There’s something a little off about Vanilla Ice’s concerts. It might have something to do with the guys dancing on stage in Santa Claus and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costumes, and the Halloween decorations hanging up in the background regardless of what time of year it is.
But there’s no denying Ice (real name: Robert Van Winkle) puts on a memorable show that keeps you entertained even before he goes into his hit song “Ice Ice Baby.”
You can see for yourself when Ice performs Saturday at Players Sport and Social Group’s Big Dig Beach Volleyball Tournament and Party at North Avenue beach. Here, the 44-year-old rapper and host of DIY network’s “The Vanilla Ice Project,” who appeared in the Adam Sandler comedy “That’s My Boy” this summer, gives his keys to putting on a wild concert:
Get everyone involved: “I bring people on stage with me. It’s a good time and people love to join in on the party. Show me a smile, and I’ll show you one back. Last night there was a 3-year-old dancing on stage better than I’ve ever seen a 3-year-old dance. If we play an age-restricted show, it gets crazier. A couple of girls jumped on stage at a show in Minnesota and did their thing together. They had very little clothes on.”
Keep the crowd loose: If everyone is old enough, I’ll pour Jagermeister (in people’s mouths) and pass the bottle around. A lot of my shows are sponsored by Jagermeister, so that’s why I promote it. I usually have one bottle with me (on stage). It makes everyone loose, and it makes everyone feel like we’re hanging out.
Know your audience: “I have a very broad demographic, from the 8-year-old who knows every word to ‘Ice Ice Baby’ and the college kid who grew up on ‘Ninja Rap’ to the soccer mom and grandparent. If there are kids in the crowd, we’re respectful. We adjust. I hold back some songs that are more hardcore, and there won’t be girls taking off their clothes. If it’s a charity event like Toys for Tots, I keep it fun and uplifting.”
Keep them guessing: “We’ve had Santa, (Killer) Klowns from Outer Space, Ninja Turtles and a couple guys dressed like (I did in the ’90s) break dancing. These are my ninjas, my posse. You never know what you’ll see. It’s a circus, and we want the crowd to feed off that energy.”
Have a theme: “The theme is Halloween – Tim Burton’s version. I’m big on Halloween. I have a song called ‘Born on Halloween’ (Note: Ice was born on Oct. 31). That’s a theme I carry with me always. It reflects who I am and what I’m about.”
Take requests: “There’s no set-list. People call out songs as we go. I have about 50 songs ready to go at any time. My drummer has been with me for years and can play anything. It keeps it fun for us.”
Have fun: “I’ve been playing concerts for many years, and it’s still as exciting as it was the first time. I hope that shows when I’m performing.”