NEW ORLEANS Snoop Dogg could have had his mind on any number of things Saturday evening when he took the stage at the third annual Voodoo Music Festival in New Orleans' City Park. He could have had his mind on his money, certainly. It could have been on Kate Hudson or Tool vocalist Maynard James Keenan, who were standing at the side of the stage during the show. It could have been on the row of law enforcement officials occupying the media photo pit. The one thing that Snoop's mind was definitely on, though, was the time.
Taking the stage at approximately 5:15 p.m., right around the time he was supposed to be finishing his set, Snoop wasn't about to let a 45-minute delay due to a broken turntable deny his fans for even a minute. Rather, he eased his way through popular numbers like "Murder Was the Case," "Gin and Juice" and his tweaked take on the Doug E. Fresh and MC Ricky D classic "La Di Da Di."(Click for photos from the event.)
His interaction with the crowd was second only to Missy Elliott, who had the stage before him and who, followed by security and police, not only took a detour off the stage into the ecstatic crowd, but was big on giving away personal souvenirs. She got her own freak on by throwing her shoes out to fans, saying "Y'all can have my socks, too, 'cuz they're dirty." She then started taking apart the patriotic red, white and blue leather-decorated denim outfit she was wearing, handing off a jean jacket vest to one fan (who eventually had the good fortune of having it signed), then cutting off the matching leather bottoms of her jeans, too. Not to be completely outdone, Snoop had posters for his new movie "Bones," T-shirts and CDs flying over fans' heads. Fearlessly leading the crowd in a chant of "F--- the police," one of Snoop's crew handed a female officer a promo copy of the movie soundtrack, and she was happy to get it.
When he got the signal that his time was up, Snoop addressed the crowd. "They said five minutes. They can just wait 'til we finish. If someone comes to take me off, who's gonna come up here and kick their ass?" The predominantly white audience didn't hesitate to show the mellow rapper that they'd have his back.
Event organizers tried decreasing equipment change times, but by the time the next act, Atlanta rockers Gov't Mule, hit the stage, the damage had been done. Less than half the crowd remained and part-time bass player Dave Schools had only 30 minutes to play before heading to his full-time job with Widespread Panic, who were concurrently playing a three-night run at UNO Lakefront Arena. Luckily the band had flown in fellow part-timer Oteil Burbridge of the Allman Brothers Band as a surprise guest. He ended up taking Schools' place for that last half-hour. In the end, the Black Crowes were the ones who ended up with the short end of the schedule stick. Restricted to about 45 minutes from an hour and a half due to the city's curfew laws, the band played twice as hard (but not "Twice as Hard") in half the time to compensate. Gov't Mule singer/guitarist Warren Haynes joined the group for its finale, "Oh Well."
Meanwhile, with a five to 10-minute walk (depending on traffic), a Voodoo Village marketplace and a tree-lined lagoon between them, the second main stage hosted some very different performers.
One of the last acts added to the lineup, Bush's rare appearance one of only four in the United States of late was a feast for the packed audience. The set list featured only a couple of songs from their new album, Golden State,, including the first single, "The People That We Love." The band primarily stuck to crowd-pleasers like "Glycerine," "Chemicals Between Us," "Little Things" and "Everything Zen," which inspired a nearly deafening call and response between singer Gavin Rossdale and the crowd of "No sex!"
While they were eating up the enthusiasm, Rossdale was forced to ask the fans to take two steps back. "Everyone's so packed together it's a beautiful thing, but down in front it's f---ing things up." The sentiment would soon be repeated by a crew member as the stage was being set for Tool.
Tool brought their entire production to the stage and put on a two-hour show that fell completely in line with what fans had been seeing in the band's arena sets. Among those features were the twisted, disturbing video accompaniment the band had been using on its last tour, including the full-length video for its latest single, "Schism," and a circus-like pre-encore performance by a seemingly nude couple. (No one was able to get close enough to see for sure, and with a "no photos/no journalists" policy in strict effect, nobody could get close enough to ask, either.)
Keenan also asked the crowd to move back, fearing for the safety of those up front after only the opening song, "The Grudge," and the Aenima-era interlude "(-) Ions." With neon blue on his finger tips, the area around his eyes, nose and mouth spookily blacked out and a gradual stripping of layers shoes, socks, shirts the barefoot and bare-chested frontman who hates to be up front quietly got into the Voodoo vibe.