The Up in Smoke Tour
~ Various Artists
Studio: Aftermath / Geronimo / Eagle Vision
Release Year: 2000
Directed By: Philip G. Atwell
Running Time: 2 hours, 34 minutes

One of the greatest rap tours ever; and it's been preserved for posterity. In 2000, West Coast rap legend Dr. Dre, fresh on the heels of his 6x platinum release Dr. Dre 2001 in 1999, assembled an all-star lineup for a national tour, called the Up in Smoke Tour. With his old partners Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube, his protégé Eminem, and a few other talented associates, the good doctor proceeded to rock the continental U.S. Several highlights from the tour stops were caught on film, and released as this DVD: The Up in Smoke Tour.

The Up in Smoke Tour opens with a Molotov cocktail; thrown by Ice Cube in Boston, Massachusetts. After descending from a cryogenic chamber, Cube and the Villain in Black - MC Ren of NWA - blaze the first two verses of "Hello", from Cube's 2000 release War & Peace: The Peace Disc. "Hello" is followed by two fairly disposable Cube numbers: "You Can Do It" (from the Next Friday soundtrack) and "We Be Clubbin" (from The Player's Club); but Don Mega closes his set in impressive fashion. The West Coast super group Westside Connection convenes on stage; and Cube’s comrades Mack-10 and W.C. help him rock a freestyle over the instrumental from Black Rob's "Whoa", which is followed by a nimble C-Walk (from WC, of course) to the instrumental of Mack-10's "Hoo-Bangin". And then Mack, Dub Cee and DJ Crazy Toones help Ice Cube take it back to the essence with "The Nigga Ya Love To Hate", from Cube's classic 1990 release AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted.

Up next on the tour bill: the one and only Slim Shady. After Cube's set concludes, Eminem takes the smoke-filled stage and runs through several cuts from his 2000 set The Marshall Mathers LP, as well as a few other notable cuts. With D-12's Proof assisting him, Em performs "Kill You" (from The Marshall Mathers LP) and his verse from The Notorious BIG's "Dead Wrong". The whole D-12 crew then joins Eminem for "Under The Influence"; and, after a few shots featuring Em's fanatical fans, Em and Proof then perform "Marshall Mathers", do a costume change, and then rock "Criminal", while two gigantic inflated hands flip the bird on each end of the stage. Shady, Proof and D12 then close with "The Real Slim Shady", and have the fans rocking and reciting the lyrics verbatim.

After Da Chronic Spot, a dope short film with Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Dre and Snoop take the stage, and do a medley of their hits. A pair of Dre and Snoop's compatriots from their Death Row Records days - Kurupt the Kingpin and Nate Dogg (of Tha Dogg Pound) help them blaze "The Next Episode" (from Dr. Dre 2001); then Dre and Snoop turn the arena out with their Death Row-era classics "Who Am I (What's My Name)" and "Nuthin But A G Thang". Snoop ends the set with "Bitch Please", his Dre-produced 1999 collab with Xzibit and Nate Dogg, both of whom join him on stage to close it out.

Ringmaster Dr. Dre ends the show, in typically creative fashion. Dre's set opens with a large, red-eyed skull floating down from the ceiling; which leads into Dre, Eminem and Xzibit performing "What's The Difference" (from Dr. Dre 2001), which is followed by Dre and Eminem making the crowd bounce with their collab banger "Forgot About Dre". After a tribute session to music immortals Eazy-E, Big Pun, Notorious BIG, Roger Troutman and Tupac Shakur, Dre and Snoop rock the house with "California Love" and 2Pac & Snoop's "2 of Amerikaz Most Wanted". A few special guests make cameos during this set; including Devin the Dude, who joins Snoop and Dre for the cheeky "Fuck You", and Aftermath Entertainment singer Truth Hurts, who sings the intro to "Let Me Ride", as Dre, Snoop and Dre’s old friend The DOC roll on stage in a vintage lowrider. And Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg finish with this set with a bang, with their epic 1999 hit "Still D.R.E." (from Dr. Dre 2001).

The Up in Smoke Tour may have been a once-in-a-lifetime event, but it will live on through this DVD. Watching this film, you feel as though you experienced every moment at every tour stop, even if you didn't. Not only did Dr. Dre and Co. put on a great show, they display a level of enjoyment you rarely see in modern Hip Hop. The Up in Smoke Tour is a truly great experience; and one you can savor vicariously through this DVD.

Review by Syd Caesar

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