Last night, ’90s rapper and longtime Florida resident Vanilla Ice knocked the socks off of Cocoa Beach, celebrating the 30th anniversary of 1991’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze (which he briefly appeared in) with one of the wildest on-stage parties in recent memory…and of course Rewind It Magazine were there to cover the entire event!
Upon arrival, TMNT screenwriter Todd W. Langen and producer Kim Dawson, who each worked on the first two films, were on stage, revealing trivia and partaking in some Q&A with audience members. Although slightly on the awkward side at times, there were no doubt some interesting facts thrown in throughout, such as Langen’s treatment of the original film’s screenplay being written in just ten days. It was directly at the end of this segment that the crowd caught it’s first glimpse of the Ninja Turtles, as Michelangelo and Donatello then appeared on stage.
After this, the music finally began, as local musicians Zander and Brian Lion unleashed their brand of reggae/surf rock on the crowd. To be honest, I’m not much of a fan of Sublime-type bands, which is what their sound heavily reminded me of. Still, those in attendance did not seem to mind as the guys went through numbers like “I Wanna Rocksteady” and “Ocean Floor.”
DJ Mark Longnecker was next up, and arguably performed the longest set of the evening (perhaps even longer than anyone had originally expected?). Regardless, he mixed in the sounds of many old school rap, hip-hop, and R&B artists that included everyone from TLC, Debbie Deb, Run-DMC, The Fat Boys, Whodini, Grandmaster Flash, Kriss Kross, Beastie Boys, Coolio, MC Hammer, Digital Underground, and Prince. It was equally exhausting as it was entertaining.
Finally, the one and only Vanilla Ice took the stage by storm, opening with a surprisingly ripping version of “Minutes of Power” from his 1994 ‘hardcore’ effort, Mind Blowin’. It didn’t take long for the Ninja Turtles to make it on stage again, as Ice quickly ‘kicked’ into “Ninja Rap,” unleashing pure pandemonium from that point onward.
Covers of Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” and Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” followed, before tearing into his hit version of Wild Cherry’s “Play That Funky Music.” By now the Ninja Turtles were joined by other costumed dancers, local beauty pageant winners, and even Ice’s right hand man from The Vanilla Ice Project, Wes Kain himself (who was dressed as Elvis and draped with an American flag). The mega hit “Ice Ice Baby” followed, and predictably received the highest praise of the night.
But it didn’t end there; Ice followed it up with a killer rendition of Kaskade’s “Ice,” before proceeding with more covers of Young MC’s “Bust a Move,” Lil’ Troy’s “Wanna Be a Baller,” Ginuwine’s “Pony,” Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic,” and M.I.A.’s “Paper Planes.” Finally, he ended the night on a bittersweet note, dedicating a version of Bob Marley and The Wailers’ “No Woman No Cry” to the U.S. troops. It was a surreal moment, one where you could feel the genuine appreciation Ice had for every member of the crowd who has been there supporting his long-lasting career more than three decades later.
For many in attendance, last night’s show was pure nostalgia; there was no doubt a touch of that for me as well, having been a fan of both Ice and the Ninja Turtles since I was kid. But being there in the moment, witnessing so many aspects of my childhood alongside my wife and my own teen-aged son (as well as an old friend of the family in tow for good measure) will surely remain a treasured memory of mine for many years to come.