OK, I’d be very concerned for you if you are not familiar with Boyz ll Men or their music, but chances are that the headline grabbed your attention because you know exactly who they are.
For those of you who really don’t know, the band started off in the late 1980’s as Unique Attraction. They were group of guys attending Philadelphia High School of the Performing Arts.
Nathan Morris was one of the founding members and Wanya Morris joined a while after. Some of the original members left due to graduation after which they recruited Sean Stockman and later Michael McCrary. They changed the band name to Boyz II Men after being inspired by the Bell Biv DeVoe song of the same name in 1988. Michael Bivins initially managed and produced for the band and the rest is history or on Wikipedia (wink wink).
Now before I launch into the magnificent experience that was their concert, let me start with the promoter because a lot needs to be said about this promoter.
The Three Year Long Wait
The original promoter for the Boyz II Men concert, Glen21 Entertainment, had tickets on sale in 2019 for a show was meant to happen in April of 2020.
I was one of the many who bought tickets in 2019 and then Covid-19 hit and the world came to a standstill. As the lockdown continued, we waited with bated breath, hopeful for new concert dates. Eventually by mid-2022, there was still no new date and refunds were offered to those who didn’t want to wait anymore.
Me, being the fool that I am, opted to take the refund. I will forever be sorry about that because not long after I received my refund, they announced the new date. To my dismay, I would then pay nearly double the price for my tickets that I had just recently refunded. Still, I’m not at all sorry that I got the new 2023 tickets, albeit at a massive mark up.
Back to the promoter. Glen21 seems to have changed their name to Glen1 and they also seem to be affiliated with Vertex Events. Vertex events are the people who botched the Musiq Soulchild and Deborah Cox extravaganza at Grand Arena recently.
Based on my bad experience at that show, I was, needless to say, quite concerned when I realized they were running the Boyz II Men event.
Though the last event Vertex ran was a nightmare from beginning to end, I have to point out that there was huge improvement this time around, even considering that I still feel as though they could have done better in certain areas.
Doors opened promptly at 6pm I’m told as I was not there at exactly that time. Their resident DJ Mr Phixit played some dope R&B tunes to keep the waiting crowd entertained.
As is the custom for me, I dragged my mom and daughter along because my mom is a fan and my daughter needs to learn. After having dinner at an eatery in the GrandWest Casino complex, we arrived at the Arena at about 18h40. The tickets said the event time was 19h00. Why can’t promoters separately stipulate event start times and doors opening times on their tickets?
Why do we always have to guess?
Sadly there was no compere to announce anything while a crew just suddenly appeared to set up the stage.The Warm Up Act Wasn’t Very Warming
Having taken our seats, I was disappointed that they had no compere to welcome the crowd or give us the rundown of the night and introduce acts.
So we were relaxing and enjoying the music and then things went quiet and at 19h50, suddenly out of the blue, a guy came up on stage and started singing.
I can only assume that he was singing in isiZulu which unfortunately I, and most of the audience, do not understand.
Only after a while, a name came up on the screen in a barely legible font and we eventually figured out that he is Joburg artist, Langa Mavuso.
Why does Vertex not use Cape Town artists for Cape Town shows?
Make no mistake, Langa has an amazing voice
Langa really does have an amazing voice. However, the feel, the almost sombre vibe and very slow tempo of his songs were being showcased in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It was abundantly clear that very few people knew who he was.
Langa Mavuso performed until 20h40 and it honestly felt like the crowd was just clapping for the sake of being polite, because though he is obviously a really good singer, when looking around me during his performance, most people seemed to be bored.
You know Cape Town… At a premium-priced concert, we like to know the songs being performed or we at least want to be familiar with the opening act, and unfortunately, that was a clear case of Vertex not having a clue about who their Cape Town audience are.
Some Things Vertex Still Can’t Get Right
Once Langa was done, it was back to music but this time there was no DJ on the stage. It was just some music coming through the sound system.
Meanwhile, a crew was fast and furiously moving equipment onto and off the stage as they were setting up for the next act.
No announcements were made whatsoever.
There was nobody telling us whether it’s an intermission or who the next act is; Absolutely nothing. At 21h02 the crowd starts chanting “Boyz II Men, Boyz II Men”.
From that I can deduce that, just like me, some of them must have had the same horrific experience at the Deborah Cox and Musiq Soulchild concert and are now getting edgy about whether or not the headline artist is actually going to take the stage.
Motown Philly Time!
At 21h08 the lights go dim and suddenly three guys dressed in all white ran onto the stage and the crowd goes wild because slowly but surely recognition kicked in.
Finally after a three year delay!
There they were!
Boyz II Men was greeting us all and introducing themselves!
They kicked off the show with the 1991 hit Motownphilly from their first album Cooleyhighharmony.
What an entrance! That was absolutely phenomenal!
Boyz II Men provided ‘The Soundtrack to Life’ for so many of us and it was evident in how the entire crowd sang along to each and every song they performed.
In some cases, the band just let the crowd sing because they were quite impressed and honoured that we knew the words so well.
They performed many of their greatest hits but also changed things up by doing a performance of Bruno Mars’ Locked Out of Heaven, Bob Marley’s Jamming and the Beatles’ Come Together.
An awesome thing about their performance was that Nathan and Sean were on bass and lead guitar. It was wonderful to watch them actually playing with their band even though some people didn’t seem to appreciate it.
The lady sitting next to us said the show was quite underwhelming for the price of the tickets.
I of course wholeheartedly disagree with her, but I am a huge fan, so I guess that makes me somewhat biased.
They sang everything from “On Bended Knee” to “I’m Doing Fine” to” Color of Love”.
Naturally the grand finale was none other than “End of the Road”.
Their performances of all their songs were excellent!
These guys can still hold their notes the way they did way back then.
The dance routines were on point.
Also, Nathan is looking like he hasn’t aged a day!
So… Was Boyz II Men Concert Three Years Late Worth the Wait?
All in all… YES! It was definitely worth the wait!
Besides the concert being absolutely amazing, a major highlight after the show was the crowd singing End of The Road all the way from the GrandWest Arena to the parking lot.
WATCH: The the crowd singing End of The Road all the way from the Arena to the parking lot.
Thinking about it now, I’m not biased. Clearly there was something wrong with that lady next to us because no doubt, everyone else loved them!
If you have kids, keep exposing them to the great artists of yesteryear.
If you can’t take them to concerts, make sure they regularly get to hear you playing the greats.
They need to learn about the artists who paved the way for so many others.
Art is the gift that keeps on giving.