Thought processes and conversations started under the tilted cap of Tropicana Field. Someday everyone will know the Rays play in St. Petersburg, Florida, not TAMPA, or the fictitious city of TAMPA BAY.
“So pump up the crowd and give ’em something’ to step to
My D J’s at his max to enhance what I bring you
The concepts hittin’ so follow along like a cookbook
Acknowledge the pros from all the titles I took, yeah
The crowd’s at ease when I breath though the mic end
As I whip up a dance better move all the mic stands
I go to work on the floor like a wet mop
If you’ve ever been moved, check it out when I rock”
(6th verse from “Ice is Workin’ It”)
As the above lyrics definitely state, Vanilla Ice definitely still knows how to “work a crowd”. The Rays Friday Fest Concert might not have been as long as ZZ Top, or as laid back as Dierks Bentley, but the man who rocked the mic like a vandal can still get the crowd going, and the head bopping. Especially entertaining was the fact that Vanilla Ice was doing a game on the photographers in the front well, and some of us caught onto it, while others got mad and frustrated. Me, I relished in the fact Vanilla Ice thought enough of me as a green-tagged photographer to get me square between the lens cover …once.
But I had a blast. Not just dodging the Aquafina onrushing sprays from all angles, but the sense from the crowd of the enveloping energy spikes and rush of raw emotion and power that emulated from the stage to the crowd and back, several times during the concert. Vanilla Ice might not have a huge anthology of hits through his musical era, but he definitely made his influence know on Friday night, and he is one of my favorite acts so far in 2010. I have to say without a doubt, from the moment he hit the stage, until he exited stage right, Vanilla Ice definitely had this joint rocking.
Sure the bass was pumping like a heart, and the drummer was amazing back on the skins, but the intensity and the energy coming from the stage on Friday night was something you truly had to see with your own eyes and soul to fully appreciate. It might not be some people version of music, or even lyrical symmetry, but the guy can work a stage and bring the crowd with him at will. That is the mark of a good entertainer. They can take the ebb and flow of the crowd mood and work it either into a frenzy, or into a solid performance you will be talking about for a long time.
Both seemed to materialized on that small Rays Friday Fest stage. Vanilla Ice was working it with everything he had that night. From his sheepishly wild stage set-up with a inflatable Grim Reaper and assorted camo netting and insane clown figurines, to his ” water show” that kept going throughout the entire show, and had the assembled crowd yelling for me to kick the water bottles to them after they had been doused with pure liquid refreshment. The visual show on stage by itself warranted a video camera catching each morsel as it unfolded on stage that night.
From Vanilla Ice trying to get me personally four times with water blasts ( he got me squarely once), to some of the assembled crowd (mostly women) brought on stage during the last portion of the show to dance, prance and simply be in the “Vanilla Ice moment”.
From the always constantly moving water bombing clown in the Santa suit, to the drums beats of Clint Eastwood ( seriously, that was his name), the night always seemed to be flowing out of the turntables and beats to push the blood pressure higher, and peak out the adrenaline.
In the long run, Vanilla Ice did what he wanted on stage, and made no apologies for the sake of his music. At some points it was like watching a performance art piece going on behind musical lyrics. Sure so many came to hear “Ninja Rap“, which also had a remembers of the Rays game day staff onstage dressed to the nines in Teenage Ninja Turtle outfits rocking with Vanilla Ice to the end.
As the concert ended, Vanilla Ice’s turntable maestro, DJ Dirty Chopsticks began to play other hip hop classics to keep the party going as the crowd slowly began to exit Tropicana Field. But in the end, just as his lyrics had predicted, Vanilla Ice definitely “working it” and for that, he all left with tunes and beats still ringing in our ears…..Word to your Mother!
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