whipped the crowd into a frenzy with wildly eclectic music and video clips projected on a gigantic Jumbotron. Picture him mixing video and audio tracks from: * Ozzy Osbourne "Crazy Train" with the composer John Williams' theme from "Raiders of the Lost Ark." * Fergie's "My Humps" with AC/DC's "She Shook Me All Night Long." * "The Jeffersons" theme of "Movin' On Up," with Gun's & Roses "Sweet Child O' Mine" with video from Saturday Night Fever, Napoleon Dynamite, 300 ("This is Sparta!!"), Batman and 100 other clips and tracks in dynamic sequence. When Ronnie G started throwing DVDs to the crowd, the masses pretty thoroughly climaxed. He gave the crowd his all, and badly blew out his knee jumping from the stage after the show. Later, he sat in his trailer backstage, rubbing his twisted leg and taking congratulations from a line of new admirers.
Still, everyone wanted Snoop. Word was, one of rap music's greatest legends sat relaxing his trailer, immune to concert staff trying to start his show. Meanwhile in the crowd, guys took endless cell phone photos and ambitious women pleaded with security staff for access backstage (successfully, I might add). Without Snoop, Sarah Morrow from Sioux City, Iowa, ached with shivering anticipation, leaning on the aluminum rail that separated crowd from stage. "I want to hear his old school stuff," she pleaded. Crystal Carlisle from Florida did pushups on the rail to keep warm - wildly entertaining guys nearby. Security guards at the stage edge tried telling the front-row crowd "No Cameras. No Photos." This worked as well as telling the ocean to quit making the beach so wet. Then from what sounded like 1,001 speakers, blared the classic symphonic anthem "O Fortuna," known as a near-universal theme for Big, Nasty, Glorious, Battles. Snoop appeared like an appellation through the stage smoke with his entourage, his hoodie and his personal, iconic microphone - a majestic contraption with a sword-like shield around the shaft, encrusted with silver and diamonds that spell out "SNOOP." "Bow, wow, wow. Yippie yo. Yippie yeah," Snoop almost cooed to an ecstatic, bouncing crowd. Now, remember this. Don't go to a Snoop Dogg concert if you have delicate ears or delicate sensibilities. He curses with frequency and poise. I won't quote. But Snoop gave up tracks from his most modern CDs, plus the old-school rhymes that first made him famous and broke the door of MTV down for the dawning of modern rap: "1, 2, 3, and to the 4. Snoop Dog and Dr. Dre are at the door." Other rappers may scream, or mumble. Not Snoop. He calmly rolls out casually rhymes like he's lounging on a couch, talking into a phone, or soothing a youngster that everything's going to be OK. The crowd went nuts. Even the exotic dancers 100 yards away switched their routines to match Snoop's rhymes and beats. Snoop took the crowd through is 15+ years of music. "Can I get a bounce, bounce?" Snoop asked. Yes, yes, he could. That's what people come to hear Snoop say. As an epilogue: Just an hour later, it was over. And 10,000 people flooded into one of two places: 1) The Channelside parking garage and its new, jabberwocky payment system that requires a complex combination of yellow "payment chips," maddening credit card kiosks and paper receipts. It didn't go well. 2) Any of a dozen private and semi-private parties in the district. The new AJA ultralounge, the "Girls Gone Wild" party in the renovated movie theater complex and one event plainly named "The Party" in the upper floors of the Towers at Channelside. Each had its own set of velvet ropes, gigantic security guards and model hosts checking their clipboards for names of VIPs. Never, I think, has Channnelside seen so many people.

Tribune reporter Richard Mullins can be reached at (813) 259-7919.

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