I Love the 90s @ Perth Arena, WA 13/06/17 (Live Review)
Before the I Love the 90’s concert kicked off, there were the obligatory commercials with one about a ‘Hip Hop Legend Show’ (is that what we’re calling Sisquo now?). In hip hop, hype and theatrics are part-n-parcel of live performances, however that only works when you have the credentials to back it up. Earlier an irate Facebooker blazed about the 10 minute sets – well consider yourself lucky friend. Whilst the 10 minute sets were closer to 15 even that was clearly a challenge for most to fill.
Young MC and Tone Loc, those rappers who respectively sing about a girl in yellow and a Funky Cold Medina, fell rather short as they vocally laboured their way through their hits. Moreover who thought they’d ever see Tone Loc do a karaoke version (literally – there was a lyric video) of Snoop Dogg’s Gin And Juice? Come on man, you don’t think hip hop fans don’t know the chorus of Gin And Juice? Oh wait upon surveying the crowd and their retro 90s outfits, it was probably a smart move. To their credit both acts got the modestly filled Arena onto their feet where most people stayed for the entire concert unless they were making one of several trips to the bar.
Color Me Badd, the pop RnB group I was most excited for, came out to give me a reality check. Looking nothing like their 1991 selves, since there was only one original member and two backups; they had jettisoned their old colourful silk shirts for outfits that looked like they were about to head onto a P&O Cruise. Still, we got to hear Mi Amore and Sex You Up but a No Diggity cover was a reminder of all the act’s depth of material.
Nevertheless all was still relatively good (a 2nd beer helped) when Coolio came strolling out to give a lesson on how to effectively pad his set including a shout out to Prince. In the end he performed Gangsta Paradise and Fantastic Voyage with his unique voice backed by a live band and it was enough to get the energy piqued for Salt-N-Pepa but left this reviewer lamenting that if there hadn’t been such long band intros we could’ve been Rollin’ With My Homies.
Before Salt-N-Pepa strutted out, their video package included a clip of The Notorious B.I.G Juicy, “It was all a dream, I used to read Word Up magazine; Salt-N-Pepa and Heavy D up in the limousine”. In one line, the rapper summed up the significance of these actual legends. Thankfully these ladies had the skills to back it up with a set that was polished, professional and thoroughly entertaining. As the 2 MCs and DJ Spinderella went through Let’s Talk about Sex, Whatta Man and Push It, the ladies schooled their male counterparts. They thanked the audience several times for keeping them legitimate, but they’ve had a hand in that by not putting in paycheck performances.
The pumped up vibe ended quickly once Vanilla Ice came out, with many sitting down and no doubt debating if they could beat the traffic. Straight up, Salt-N-Pepa should never be followed by a one album-hit album wonder. The ladies had pitched the standard up far too high for Robert Van Winkle to ever reclaim. But it didn’t matter as he worked it as hard as he could using smoke machines, confetti guns, and inviting the crowd up on stage but when your contribution to hip hop history includes Ninja Rap well… you can’t take it too seriously. Curiously though Ice Ice Baby was rolled out halfway through his set allowing hundreds to roll out as soon as “word to your mother” was uttered.
So when it was all said it done, it was good but in that good-bad way like smashing a double cheese pepperoni pizza but knowing full well you couldn’t stomach it every day. Still it’s something you did revel in and would probably happily do again, after a few beers.
3 stars (bonus half * just for SnP)