Friday’s show at the Providence Medical Center Amphitheater felt like a high school reunion — the reuniting of people with the songs of their youth and those who performed them more than a quarter century ago.
The “I Love the ’90s Tour” drew more than 6,000 fans to the Bonner Springs venue, and for nearly four hours they were entertained by six acts who put hip-hop and R&B on the mainstream charts, including several songs that were popular in the ’80s
The show was rapidly paced. The early sets were short, and the time between sets was brief and filled with music. Most sets featured only the performers backed by a DJ and/or recorded tracks, so there wasn’t much stage preparation.
Young MC, a rapper who is now 49, opened the show and ignited the dance party mood with a set that included two of his hits: “Can You Feel the Love” and then “Bust A Move,” which started a tide of gyrations that approximated moves being busted.
The latest incarnation of Force MDs was next. Dressed in black vests, black pants and blood-orange satin shirts, the quartet displayed some slick choreography while delivering syrupy R&B/soul classics like “Tender Love” and “Love Is a House.”
Coolio upped the ante by bringing out some live instrumentation: guitar, keyboard and saxophone. He’s in his 50s now, and his voice has acquired another layer of gruff, but he had no problem further stirring up the crowd. His set included some of his best-known tracks, like “It’s All the Way Live,” “1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New),” “Fantastic Voyage,” “Gangsta’s Paradise” and “C U When U Get There,” which featured some nice sax riffs. He also paid tribute to Prince and others who have died, including Whitney Houston, Eazy-E and Ol’ Dirty Bastard.
Rob Base had the unenviable duty of following Coolio and preceding the show’s most anticipated act, Salt-N-Pepa, but he delivered a robust set that kept the mood energetic. “Joy and Pain” and “It Takes Two” aroused the loudest ovations.
The advertising campaign Salt-N-Pepa did for an insurance company in 2015 revived interest and enthusiasm for the group, and during their set, they proved that this comeback, if that’s what it is, is no cash-grab novelty act. Their set was lively and filled with energy and personality.
They were accompanied by DJ Spinderella, who kept the set moving. She choreographed a tribute to the duo’s 30-year span with a medley that included House of Pain’s “Jump Around,” Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child O Mine,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun.”
Salt-N-Pepa’s set was filled with their best material, including “Do You Want Me,” “Shake Your Thang,” “I’ll Take Your Man” and “Express Yourself.”
“Let’s Talk About Sex” got an uproarious response, topped only by the riotous reaction to “Push It,” the soundtrack to those insurance commercials. The duo is celebrating its 30th anniversary; this set proved they have plenty left in the tank.
Vanilla Ice closed the show, taking the stage with a DJ, a drummer and a scary clown. The stage looked like a slice of Raider Nation from an Oakland Raiders home game. His set featured “Ninja Rap,” a turbocharged version of “Stop That Train” and a cover of “Play That Funky Music.” After “Ice, Ice Baby” shook the place from the edge of the stage up to the lawn, fans started streaming out of the amphitheater. All the destinations on this journey had been reached, and the thirst for nostalgia had been quenched.