REVIEW: Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, and Schoolboy Q at Summerfest
With Summerfest 2019 coming to a close on Sunday night, a trio of huge hip hop acts got together for the only time this year to shut down the American Family Insurance Amphitheater. It was a one-off, but the combination of Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, and Schoolboy Q could easily be one of the biggest tours of the summer should they ever choose to hit the road together. It also made for some unique Summerfest moments, and a fitting cap to eleven days of live music.
After a lively set from DJ Bizzon and DJ Whyte Nite, opener Schoolboy Q was the least established of the three names on the bill, but incredibly entertaining in the context of the living legends he was around. In fact, he even seemed surprised to be on the show, showing up on stage before 8:00 with little introduction. “I don’t even tour like that anymore, but I heard Lil Wayne and Snoop were gonna be there, and I said ‘Oh I gotta pull up'”, he joked to the crowd, one of many quips that he snuck in between hits like “Collard Greens” and “Man Of The Year”. If there was anyone fitting to set off the night, it was Schoolboy.
In many ways, Q was carefree, having fun on stage. When he fumbled on a verse, he told his DJ to just let it roll into the next track. When he saw the “Over 50” crowd, he told the Amphitheater that he should just turn it into a comedy special (and he did have jokes for days). At one point, he didn’t even know how much time he had left on stage. It was very nonchalant, and a little like a student giving an unprepared book report, but the unpredictability of it all made it that much more entertaining. As Q would tell the crowd at one point, the check for the show came in the mail two weeks ago, so he didn’t even have to show up, but we’re thankful that he did.
The middle act was where the night truly became legendary, as a lengthy intro video across a massive backdrop and LED DJ booth brought Snoop Dogg to the stage. For a celebrity who appears to be living in a constant party, his live show reflected that. Everything from a comedically-endowed Snoop Dogg mascot walking around the stage to stripper polls and entertainers surrounding the Doggfather on select songs felt right in place.
The set list, for the most part, also kept up with that theme, playing like a greatest hits box set, which Snoop has definitely amassed at this point. Yes, there was “The Next Episode”, and yes, there was “Gin and Juice”, and any other smash from Snoop’s 26-year plus career that kept the party going. The massive American Family Insurance Amphitheater crowd had settled in by this point, bouncing like a true west coast party for each and every cut.
The biggest production of the night, however, went to headliner Lil Wayne, who came on a deviation from his tour with Blink-182 with a full band, giving us the live version of many, many tracks from his storied career. Over the course of his set, there were over 30 tracks, with many not making it to their full length, as Weezy F. Baby was determined to get as much into his set as he could.
The whole set from Wayne felt like a rolling medley, covering each different facet of his catalog. From treating the “Day 1 Weezy fans” to tracks like “Fireman” and “Go DJ” to his most recent “Tha Carter V” cuts, the show moved at breakneck speed to showcase the ground that Weezy F. Baby has covered for over 20 years. At one point, Wayne also educated the younger fans that “back in the day there was something called mixtapes”, and proceeded to give us his featured verses from “Swag Surfin'”, “Wasted” by Gucci Mane”, and Chance The Rapper’s “No Problem”, before spoiling that there wouldn’t, in fact, be any surprise guests. Lil Wayne packed a lot into an hour-plus on stage, and showed that he truly is a rock star within hip hop.
For a show that was just a one-time occurrence, cobbled together by Summerfest, it felt like a winning combination from start to finish. All three acts on Sunday night made their sets memorable in completely unique ways, and all three got the sizeable Amphitheater crowd on their feet and moving. If there was a way to end the world’s largest music festival on a bang, Summerfest definitely found the way to do it on Sunday night.