UTG PHOTOS & REVIEW: Cheech and Chong’s ‘Up In Smoke’ Tour

Whether you were rolling up a doobie to watch Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke in 1978 or you’ve never touched the stuff in your life- odds are if you’re a fan of some gritty comedy skits that you’d enjoy seeing the duo live.

For a lot of younger fans, you may have seen the partners in crime appear on That 70s Show. Perhaps you’ve heard Cheech Marin performing the voice of characters in animated children movies or Tommy Chong play a judge (a far cry from a stoner) on Franklin and Bash.

Regardless of the medium in which you’ve experienced these personalities, they are undeniably ridden into pop culture for past generations and more to come.

To read UTG’s review and see some photos of their recent Westbury, NY appearance on the ‘Up In Smoke’ Tour, check out below the jump. You’ll may be surprised to see the entire synopsis of the show.

Making my way to my seat, I passed by the countless posters of legends in the halls of NYCB Theatre at Westbury (once known as the Westbury Music Fair). Posters of George Carlin in his youth hung next to photos of Alice Cooper, Chicago, and many more artists who’ve graced the stage over the years.

What better way to open up for a skit comedy show than with a sing-a-long or two?

Crowd participation was key when War took the stage. The funk band formed in 1969 and are known primarily for their hits such as “Low Rider,” “Spill the Wine,” and “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” The band featured performers from all over the world including The Bronx, California, South America, and Mexico.

Prior to War was an explosive performance by Tower of Power, a funky horn-fueled R&B group who commanded the stage the entire time they were on it. The crowd was on their feet, although the most excited people in the room were a little bit on the older side. Most of the younger members of the audience seemed to be there for the slapstick pot references of Cheech and Chong, although the vocalist for Tower of Power made sure to bring up the faint smell of weed in the room.

The fans were an odd combination: from old people with canes all the way to 15 year old guys with dreadlocks. One fan had a shirt that read, “Got poop?” and sat with his friend dressed in Hawaiian attire.

Although it may have seemed a little awkward to have these bands open up for a comedy skit, it was certainly entertaining once the pair took the stage. It is safe to say that you wouldn’t want to go see this show with your parents, as they can get a little graphic. At one point in the show, Cheech and Chong brought out of a character who was a chronic masturbation champion.

Throughout Cheech and Chong’s performance, wardrobe changes were thorough, between almost every skit. They ran back up the ramp of the center-based circular stage and returned as new characters. They took turns singing songs and acting out skits based off their cult classic films. They pretended to be pulled over driving stoned, sang a blues song about oral sex, and brought Cheech out wearing a tutu and wielding an electric guitar, ready for his performance as Alice Bowie.

Tommy Chong brought a level of seriousness to the stage when he discussed his recent battle with cancer. He treated his prostate cancer purely with cannabis treatment and is now cancer-free. Intermittently throughout the show, you could see Chong’s wife Shelby walking on-stage to introduce the act, strutting back and forth in a skimpy dress and high heels.

The show ended cheerfully, featuring Cheech and Chong and War performing “Why Can’t We Be Friends?” together on stage. The microphone was passed around round-robin, creating a makeshift and adlib version to the song which perfectly capped the evening.

Overall, if you’re into the opening performers, this was a great show. My biggest complaint: There wasn’t enough Cheech and Chong. I could’ve handled a little bit less old school funk and a lot more of standup as opposed to skit comedy, of which the performance was mainly comprised. That being said, I’m happy I was able to see some living legends close to home before they decide to throw in the towel and retire.

Reviewed by: Derek Scancarelli
To see Derek’s concert photography, check out D . SKANK PHOTOGRAPHY.

Derek Scancarelli
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