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A blazing Smoke Out, a blase crowd

November 25, 2002|Steve Baltin | Special to The Times

By most measures, the fifth annual Smoke Out concert was a success at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, where it moved after four years in San Bernardino.

The daylong affair, which attracted more than 21,000 fans on Saturday, came off without any major hitches, save co-headliner Snoop Dogg's taking the stage at 1:45 a.m., nearly an hour after his scheduled start time. The bill also included co-headliner and show organizer Cypress Hill, as well as up-and-coming rockers such as Mudvayne and Taproot.

Despite the strong lineup, however, the audience never seemed to fully embrace the day.

The mostly teenage throng waved hands in the air some, especially for guest performers Bone Thugs-n-Harmony, and chanted with many of the hip-hop performers. However, nearly every performer, from L.A. rap-metal hybrid 3rd Strike to Cypress Hill, had to repeatedly implore the crowd to make some noise or jump around.

Fans seemed remarkably blase about much of the scene despite the best efforts of the promoters, who set up the grounds as a European-style festival, including two stages, a dance tent, a wide array of vendors and a skateboard and bike demonstration.

Early in the day, a crowd gathered in a circle in front of the vendors while a group of boys took turns showing off their dancing prowess.

There may have been more excitement in that circle than from the thousands pressed in front of the main stage. Which goes to show, maybe in the days of "American Idol" and so-called reality TV, it's not enough to put on a show for kids; they need to be the show.

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