Last Night: Snoop Dogg at the Galaxy Concert Theatre, Santa Ana

The Hype: Those who visit the Galaxy Theatre regularly--or at least drive by their marquee--are aware that this place rarely, if ever, hosts superstars as big as Snoop Dogg. That alone made it worth the rainy drive to Santa Ana's favorite sequestered concert venue. This  intimate, highly-anticipated show came on the heels of the Long Beach-born rapper's latest album, Malice in Wonderland, released last month (check out our review here). Most importantly, this rare show at the Galaxy promised a night of new hits, West Coast classics, clouds of chronic mist and G-Funk swagger delivered by the one and only Snoopy D-O-Double G.

Last Night: Snoop Dogg at the Galaxy Concert Theatre, Santa Ana
John Gilhooley

The Show: Armed with more two decades of undeniable hip-hop hits and a blinged-out microphone, Snoop Dogg fired off an hour-and-a-half set packed with certified gangsta party anthems. And on a night where bad weather dominated the world outside, most people didn't mind watching milky clouds drift from all a corners of the the darkness as bass line of "Tha Next Episode" inspired waves of "W's" handed up from the pit. It was nice to see, given that five minutes before, people were booing at the stage instead of cheering.
Things at the Galaxy were getting tense up until the moment Snoop showed up. An hour's worth of booze, body heat and Public Enemy blaring over the house speakers made things uneasy as fans waited not-so-patiently for the show to start. It was as if people forgot that stoner time runs at least an hour behind schedule. In Snoop's case, we were lucky it wasn't two hours.

Of course, his presence alone, following a brief hype session by his endless entourage, was enough to get the crowd back on track. And as he pummeled us with hit after hit, the night only got sweeter. Staying true to his '90s roots, crowd-pleasers like "Gin and Juice" and "Snoop Upside Ya Head" weaved their way into the set as his lackadaisical flows met with taut bass lines and G-Funk hallmarks like George Clinton-indebted meandering synthesizers and real-feel drum loops.

At several points in the show, Snoop spit some verses from hit tracks of 2006's Tha Blue Carpet Treatment (i.e."I Wanna Fuck You," and "That's That"). The entire night, he could do no wrong, even when he took a random left turn,spitting a cover version of "Jump Around" by House of Pain (an anthem for anyone who remembers the beginnings of white-boy rap). As the set wore on, security guards started combing the audience for weed-smoking perpetrators (a futile effort if you're going to be policing a Snoop Dogg show). You could tell Snoop's high was still in full effect as he ambled around stage, rarely daring to do anything that required moving more than three feet in any direction. Not that he really had to.

One of the few sentimental moments of the show came when Snoop had the crowd raise a lighter (or a cell phone) as the DJ played the chorus of "Hail Mary" by the late-great Tupac Shakur, his fallen partner in crime. Waves of lights swarmed like fire flies as the crowd shouted the chorus in reverie: Come with me, hail Mary / Nigga run quick, see / What do we have here now? / Do you wanna ride or die? / La,la,la,la,la,la,la,la.

Ending things on a slightly more narcissistic note, the last segment of his set had the crowd screaming his name as his latest jam, "I Wanna Rock," required lung power from the enitre crowd. As the beat cut in and out, the audience chanted "Snoooooop Dogg! Snoooooop Dogg! Snooooop Dogg!" underneath a chopped and screwed sample of Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock. Then, like any gangsta would, he ended things old-school with the immortal jam "Who Am I (What's My Name)," recalling his days as "Snoop Doggy Dogg". Though he's gone by many names, last night's concert reaffirmed that whatever moniker he choses, the rapper will always be at the top of hip-hop's short list of West Coast legends.

Joe Con and Etienne opened the show.

The Crowd: Local fans sporting hoodies and suspiciously fake-looking gold chains mixed in with swarms of hot female fans of all ages (definitely some cougars in the mix) as well as a random assortment of pimps (or so they looked), young kids and one guy wearing an eye patch.

Overheard: Before Snoop got ready to launch into the classic piano plunking beat on "Still D.R.E.," a lady in the back yelled "Thow us some blunts Snoop!" The guy she was with looked surprised.

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