Fifteen cop cars are parked outside of the Primm casino, including a couple undercovers. Five white busses wait off the side, ready to haul any miscreants away to some unfriendly detention center for a not-so-good night’s sleep. Inside, men in snug tan uniforms have black gun belts circling their sturdy hips, and some wear the words “Gang Unit” imprinted in black across their chests.
Snoop Dogg is also in the building—he has been relegated to the Primm Garden Valley Arena, 45 minutes outside of Las Vegas, likely in part because rap and hip-hop concerts are known to get feisty.
Tonight, however, the only altercation I witness is a fight between a couple white preppy kids, too drunk to walk, and the cops.
The Blazed and Confused tour, featuring Mickey Avalon, Stephen Marley, Slightly Stoopid and Snoop Dogg, kicked off Friday night in Primm and will continue through multiple states through the end of August.
Avalon opened the night with his standard repertoire of “So Rich, So Pretty,” “Mr. Right,” and the catchy “Jane Fonda.” Skinny as ever, his two bootylicious backup dancers more than made up for him in jiggle.
Heroin chic Avalon was followed by Stephen Marley, his opposite, all jolly and coffee-colored, like a dreadlocked Santa Claus. Bob’s son was flanked by two female backup singers and an edibly cute little boy, who twirled the Jamaican flag around his head with spirited energy through Marley’s hour-long set. Everyone swayed and sang along with big smiles, especially when Marley sang “Three Little Birds.” Women even danced while they waited in line for the bathroom, the feel-good melodies filtering through the wall.
Slightly Stoopid, the beachy, Sublime-esque sextet from Southern California who got their start with some help from Sublime’s lead singer, took the stage with props: two huge skulls emblazoned with marijuana plants on their foreheads. The images were fitting for the band, who told the Weekly they’ll tell their kids to be smart about smoking weed in an interview earlier this week.
When Snoop Dogg bounded onstage, however, the energy exploded. Hit after well-loved hit fueled the crowd as Snoop worked through a set that included “Drop it like it’s Hot,” “Gin and Juice,” “Nothin’ But a G-thing,” “I Wanna Love You,’ “Ain’t No Fun (If the Homies Can’t Have None)”, “Fuck the Police,” “Who am I (What’s my Name)?” and “Sensual Seduction.” For visual stimuli, he provided a stripper pole complete with writhing, voluptuous women.
“Wherever you smokin’ the herb in this big ass theater, we respect that,” Snoop boomed.
“Have you ever been to jail before?” the former Crip inquired, and an alarming number of “hell yeahs” and raised hands answered him. Suddenly the Gang Unit seemed very well placed.
“Yell it with me, ‘I wanna get fucked up!” Snoop continued, and the crowd obliged as one of Snoop’s cohorts sprayed them with a bottle of alcohol.
“Blame in on the juice, got you feeling loose … blame it on the al-al-al-al-al-co-hol” Snoop sang, quoting Jamie Foxx’s “Blame It,” before launching into “Sippin’ on gin and juice, laid back…”
Tall, lanky and equipped with powerful vocals and slick dance moves, Snoop sported a sports jersey and a do-rag, and was backed by a full band on the Primm stage. Behind him hung a huge “Tales of the Crip” poster.
For “Fuck the Police” he told the crowd to raise their middle fingers and during other songs commanded, “Put your motherfucking hands in the air!” He gave a shout out to 2Pac: “We love you, we miss you, rest in peace.”
When he asked, “Does anyone smoke weed?” two grandmas behind me squealed in the affirmative.
The 37-year-old father still overflows with street cred and star power. Even a substantial drive from the Strip, the arena looked packed to capacity, and the Dogg’s songs, which I hear almost every day on the radio, are still as fun and fresh as ever.
After the marathon concert – which lasted from 6-11 p.m. – finally ended, thousands flooded the parking lot and headed south through the muted desert down the long stretch of 1-15 back into the city, minus the dozen or so unfortunates who had landed themselves on the white bus. They can blame it on the alcohol or Snoop and his 420 friendly tour mates. I don’t think they’d mind.