Concert review: Hyped Hammer/Ice show a hit with Utah fans

Published: Tuesday, March 3 2009 12:00 a.m. MST

MC HAMMER, VANILLA ICE, McKay Events Center, Utah Valley University, Feb. 27.

OREM — If there were an award for most hyped concert event in Utah County of the year, Friday night's show at the McKay Events Center would have run away with first place.

Musically, the show hit mostly high notes, though it was far from perfect. But as far as the spectacle of it all, the Vanilla Ice/MC Hammer concert more than lived up to the hype.

Starting late Friday night and not ending until the wee hours of Saturday morning, a packed house of several thousand people proved: There are some kids who have been practicing their breakdancing; Everyone knows the lyrics to "Ice Ice Baby"; There are a disturbing number of people who have neon green or pink clothing still in their closets; and fans of the hip-hop pop icons are too legit to quit.

The stage was set up at center court of the arena in an east-west direction, as opposed to the north-south concert arrangement the venue traditionally uses. The change worked exceptionally well as it gave more people a closer view of the show.

DJs kept the party atmosphere high, spinning mostly rap and hip-hop hits from the '80s.

Vanilla Ice risked being a buzz kill, however, when he came on stage 30 minutes after his scheduled start time, prompting a smattering of boos from impatient fans.

When he finally went on, Robert Van Winkle started with material that was less hip-hop and more gangster-rap, including "Dirty South" and "Oh My Gosh." Even his better known older songs were given an "old-school remix," as Ice called them.

Ice's set dragged with a drum solo, a long DJ turntable solo and a "solo" from one of his dancers, elements that weren't necessary for a set that was only supposed to last 45 minutes.

But when Ice launched into "Ice Ice Baby," all was forgiven.

Hammer's set, which didn't start until after 11 p.m., was a night of synchronized dance routines. There were no stage props or musicians, only Hammer and about a dozen dancers. All of the music, and some vocal tracks, were recorded.

Still, it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of the crowd as Hammer performed "Let's Get It Started," "Pray" and "Too Legit to Quit."

By the time Hammer played his best known hit, "U Can't Touch This," he had invited so many people on stage it was a wonder he still had room to show off some the dance moves that made him famous. But wearing a pair of his famous pants, Hammer proved his fancy footwork had not slowed down over the years.

What did slow the flow were the breaks Hammer took between every song.

But overall, it didn't dampen the enthusiasm of fans (many of whom were likely in diapers in 1990) who enjoyed one night of good nostalgia.

E-mail: preavy@desnews.com

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