The signs that greeted fans attending Sunday night’s concert at PNC Music Pavilion were short and sweet: “Please, no smoking or vaping in the seating area.”
But those signs could have benefitted greatly from a punchline, and in this case an apropos punchline might have been something like, oh, say, a series of laughing-so-hard-I’m-crying emojis.
I mean, come on – this is Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa we’re talking about.
Wiz launched a line of marijuana products in Colorado, where weed is legal, on April 20 (if that date makes you chuckle, you might be a pot-head); on top of that, one of his most popular albums is titled “Rolling Papers. Snoop’s name, meanwhile, is practically synonymous with cannabis; he once famously boasted that he smokes 81 joints every day.
Plus, their collaboration is called “Merry Jane Presents The High Road Summer Tour,” for crying out loud.
So it was no surprise that, shortly before sunset on Sunday, the airspace hanging over the packed PNC lawn resembled the layer of smog hovering above Los Angeles. Or that, in the seated sections and in the pit area, plumes of smoke billowed from every corner – and from the middle, and from all the spaces in between – filling the blazing-hot, stupid-humid air with a familiar, pungent odor.
Or that when Snoop Dogg slinked onto the stage at 9:15 p.m., the West Coast rapper had what was by my best estimate his 70th joint of the day hanging out of his mouth.
Wearing corn rows, a yellow tee emblazoned with the logo of an entertainment company he owns called Boss Lady, a golf pot-leaf necklace and dark sunglasses (to hide bloodshot eyes?), Snoop started the night off old-school: First with 2000 Dr. Dre hit “The Next Episode,” second with 1992’s “Nuthin’ but a ‘G’ Thang,” a duet with Dre.
Then Snoop left to go smoke Joint No. 71, and Wiz emerged – he too taking hits off a cigarette that almost certainly wasn’t packed with tobacco – with something much more new-school: 2016 single “Bake Sale,” which was accompanied by molar-shattering bass and an animated sequence that showed marijuana buds being turned into cupcakes on an assembly line.
For the first half of the set, it was a big game of puff-puff-pass, with one coming and the other going every one or two or three songs. Snoop: “I Wanna Rock.” Wiz: “A-- Drop,” “No Sleep.” Snoop: “All I Do Is Win,” “Gin & Juice,” “Gangsta Party.” Wiz: “Mezmorized,” “Bout Me.”
Then midway through, they teamed up, duet-ing on their established studio collaborations (“That Good,” “French Inhale”); backing one another on the hits that landed them on the map (28-year-old Wiz’s “Black and Yellow,” 44-year-old Snoop’s “What’s My Name?”); and busting out a rowdy cover of House of Pain’s “Jump Around” that had Wiz whipping his long dreads back and forth like a rock god.
Last Tuesday, rappers G-Eazy and Logic “co-headlined” the same venue, but it was basically a Logic set followed by a G-Eazy set – they never appeared together on stage. This, on the other hand, is how you co-headline.
This, also, is how you coordinate a theme: With a vendor walking up and down the aisles selling necklaces with giant light-up marijuana leaves. With pre-show questions like “Which was the first state to legalize recreational weed?” and “What is the origin of 420?”
With the little things, like Wiz’s in-ear monitor, which – as you could see in tight shots on the big HD screen – was adorned with a very tiny green pot leaf. And with the big things, like the 15-foot inflatable doobie that fans in the front section took turns hitting as Snoop drawled through “Drop It Like It’s Hot” (we also saw this prop when Wiz co-headlined with Fall Out Boy here last year).
Wiz offered the show’s single “deep” moment late in the evening, when he introduced last year’s monster hit, “See You Again.” “Whether you black, white, gay, straight ... it doesn’t matter,” he said, as Snoop bobbed his head vigorously. “Tonight we all in this together, and the message is love.”
Otherwise, virtually all the banter between the two was reefer-related, up to and including a “Pledge of Allegiance to Pot” right before closing things out with “Young, Wild and Free.”
Is it wrong to celebrate a pastime that’s illegal, at least in North Carolina? Look, everybody’s got their personal opinions on this issue, and I leave that judgment to you.
The only thing I’m qualified to do is judge the show I saw on Sunday night, which was was exceedingly – one might even say highly – entertaining.
▪ Newly minted VH1 talk-show host Amber Rose, who was married to Wiz Khalifa for three years, caused a massive stir when she showed up in a VIP box in PNC Music Pavilion’s center section. Go back to the top and scroll through the photos to see a couple of her waving to the crowd.
▪ At the end of the concert, Snoop Dogg gave a shout-out to “my man Jonathan Stewart” of the defending-NFC-champion Carolina Panthers. The running back apparently watched from the wings of the stage, and afterward the rapper tweeted this photo: