Coolio at The Cabooze, 6/1/13

Coolio at The Cabooze, 6/1/13
Photo by Athena Feldshon

With DJ Applejews, The Level Heads, Rob-1 and Anchormen
The Cabooze, Minneapolis
Saturday, June 1, 2012

It was definitely a "Back to the '90s Bash" as the DJ played songs like Rob Base and DJ E Z Rock's "It Takes Two" and De La Soul's, "Me, Myself And I" while the crowd anxiously awaited Coolio's arrival on stage. The hazy, smoke-filled venue was full of energy, the bartenders had their hands full, and a primarily running-man focused dance battle ensued at the front of the stage.

The 49-year-old rapper, who blew up big two decades ago, had the hits from his golden era ready to share -- as well as some TMI moments -- during Saturday's show at the Cabooze.

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Coolio at the Cabooze, 6/1/13

Fans roared when the MC announced, "Coolio is in the building!" And the first of many chants began. First it was a unified, "'90s music, '90s' music," which quickly transferred into, "Coolio, Coolio." Then, with the unmistakable cue of an explosion sound effect, Artis Leon Ivey Jr. ran up the side stairs and started the show.

Coolio opened with "From the Bottom 2 the Top," wearing his Jordans and yes, thankfully he did have his pigtail braids, which had room to breathe as his hat had two small, designated holes. Throughout the show, he had some reasonable requests from the audience. "Put yo middle fingers up and say, 'Fuck yeah!'" Everyone obliged.

Coolio at The Cabooze, 6/1/13
Photo by Athena Feldshon

"Hit Em High," came next and left Coolio feeling parched. "I need some water. I'm in the land of 1,000 lakes." He rounded down, but the guy was thirsty. He later got it right: "When I say ten, you say thousand." One of his biggest hits early on, "Fantastic Voyage" from the 1994 album It Takes a Thief, hyped things up even more when he passed the mic to fans in the front who sang along with the track.

Things got a little sentimental and slowed down a bit when Coolio dedicated "C U When U Get There" to the memory of Left Eye, Aliyah, "The big motha fucka from The Green Mile," (Michael Clarke Duncan), Tupac, and Michael Jackson. The guy who accompanied Coolio on stage for the whole show, who Coolio described as his financial advisor, among other things, played the saxophone and contributed to vocals.

Coolio had satiated his thirst at this point with a 24-ounce Red Stripe, but now it seemed, as he exposed his belly, that whatever he ate before the show wasn't agreeing with him. "I'm bout to take an Ex Lax after this motha fucka." He felt the need to keep everyone in the loop throughout the show, and the DJ followed his instincts and kept the explosion sound effects coming without hesitation.


Everybody did clap their hands with the start of mega-hit "1, 2, 3, 4," and the freak dancing commenced. Slight changes in the lyrics got the crowd cheering even more. "Ain't no party like a Minnesota party cause a Minnesota party don't stop."

Coolio at The Cabooze, 6/1/13
Coolio at The Cabooze, 6/1/13
Photos by Athena Feldshon

And finally, the opening strings of the familiar track began. "Gangsta's Paradise" was the obvious way to end the show, and they didn't hold back. Not only was the saxophonist wailing harmoniously with the track, but a small, enthusiastic hype man also joined the two on stage, blunt in hand. Coolio found opportunity in between verses to smoke and generously shared with a young man at center stage.

Although it was a relatively short set, the concertgoers seemed satisfied after hearing the most popular songs that fans would hope for at a Coolio show. And the man himself, at the ripe age of 49, looked like he had a blast. *Explosion sound effect*

Critic's Notebook:

Personal Bias: Nostalgia was definitely present for me with this show, as one of the first cassette singles I purchased in my life was "Gangsta's Paradise."

The Crowd: Some '90s get-ups, but overall there was a good mix, mostly people in their late 20s and early 30s. A lot of "clean-cut" people.

Overheard in the Crowd: In between each song, "Play Gangsta's Paradise!" Of course he's going to play it, and of course it's going to be at the end.

Set List

From The Bottom 2 The Top
Hit Em High
Fantastic Voyage
C U When U Get There
Hotel C
1, 2, 3, 4
Gangsta's Paradise

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