At 10:45 (only a measly 10 minutes behind schedule -- Snoop's personal best) the stage's side panels shone with flecks of light that imitated fireflies, and the main screen behind the performers lit up with a urban city skyline.
"It's the one and only D-O-double G!" the speakers announced as Dre and Snoop entered on stage and the screens glimmered. The crowd roared in the affirmative after Snoop and Dre asked if they were smoking, and right after performing "Gin and Juice," a montage of black-and-whites of their late, great comrade Nate Dogg appeared on screen. The audience began to twitter -- "Are they about to resurrect the dead?" (Hold up, more on that later.)
Still, despite their peaked curiosity, the crowd seemed less compact than at West's performance last year. And when Snoop called a breathless Wiz Khalifa out to perform "Young, Wild and Free" the crowd was predominantly unwhelmed. Not that it mattered to the tour partners--their camaraderie was evident as the duo moved around on stage. Snoop's relative experience was apparent--his smooth cadence mimicked the radio cut exactly, while Wiz's inexplicably winded flow struggled to keep up. As the song came to a close, Wiz lit up a fat joint and exited to the crowd's disinterest.
After a brief pause, Dre introduced his special guest, Kendrick Lamar (who by now performed at Coachella three times). The crowd, who was expecting Eminem, began to slowly thin as Lamar and Dre jumped around on stage with enthusiasm that far exceeded an 11 p.m. set time.
Lamar finished and exited, and Snoop yelled "G-UNIT!" as 50 cent appeared from off stage, busting out from his standard white wife beater. 50, gold-toothed, snarled lines from both of his hit singles--"P.I.M.P" and "In Da Club" before following Lamar and Wiz off stage.
And here comes the gangster rap sacrilege: A white, godly light flashed and revealed Tupac in white sweatpants on stage (because that's what all the OGs in heaven wear). Confusion reigned--was it an impersonator? Who was that? Actually, it was his hologram (rumored to cost an cool 1 million), and as Snoop began spitting rhymes with 'pac, audiences were overheard saying, "What? Is that really him?" "What a joke!" and more embarrassingly, "Who is that?"
The most confusing portion of the set came immediately after, with Eminem's explosive appearance on stage (in black sweat shorts and a hoodie...guess we know where he's going). As Tupac exited, a pulsating lifeline (which was about to flatline) appeared on all three screens in a greenish tint. The crowd, sensing that they were finally going to be appeased, rushed forward for a better glimpse of Slim Shady. While accurately producing the effect the headliners were hoping for all night (screaming, pushing forward, swooning), Eminem acting as the final and most anticipated guest seemed to place Eminem's life above that of Tupac's. And if that were the case, then why drag Pac's memory into this at all, boys?
The crowd, besides themselves with all the excitement, moved into a massive blob as Eminem spit the rapid-fire lyrics to "Forget About Dre" and mock-bantered with his mentor who managed to "convince" him to stay for one more song. The crowd waned once Eminem exited, and the remainder sat through the final two songs just long enough to watch Dre and Snoop sink into the stage -- a visually uninspired closing to an equally humdrum set. Though the performers gave the audience a chance to ask for an encore, no one seemed terribly enthused by the prospect, and the lights of Coachella faded to black with a twinge of bored disharmony.
Overheard (prior to Eminem's appearance): "What is this? Dre, Snoop and a bunch of irrelevant people who would never headline Coachella?"
Bias: Been to two Snoop concerts already!
Random Notebook Drop: At "Drop it Like it's Hot", for obvious reasons.
The One and Only
Gin and Juice
Nuthin But A G Thang
its like this and like that
Aint No Fun
Jump Around (House of Pain Cover)
Drop it like its Hot
Young Wild and Free (with Wiz Khalifa)
The Recipe (Kendrick Lamar)
P.I.M.P (with 50 cent)
In Da Club (with 50 cent)
I need a doctor (with Eminem)
Forget About Dre (with Eminem)
Till I Collapse (with Eminem)