I Love The 90s

Photos by Leah Victoria

Photos by Leah Victoria

By Leah Victoria

Date / Venue: Saturday June 3rd, 2017 - Trusts Arena, Auckland

My high school years spanned the decade of wheel spoke beads, Tommy Hilfiger jackets and the brick like mobile phone which required you to press 7 four times to get an S. The struggle was real and the music on our cassette tapes was good. 

Upon learning that a show dedicated to 90’s hip hop was heading my way, I wondered, would it bring pure teenage nostalgia out, or would it ruin the memories of sharing a pair of foam covered ear buds and Walkman with my best friend while discussing the latest edition of Smash Hits Magazine? Either way, with the headliners being Salt N Pepa and Vanilla Ice, I knew I had to risk it just in case it really was as cool as I remember. 

The lineup consisted of Young MC (Bust a Move) Tone Loc (Funky Cold Medina) Color Me Badd (I Wanna Sex You Up) Coolio (Gangsta’s Paradise) each performing 15-20 minute sets leading up to the grand finale of Salt N Pepa (Let’s Talk About Sex) And Vanilla Ice (Ice Ice Baby). 

I don’t really understand why Salt N Pepa weren’t set to close the evening, with their 8 top 40 hits and two top fives, compared to Vanilla Ice and the only two tracks anyone can seem to remember him by.

I’ve only ever attended outdoor music festivals at the Trust Arena, I was taken aback by how “school hall” like the indoor set up felt. There was a little too much house light present for it to feel like a real concert, but maybe that’s just to appeal to the old skoolsenses?!

Young MC was first to take to the stage after the crowd had been thoroughly warmed up with a selection of 90’s finest jam and T-shirt catching competitions by an energetic host who kept telling us to wave our hands in the air like we just don’t care. We comply with the hands waving even though we’re all grown up now and actually do care.

 The not so Young MC who found international fame with his debut album Stone Cold Rhymin’ took to the stage wearing a tracksuit and delivered some punchy tracks that I couldn’t name and of course the one that everyone knows. He went down well as the first artist to take for a trip along memory lane as the crowd take to their feet awaiting the ride.

Quickly followed by Tone Loc who still plays it like a ladies’ man and supplemented his handful of hits with a cover ofSnoop Dogg's Gin And Juice, and then up next the odd sock of the evening, Color Me Badd. I was under the impression that they’re more RnB than hip hop, but hey, the era is correct and 90’s RnB is totally my groove so I’m not complaining there. They’ve ditched the over sized blazers and replaced them with leather jackets and switched out the baggy dress pants for the height of 90’s fashion, white jeans. Complete with cheesy boy band-ish dance moves got the ladies all sexed up!  

Coolio with his trademark crazy hair, two dreaded pig tails with a shaved strip through the middle of his head so you don’t miss the tattoo… maybe they are supposed to be devil horns but no, those are actually just pigtails. Aside from the weird do, he totally smashed his short but oh so sweet set and had the whole house vibing along to Gansta’s Paradise .He was propped up by a three piece band including a bad ass sax player who closed his 1997 hit C U When U Get There with a wicked solo.

Cheryl “Salt” James, Sandra “Pepa” Denton and Deidra “Spinderella” Roper had the stage fizzing with the same chemistry as they’ve always had. Their performance tight as only one with a 30 year back story can be.

I do wish they hadn’t bothered wasting time dancing around to Cyndi Lauper’s Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, House of Pain’s Jump and Guns N Roses Sweet Child O' Mine. I think that time could’ve been used to perform so many of their hits that were left out.  

And then after over two hours of bassy teenage house party it was time for Vanilla Ice. He bounced around on the stage telling us we are all teenagers again and spoke about the days when we had no Facebook or Twitter or smart phones. Scream if you still got a flip phone he cries, before pullng out his smart phone and proceeding to film or broadcast his performance and fans on stage. Oh the irony!  

 It was all a bit of a blurgh from then on. My ears... my poor ears!! I have no idea what happened to the sound but the bass was way way too much, I couldn’t hear the lyrics to Ice Ice Baby that I was so looking forward to rapping along to like I did back in the days. It was too much for my brain to handle the PA sounded like it might blow up any minute. I, along with hundreds of others called it a night right there and made our way through the exits!  

It was a good night, I enjoyed it, but do I love the 90’s? Nah, maybe I only just liked them!