Now 25 years in the game, Boyz II Men continues upholding the crown as the best-selling R&B group of all time. Besides hitting the road on the heels of their latest collection “Collide,” the trio comprised of Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris (currently on “Dancing With The Stars”) and Shawn Stockman recently completed three years at The Mirage in Las Vegas and just signed on for another three.
Nevertheless, Boyz II Men had little to complain about as they unfurled “Water Runs Dry,” “I’ll Make Love To You” and “End Of The Road,” each outdoing the previous in terms of endurance beyond merely the ‘90s.
Though Hammond isn’t exactly Sin City, The Venue At Horseshoe Casino could very well be a virtual portal and these four time Grammy winners appeared right at home before the sold out crowd. And for just shy of two hours, Boyz II Men retraced their steps through most of the hits that put these Philly natives in the history books for spending more than 50 cumulative weeks topping the Billboard Hot 100 (behind just Elvis Presley, The Beatles and duet partner Mariah Carey).
Following the fresh pop rebirth “Me Myself & I” and the new jack swing note of “Motownphilly,” the guys and four supporting players quickly shifted the focus to showcase their hip-hop meets doo-wop mastery of soulful ballads. “On Bended Knee,” “Uhh Ahh,” “4 Seasons Of Loneliness” and a completely a cappella take on G.C. Cameron’s “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday” were just a few examples of the guys’ massively stacked, practically heaven-sent harmonies.
Speaking of covers, the former Motown men offered a mid-point guitar/bass/vocal medley that dabbled in territory as varied as Bob Marley, The Isley Brothers, Nirvana, Ed Sheeran, Marvin Gaye, Sade, The Beatles and many others. Although amusing at first, the segment eventually took a turn towards the karaoke bar and ran so long it seemed as the guys would never get back to Boyz II Men business.
And they wouldn’t for at least a little while, telling the tale of being pitched the enormously successful “Amazed,” but passing on the opportunity to record it and having to watch Lonestar take it all the way to the bank. Nevertheless, Boyz II Men had little to complain about as they unfurled “Water Runs Dry,” “I’ll Make Love To You” and “End Of The Road,” each outdoing the previous in terms of endurance beyond merely the ‘90s.
As fun as it was to hear a reprise of “Motownphilly,” having the group’s Carey collaboration “One Sweet Day” reduced to mere overhead exit music was a total shock, especially considering it was such a defining moment in each act’s career. Even so, there’s always the hope it will pop up in Vegas or the next time Boyz II Men visit Chicagoland, which given the resounding reception and a post show meet and greet line wrapped around the building, shouldn’t be too far into the future.
Upcoming concert highlights at The Venue at Horseshoe Casino include Avant, Dru Hill, Ginuwine and Tank (April 14 and April 15); Floetry and Musiq Soulchild (April 16 and May 1); Jeffrey Osborne, Freddie Jackson and Stephanie Mills (May 6); Chris Tucker (May 21); Whitesnake (July 10) and The Monkees (July 11). For additional details, visit TheVenueChicago.com and Ticketmaster.com.