Somebody terribly underestimated the devotion of rap fans Monday night. The Fairpark Coliseum was undermanned, unorganized and almost out of control for the Vanilla Ice concert.
Three thousand people were funneled into the Coliseum through one door, two people at a time to present, pick up or buy tickets. The resulting backup caused snarled tempers and short fuses.By the time my son Jeremy and I pushed through a three-block-long line to cram inside the door, security officers were calling for police backup. Fist fights went unchallenged because the crowd was too thick to penetrate.
It was almost 8 before the scheduled 7 p.m. concert could begin. With a near capacity crowd jamming the dance floor in front of the stage, people were being pressed against the stage and began to hyperventilate and pass out. A security guard outside said paramedics were called but couldn't find who needed help for nearly an hour. She said there were only 10 guards to control the crowd and they were clearly outnumbered.
The officers repeatedly told the crowd to move back or the show would not go on. For one moment, when people began catcalling and throwing things toward the security officer on stage, I had a horrible understanding of how riots begin.
Four on the Floor, a rap group from Salt Lake City put in an unannounced appearance to open the concert. They had the unenviable job of trying to warm up a jazzed up group of rap fans who had come to hear the Iceman. Calls to "put your hands together" were largely ignored.
A 45-minute interval crept by before Doc Box came on stage. A turgid bank of fog settled across the stage, and the Box broke through to begin their act. When they were finished, security officers continually threw water at those in front of the stage to get them to back up and alleviate the dangerous crowding.
B Fresh was exactly that as they suggestively swiveled out "Make Slow Love" rather than rapping it out.
During the long waits between acts, the best part of the concert was happening at the back of the dance floor. While the sound system churned out thumping rap songs, two incredible dancers were cooking to the delight of the bored audience.
Derik and Spencer were hotter than anything seen on stage. A question afterward uncovered the fact that they belong to a new rap/soul group "Enlight" that has its debut album coming out on Epic Records. Utah Valley rap fans should check out the Palace in Provo - these guys actually moved better than the Vanilla guy himself.
Which brings me to the star of the show. No matter what his trouble in keeping his stories straight about his prerecording life, Ice can rap with the best of them. Rhythm forgot all about color line as this blond bombshell careened across the stage making as big a hit with his dancing as his rapping.
With synchronized lights, well-timed bursts of fog and the Vanilla Ice Posse to back him, he glittered cooly in a silver and black harlequin jacket never looking the least bit ruffled. His second and third songs were heavy on the sexual - forget the inuendo - references. "Hooked" was bad enough, but when he went into one where he told the females in the audience, "I'm your wildest fantasy . . . Vanilla Ice is the best," I decided this has all gone to his head.
"So we're ready to rock, huh?" he asked his fans - and rock he did. This time, the fans needed no prompting to throw abandon and their arms to the wind. The screaming and shrieking approached the sound barrier level. Kids lined the aisles dancing and rocking.
There is a great beat to a good rap song and if you were at the back of the audience where there was room to dance, you saw the very best of this concert. Jeremy and I didn't stay to hear Ice's chart-buster, "Ice Ice Baby." The sound had been cranked up so loud and we were so claustrophobic after three hours that we left after just three songs. With a little more crowd control and a tighter show, this rapping night could have been a lot more fun.