EVERYTHING was going fine for 8-year-old Andre Vince at last night's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles concert until April O'Neil, the Turtles' favorite and most telegenic TV reporter, belted out her torch song.
So Andre let loose with a long raspberry, amplified through his cotton candy cone. "This song is super messed up," he said. "Nobody should sing songs like that in the Baltimore Arena." He had come downtown for something else entirely. "I like the kind of music the Turtles sing," Vince said.
No problem, dude.
For the most part, the TMNTs' "Coming Out of Their Shells Tour" is a pep rally performed for and by the most sensational urban legends ever to slink out of the New York City sewer system.
April herself got the large crowd fired up with a voice vote on the merits of pepperoni and cheese pizza. Pepperoni, as TMNT fans know, prevailed.
And when the Turtles finally emerged from their subterranean lair, there was pandemonium among the sub-teen set that formed a major part of the audience.
Before their nemesis, the evil Shredder, arrived on the scene to suck all music from the universe with his De-Harmonic Convergence Converter, the Turtles zoomed through a repertoire of old-style rock 'n' roll, surfin' tunes, rap, and music from the wall-of-sound school.
The kids sang along with "Walk Straight," the Turtles' anti-drug anthem, from their double-platinum debut album.
Of course, the TMNTs did not allow real instruments or live singing to interfer with the entertainment. And the audience, for the most part, did not seem to know or care.
At half-time, Megan McDonald, 7, gave a capsule review of the action so far: "I like it when the Turtles are dancing because they know a lot of good moves." Megan, a student of jazz, tap and ballet, knew what she was talking about.
Megan also professed admiration for April O'Neil's hair, "because I'm going to get a permanent soon, and I want it to look like that."
Meanwhile, Megan's 4-year-old sister Mallory was worried about April, who had disappeared under suspicious circumstances before the intermission. "I'm thinking that the bad guys have trapped her somewhere and I think the Turtles are going to rescue her," she said.
Mallory's intuition was right on target. But before the Turtles restored music to the world, as well as O'Neil's banished voice, they had to do battle with Shredder, his bad machine and henchmen with more hard rock, and an inspirational ballad, "Follow Your Heart."
A surreal martial arts battle followed, fought under the numbing pulse of a strobe light. And a Turtle asked of Shredder, "Is this all because you didn't get a date for the senior prom?" In fact, the entire show is peppered with pop culture in-jokes and asides geared toward the parents of TMNT fans.
The "Coming Out of Their Shells" tour continues through Sunday at the Baltimore Arena. Tickets are $13.50, $11.50 and $9.50 and are available at all TicketCenter outlets. For more information, call 347-2010.