Tuesday, April 03, 2007

REVIEW: Snoop / P Diddy (The Point, Dublin)

Do you know what Sean John Combs aka Puff Daddy, aka P Diddy, aka Diddy wants (besides a name he can hold onto for more than a week)?

What he really, really wants is for everybody to put their hands up in the air. And, if everybody could do so in a nonchalant manner, suggesting, perhaps, that they just don't care, well, so much the better.

Round here, of course, what Diddy wants, Diddy gets: suddenly the Point is an endless forest of pale, waving arms.

The One Love Peace tour is in town, fronted by East Coast rap's most dapper mogul, three-piece suited, P Diddy, alongside his suitably lugubrious West Coast counterpart, Snoop Dogg. And Dublin is clearly at their command.

By now these guys have more than 50 years in the business between them, and the fundamentals of the earliest hiphop shows and still here: every call and response, shouted out and hollered back as though they were written in a book of common prayer.

The two headliners perform an alternating series of mini-sets, marathon bouts of world class working the crowd. Puffy in particular is in MC, rather than rapper mode, at times quite literally taking control of the jammed Point audience like a conductor in front of his orchestra: crisp suit, music stand and baton in hand.

During a hugely extended version of his Sting-sampling, I'll be Missing You, P Diddy invokes (not for the first time in the evening) the ghosts of Notorious B.I.G. and 2Pac, but also, rather more unexpectedly, all the men and women who died for Irish freedom.

Snoop seems less interested in grunt work of bandleading, and relies instead on a few localisation tricks – replacing his trademark call and response 'what's my name' with the crowd pleasing "cad is anam dom?" and delivering a version of House of Pain's hiberno hiphop classic, Jump Around.

Finally – and inevitably – Snoop, Puff, and their considerable entourages unite on-stage for the big finale: a birthday party for P Diddy's 9-year-old son, Christian, at which we all sing Happy Birthday and the nipper, dressed in full Bad Boy regalia, blows out the candles and wishes that when he grows up he'll be a rapper, just like his daddy and Snoop.

That's hiphop for ya: adorable, wholesome, family entertainment.

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