Snoop Dogg’s latest set at the Observatory in Santa Ana was scheduled for Wednesday night, but that didn’t happen. By the time the rapper finally took the stage, it was a few minutes after midnight — technically Thursday morning.
For some shows, the late start might not be a problem. Wednesday night, it certainly was.
Beginning around 10:30, at least a few dozen fans could be seen making their way out of the venue. They can’t be blamed, as doors opened at 7:00 and the seemingly endless parade of both local and Snoop-related openers frustrated much of the crowd by 11:00. After all, 10:00 is a perfectly reasonable time for a weeknight headliner to go on, and 11:00 would’ve been acceptable given Snoop’s stature in SoCal hip hop history, but 12:03 was just too much for some people.
Sure, a weeknight performance by someone like Future, Travis Scott, G-Eazy, or Fetty Wap would work near a college campus, but most of the people willing to pay $40 to see the Long Beach legend on a Wednesday have to get up for work on Thursday morning.
Make no mistake, plenty of people stayed to see the D-O-Double-G perform (and they were treated to quite the party), but it seemed like it could’ve been so much more if bumped up an hour or two. Anyway, onward to the performance itself.
Following an introduction consisting of West Coast classics like “It Was a Good Day,” “California Love” and “Still D.R.E.,” Snoop strolled out to the stage to get the party started with “The Next Episode.”
From that point on, the Observatory became the Dogg’s house, as the 44-year-old performed his own hits (“Bitch Please,” “That’s That,” “Ups & Downs”) as well as some of the famous tunes he’s been featured on (Dr. Dre’s “Nuthin’ But a G Thang,” Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle,” the remix of 50 Cent’s “P.I.M.P.”) early in the set.
After testing just how hard the crowd rocked with him by performing slightly lesser known songs (comparatively speaking) like “The Shiznit” and “Pump Pump,” Snoop took a moment to practice what he preaches by lighting up a blunt. It was also around this time that Snoop’s costumed mascot, Nasty Dogg, decided to join the rapper and his hype man on stage to dance and generally add humor.
“Gin & Juice” kicked off another run of megahits, with Snoop performing his parts (and sometimes other portions) of Akon’s “I Wanna Fuck You,” Wiz Khalifa’s “You & Your Friends,” and even Katy Perry’s “California Gurls.” Really though, if you haven’t seen Snoop do karaoke to the chorus of a Katy Perry song, you’re missing out.
At that point, Snoop brought back his friends and one of the many opening groups, LBC Movement, to perform “Beach City” with him before he took a moment on his own to perform tributes to rock ‘n’ roll (Joan Jett & the Blackhearts’ “I Love Rock n Roll”), Notorious B.I.G. (“Hypnotize”), 2Pac (“Gangster Party”), and — of course — Nate Dogg’s “Ain’t No Fun (if the Homies Can’t Have None).”
Over the course of the night, Snoop played back and forth with the packed crowd, signing albums and complimenting people’s shirts between songs. To add to the spectacle, three female dancers joined him for the more “romantic” (see: sexual) tracks, and Nasty Dogg presented a roughly 4-foot fake penis in the middle of the Nate Dogg tribute.
With all of his fallen comrades appropriately respected, Snoop brought his other openers (and longtime crew) the Eastsidaz for “Lay Low” and “G’d Up” before preparing to wrap up the evening as the clock ticked closer to 1:00.
“Drop It Like It’s Hot” got one of the biggest reactions of the night (it’s easy to forget how huge that song was a decade ago), while “Who Am I (What’s My Name)?” was the final full song of the set. As a farewell, Snoop jokingly presented a “poem” he wrote (which happened to be the chorus of “Young, Wild & Free”) before telling everyone his final words would be “Smoke weed motherfucker!” and exiting the stage to Bob Marley’s “Jammin’” just a few minutes after 1:00.