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Dubai: It’s not often that one artist can unite music lovers old and young, and from every nation, but on Friday night in Abu Dhabi, Snoop Dogg held the city in the palm of his hand.
The US rapper’s fans packed the Yas Arena, and it was clear from even before his stage entrance that his sheer presence in the UAE had won the crowd over, as they started good-naturedly chanting his name from 8.30pm until he eventually arrived just after 9pm.
Nonetheless, he made sure no-one could say Snoop was not a showman by hitting the stage in local dress, complete with headdress, to the thundering sounds of Carmina Burana, then going into his opening track, the Grammy-nominated collaboration, The Next Episode, a track from Dr Dre’s 2001 album and one of Snoop’s biggest hits.
After another trio of songs, he headed backstage for “a chronic break” and then reappeared wearing a UAE football jersey, while his final costume change – during which time his female dancers lip synched to his collaboration with Katy Perry, California Gurls – saw him reappear in classic style, wearing much the same thing as many of those in the audience: a track suit and do-rag.
Although he’d promised tabloid! in an interview last week that he’d be playing lots from his latest album, Doggumentary, it was his old-skool fans in the audience who were most gratified.
Snoop, constantly inviting audience participation, asked who had been fans for five, ten, 15 years, and there were evidently plenty in the 15-year category.
Seeing this, he told them, “I’m gonna take you right back and do some old school,” as he played a substantial portion of his back catalogue, with one fan citing his inclusion of 187 (Deep Cover), Snoop’s first recorded appearance, on a Dre track from 1992, as a major highlight.
But it wasn’t just for the older fans. The rapper also dedicated plenty of songs to the “beautiful ladies” in the crowd, particularly Sensual Seduction, while hits Gin’n’Juice and Drop It Like It’s Hot were also massive crowd pleasers.
Before he left the stage, he did a medley of his newer tracks, and told the overjoyed audience, “this isn’t going to be my last time in Abu Dhabi – say you want me back and I’ll be back”.
As the euphoric fans left the venue, most of them blasting Snoop from their cars, it was obvious that that’s a promise he’ll have to fulfill.