The top-selling R&B trio of all time had the ladies swooning with some of their romantic ballads and the whole audience clapping and singing along to some Motown classics.
Dressed in sharp suits, Shawn Stockman, Nathan Morris and Wayna Morris opened the 8 p.m. show with their dance hit “Motown Philly,” the debut single off the group’s 1991 album “Cooleyhighharmony.” After two more of their own songs, “On Bended Knee” and “Perfect Love Song,” the trio launched into a series of classic Motown songs, a la their 2007 album “Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA.” Incorporating dance moves straight out of the 1960s, the Boyz performed some rousing renditions of Smokey Robinson’s “Track of My Tears,” Stevie Wonder’s “Just My Imagination,” WAR’s anti-war anthem “War” and a Barrett Strong song made famous by The Beatles, “Money (That’s What I Want).”
After the group’s Motown history lesson, Stockman gave the crowd a brief history of Boyz II Men, talking about the group’s genesis in high school before performing more Boyz songs: “Please Don’t Go,” “Water Runs Dry” and “I’ll Make Love To You” during which Stockman and the two Morrises handed out roses to elated ladies who rushed the stage.
The song that became a common high school prom theme during the 1990s, “End of the Road,” was also the show’s ending song, before the Boyz came out for an encore performance of “Motown Philly.”
The audience was filled with long-time fans who swooned and sang along with most of the songs. For those of us in the audience who grew up more on oldies than our own generation’s music, the flashback portion was particularly entertaining and the group’s contemporary vocal stylings blended well with the classic songs. The dance moves that accompanied the oldies were obviously done to channel the spirit of the original performances, but the dance routines to the group’s own music seemed forced at times.
Perhaps they should tone down the dancing a bit and stick with the “men” part of Boyz II Men, just as they abandoned the baggy jeans and backwards hats of their “boyz” days. Stockman and Wayna Morris did both take time to thank the fans for their years of loyalty, which was nice to hear and showed their maturity, even if their dancing was sometimes not so dignified.
All told, it was an entertaining show that fans at tonight’s performance will surely enjoy.