Review: The boys are back as men

SIMON SWEETMAN
Last updated 08:20 04/12/2012
Boyz II Men

Formerly a foursome, Boyz II Men are down to just three, but they still bring the same romantic message to their legions of fans.

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Performance

Grease is still the word The one that she wants Verdi's La Traviata fine theatre Conducting a new direction The road to take is one that delights Red-carpet glamour at the opera Rally round rascally pirate and prissy prince A whisper to be heard A solid but not memorable performance Of masks and Freddie Mercury

Boyz II Men

Opera House, Wellington, December 2

Boyz II Men were huge - a mega-selling quartet that specialised in close-harmony soft-croon R&B. No controversy, no bad language, just the same threat of possible romance laid on thickly, slickly, again and again. In 2003 the quartet became a trio due to health reasons, Michael McCary leaving the group. Now Nathan Morris, Shawn Stockman and Wanya Morris carry on the cause, handing out red roses to audience members as they do the vocal equivalent of a soft-shoe shuffle when cooing I'll Make Love to You. They delay the inevitable End of the Road until the end of the set - roughly 70 minutes after they hit the stage to screams of delight.

Twenty-one years of singing the same song - of almost parodying the moves of The Spinners, Delfonics, Platters and so many of the other vocal harmony groups from the 1950s and 1960s. Twenty-one years of shrieking audiences - happy to cover for whatever has been lost vocally by piping up and parping out the chorus as the three Boyz/men play crowd-hype.

At one point - and it's so obvious that the entire show is a script - there's a passionate speech about "real music". Fans who had allowed their Boyz to essentially just dance to a medley of hits from various Motown artists were not worried that this "real music" was actually just some backing tracks with many of the supporting vocals supplied on tape. Mere details. Oh and for a mere $65 - "cash only", a sign proudly announced - you could meet and greet Boyz II Men after the show. Never mind the $100 ticket price.

The real fan really pays. The CD could be signed for you if you wanted to pay $55 instead of $30. Anything could be arranged. Anything, that is, apart from the majority of the original vocal parts.

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- The Dominion Post

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