On Saturday night the largest Bestival crowd of all descended for Snoop Dogg, a man who has only recently been allowed to perform in the UK due to previous convictions – something he referred to during his set, thanking those who had continued to support him and who had written letters demanding his entry to the country. This was a rowdy crowd – not for the fainthearted – pushing, shoving and leaping on each other’s shoulders, and stretching as far as the eye could see.
Recently Snoop has transformed himself into Snoop Lion (a reggae-styled Rastafarian version) with his most recent album Reincarnated released in 2012. However, it was clear that the audience were there for the dirty-mouthed, old-school hip-hop of Snoop Dogg , and there was no escaping the lull that descended when Snoop started swaying along to his reggae tracks. At points, unfortunately, hip-hop fans even left during these lesser known songs.
One thing that was inescapable was Snoop’s constant referral to marijuana: “Put your hands in the air if anybody is smoking weed out there!?” at which the crowd roared. Yet after the sixth or seventh reference (he ended with the words “My message to y’all is – SMOKE WEED”) it became a little wearisome.
The highlights were fabulous though – hits such as Still D.R.E, Drop It Like It’s Hot, Gin and Juice and PIMP were what everyone had been waiting to hear, and they sure got it! There was even a man in a dog costume wandering across the stage hyping up the crowd, proving there was life in Snoop Dogg (not just Lion) still. The definitive best moment came when Snoop dropped the Dre cover Let’s Get High – pandemonium reigned!
Recent collaborations with Katy Perry (sung by a strange voiceover) and covers of Akon, Calvin Harris and House of Pain were fun but slightly bemusing when most of us were expecting Snoop’s original material. The energy was certainly more muted for these tracks. There was also a bevy of scantily clad lap dancers grinding around Snoop (though he hardly seemed to notice).
This was an interesting performance from a man who has been in the industry for a long time. Many loved his covers and the unexpected element; however it was not what everybody expected. Perhaps slightly confusing for those that had loved him before his “reincarnation”.
Photos: Ambra Vernuccio