Genre-Warping Warped Tour Kicks Off With Trio Of Texas Shows

Rapper Ice-T plays with punk-rockers Suicidal Tendencies, while pop-punks Blink-182 cover TLC.

The fifth annual Vans Warped Tour kicked off Friday at Retama Square in San Antonio,

Texas, under a blazing sun.

A brief downpour extinguished the heat for just a bit as fans moshed, skanked and threw

their hands in the air during sets by artists such as Eminem, Pennywise, Lit, Less Than

Jake, Ice-T, Black Eyed Peas and numerous others.

On this first edition of the Vans Warped Tour to highlight hip-hop in addition to punk rock,

Detroit rapper Eminem (born Marshall Mathers) lured fans away from the second music

stage and extreme-sports displays with a graphic clown-around set that focused on

songs such as "My Name Is" (RealAudio excerpt).

Fan Steve Davis managed to take in the tour's first three stops, which included shows at

Houston's Astro Arena on Saturday (June 26) and Dallas' Artists Square on Sunday

(June 27).

"I came to see everyone, but especially Lit," the 19-year-old Dallas resident said.

"There's almost too much to see."

At the Dallas stop, San Diego pop-punk trio Blink-182 delivered a typically lighthearted

set. Tossed in among songs such as their recent single "What's My Age Again?" was a

cover of hip-hop trio TLC's "No Scrubs" that had fans smiling as they danced.

Meanwhile, veteran rapper Ice-T (born Tracey Marrow) has been drawing fans' attention

with a recurring guest spot during the set by old-school Southern California

metal-rockers Suicidal Tendencies. The political gangsta rapper rallied crowds with

chants of "Ice! T!" as the band played.

During his own set Friday, Ice-T hyped his forthcoming disc, The Seventh Deadly

Sin, between songs while focusing his set on fan favorites, such as 1991's "Original

Gangster."

Suicidal Tendencies also dug deep into their catalog, pulling out such songs as

"Institutionalized" and cooking up a disco version of "I Saw Your Mommy," both from their

1983 self-titled debut.

Despite the heat, which was mitigated in Houston by an indoor portion of the show, the

majority of fans at each location stuck around throughout the eight-hour concert to witness

the rotating headliner spot.

Not that all fans fully enjoyed themselves. "It's too hot, and there are too many

new-school bands," Dallas teen Jessica Thompson said. "But then, I'm not really a

positive person."

"There's a lot of lovely young ladies," observed guitarist Billy Sherman of the

reggae-flavored band Common Sense, out for their debut run with the tour. "But the

coolest part has been meeting all the other bands."

The tour's 31 dates continue through the end of July, first heading west, then doubling

back through the Midwest and Northeast before wrapping up in Georgia and Florida. The

next stop is Phoenix on Tuesday (June 29), where forecasters are predicting a

111-degree day.

SonicNet is the exclusive online presenter of the Vans Warped Tour '99 and the

designer of its official website (www.warpedtour.com).