Boyz II Men Concert Review
by Matt Bauer
The sold out crowd at the Seneca Niagara Events Center received a harmonious Valentines treat when 1990s R&B icons Boyz II Men performed at the venue on February 15.
Patrons were still filing in when the trio of Nathan Morris, Shawn Stockman and Wanya Morris (founding member Michael McCary left in 2003 due to multiple sclerosis) appeared following a brief snippet of 1994’s “Thank You.”
A lively “Motownphilly” inaugurated the evening; that earworm of “Boyz II Men, ABC, BBD” flowing from practically every set of lips in the multi-racial, multi generational crowd, and a perfect representation of the group’s hip-hop influenced R&B that helped push the genre into the mainstream during their heyday of the early-mid 1990s.
“On Bended Knee” followed, with the group’s pristine harmonies still intact and an affecting falsetto courtesy of Stockman on an extended vocal coda. The G.C. Cameron cover “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” seemed especially poignant given the passing of Kobe Bryant as they performed acapella and bathed in pink light.
Then something unexpected happened: Shawn Stockman and Nathan Morris joined their four piece backing band, strapping on a bass and a guitar, as the fellows ran through a set of reggae, R&B, and classic rock covers with Wanya on lead vocals. Bob Marley’s “Jammin’”and The Gap Band’s “Yearning for Your Love” were nice, earnest selections before they turned up the heat on Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way” and The Beatles’ “Come Together,” then winding down with Journey’s “Open Arms.”
A ball pen of back to back show stoppers rounded out the evening starting with “Water Runs Dry.” Roses were handed out during “I’ll Make Love To You,” “A Song For Mama” hit all the right chords, musically and emotionally while the crowd sang for Mariah Carey on “One Sweet Day.” Of course, they didn’t have “Mimi‘s” pipes but their emotional connection to the song rang true.
“I’m sure there’s some Boyz II Men children out there,” joked Wanya as the show came to, well, the “End of the Road.” Every bit the soothing and soulful tonic that it was during that tumultuous year of 1992, it was the expected and fitting conclusion to the evening- a timeless classic.