I Love the '90s Tour
With Salt N Pepa feat Spinderella, Rob Base, Kid 'n Play, Kool Moe Dee, Color Me Badd, All-4-One, Tone-Loc & Young MC
Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
April 23, 2016
Last Friday night, the need for nostalgia was high and everyone was primed to have a great time because the week's rain and flooding was hopefully also in the past. Dubbed "I Love the '90s," this hip-hop/R&B package tour brought so many familiar hits to the Woodlands Pavilion, it was like watching the live version of Yo! MTV Raps with Fab Five Freddy. Although the '90s gave the tour its title, almost half the crews onstage spanned into the previous decade, which only allowed for more hits to be crammed in before curfew.
Tick tock you don't stop. The eight groups on this tour stop all played in a bit less than four hours. What is awesome about these types of nostalgia shows is that the groups only get a short time to play, and the sound checks between sets were less than five minutes. This kept the party escalating until the headlining queens came out to rock The Woodlands.
Tone-Loc still sounds like he has a frog in his throat, and came out while the sun was still out and fans were slowly filing into their seats. The 50-year-old was pulling for the Rockets, too, as he paced the stage in his red Clutch City T-shirt stating his disdain for Golden State. But he really got the party started for the rest of the night when 15 ladies were pulled out of the crowd and up onstage to dance with him to “Wild Thing." They looked like the Fly Girls from In Living Color, just pumping, gyrating, thrusting and dropping low, all to the howls of the fans cheering them on.
All-4-One had some pitch problems and distorted sound, but what they had in sound problems they made up for with their choreography, which included signing their biggest hit, “I Swear.” They also made mention that they had held the same lineup throughout their entire career, possibly throwing shade toward the other R&B group performing after them...
...Color Me Badd, whose current incarnation consists of only three members. The trio was pitch-perfect as they moved around the large and mostly empty stage. One of them threw a dozen roses into the crowd, red petals flying above the outstretched hands in the first ten rows. It makes you wonder if these guys are actually the gentle lovers they claim to be in their songs.
Kool Moe Dee challenged the crowd with hip-hop trivia by rapping out the line to a classic track, and the H-town crowd never got stumped, shouting back the lyrics with ease. Even though many minds were on Prince’s death, the MC made certain that all those that hip-hop culture has lost were remembered. DJ Easy Lee pushed the famous tracks for the rapper and finished with “Wild Wild West." This was the least popular of all the songs played that night, but the fans that knew it, and sung it back loud and proud.
Kid 'n Play came out dressed in white and black tux jackets, respectively, and flowed the best compared with all the night's other artists. They continuously entertained the crowd with skit-like banter highlighted by the “Rap Battle” from House Party and “Ain’t Gonna Hurt Nobody."
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The crowd continued to get louder and louder as the night went on. It was hard to believe that they could push it further, but it happened when Rob Base pumped out “Joy and Pain.” Then the song every soccer mom knew dropped and the place went nuts hearing “It Takes Two." Everyone at the Pavilion was up dancing and singing to one of the greatest party songs of all time. By the way, in this day and age, it's probably a guarantee that Rob Base is internationally known because he knows how to rock a microphone.
Salt N Pepa are celebrating the 30-year anniversary of making music together. They pumped out several rap medleys from over the years. Spinderella was the only DJ who appeared to be spinning actual records. The ladies worked the predominantly white crowd by surprisingly (and unnecessarily) playing “Jump Around,” “Play That Funky Music” and “Sweet Child O’ Mine” for all their “rock and rollers” out there.
Not to be outdone by Tone-Loc earlier in the night, they brought up a bunch of guys from the seats, but Salt told them they needed to have at least one of two things: moves or money. They all had pretty decent moves except for one fella, who gave her a $20 bill.
To close the show, Salt N Pepa brought out all the artists on the ’90s tour as Spinderella played parts of three Prince tracks (“1999,” “I Would Die 4 U” and “Purple Rain"). By this time, people were starting to filter out of their seats as the babysitters were going to start charging overtime, but they stopped in the aisles to jam to the song that started it all for the first ladies of hip-hop, “Push It.”