Vanilla Ice’s premiere was only 12 years ago, with the infamous debut hit, "Ice Ice Baby." The album, "To The Extreme," was largely unsuccessful due to the complete lack of any other well-developed or popular songs. After he lost his initial popularity blast from "Ice Ice Baby," Vanilla Ice had a brief revival with "Ninja Rap" and its performance in the feature film, "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II."
Unfortunately for him, Vanilla Ice became a joke to most music fans for the rest of the 1990s. He was stereotyped into the early-90s "bad old rap" trend with the likes of M.C. Hammer, Kriss Kross, and Snow. Even the more serious and classy old rap bands, such as Arrested Development, were regarded with more respect.
Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to go to a Vanilla Ice concert for $15 in a small club. I didn’t like him in 1990 and I certainly wouldn’t like him in 2002, but my friends and I went for the sheer comic value. It was worth the $15 just so I could tell people, "I saw Vanilla Ice." In fact, we were only about 10 meters from the stage, wondering in amazement how much that ticket would have cost in 1990.
There were two opening bands. I would be lying if I said that they had talent. The first, Fed Up, was a typical "bad opening band," relying entirely on screaming to some basic hard-metal guitars. The bassist only used his lowest string, rarely even changing notes. Rest assured that he wouldn’t be difficult to replace. Every song of theirs sounded exactly the same. They were dressed in one-piece blue cloth suits bearing their logo ("F.U." - almost funny, almost badass), which projected a wonderful "gas station employee" image. A large "F.U." flag was also placed on stage, held up by a flimsy PVC pipe frame. They tossed some CDs out to the audience, and I saw at least five that simply hit the ground and stayed there. It’s pretty sad that people wouldn’t even take their CD for free after hearing their show (although I can’t say that I blame them). The only applause this band received was when they announced, "This will be our last song."
The second opening band was greeted with a hostile audience, due largely to the poor performance of the first and the crowd’s hunger for Vanilla Ice (seriously). They were far less awful than Fed Up, but unfortunately they were not distinct enough for me to remember their name (they didn’t hang a flag from PVC or wear gas station uniforms). They had slightly more talent than Fed Up, and could probably be a one-hit wonder after many years of constant practice. They performed a shorter set than Fed Up (to everyone’s great pleasure) and seemed a bit more realistic about themselves - they knew that they were opening for Vanilla Ice, 12 years after he became popular, in a $15 concert with less than 400 people attending.
Then Vanilla Ice, or "V-Ice" as he wants to be called now, began his set. The floor filled up with "fans" (I use this term loosely, because we were not fans, but we were at the show. I imagine that we were not the only people who came as a joke.). His music is very hard rock-metal now, and it really didn’t sound like it would stand out against any popular hard metal bands. He sprayed water all over the crowd and himself (as it was getting fairly warm), tossing the empty bottles into the crowd like a badass. He went through six bottles in two songs. Whenever a photographer would approach the stage, Vanilla Ice would blatantly pose until after the shot was taken.
We left after four songs. We saw what we wanted to see. (No, he did not play "Ice Ice Baby".)
Vanilla Ice is doomed to failure in his current effort of reviving his career. Only the most dedicated fans would pay more than $15 to see him, and I doubt he’ll sell many CDs. His biggest problem is that he is taking himself seriously - he still thinks that he’s a hardcore badass, when really he’s a complete joke to almost every music fan. Even the venue employees were chuckling at him. If he really wanted to start a new career with a new type of music, he really should have abandoned the Vanilla Ice name, which will forever remind people that he was an old, bad rapper.