Live New Orleans

Vanilla Ice

Triple A--Baton Rouge

November 30, 1998

I was quite fan of Vanilla Ice's "Havin A Roni" track off of 1991's "To the Extreme." Either that, or I just thought his less than spectacular white boy beatboxing was silly and laughable. Anyway, I got to finally ask Ice what "Havin A Roni" meant when I interviewed him in '99. He said it was "having a virgin," and he looked at me like I should have already known that. I caught up with Ice before his show at the Triple A Bar in Baton Rouge.

With the dance bar swarming with regulars, Ice seemed like an afterthought sandwiched between dance sessions. The dance-ready bass, which thumped louder than any normal music venue, served his material well. With trance-inducing lights and an endless stream of smoke, the music screamed with a dark, dramatic temper. Sorrily enough, Ice's skeleton-laced backdrop seemed more like decoration for a high school Halloween party than for a hard-edged musician.

Ice arrived an hour late for the show, but he easily worked up the crowd quick with an aggressive rapping style germane to Cypress Hill.

The show was a surprise to everyone who knew of Ice's recent rock/rap conversion. He pulled an old-school show out of his hat after coming off a 150-show tour with his rock band. As expected, the crowd erupted when "Ice Ice Baby" was played. Less expected was the number of people who stayed after the song ended, a testament to the rapport Ice developed with the audience. At one point, Ice asked if anyone had the "balls" to go onstage and frestyle. A few brave souls ventured onstage, adding a new level of communal fun to the concert.

Even though Ice will always be a whipping boy, at the concert he put on a tight show that enthralled the crowd. I had a good time. That's all I asked for. All of Ice's regrettable moments didn't mean crap in the moment.

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