Love conquered Castle Theater last Saturday night.
Boyz II Men brought the same swagger and superior vocals that they've been known to do for decades. And the audience fell head over heels in love. Over and over again.
The sold-out concert, featuring three of the four original members (fourth member Michael McCary left the group in 2003 due to health issues), marked the band's release of its new CD, "Twenty." The album reflects two decades in the music industry for the performers, who were in their 20s when they released their debut album in 1991. Hailed as the most successful R&B group of all time, Boyz II Men went on to sell more than 60 million albums worldwide and gather four Grammys.
Shawn Stockman (from left), Wanya Morris and Nathan Morris show off shakas during the post-show meet-and-greet Saturday.
Tina Lau photo
The Maui Arts & Cultural Center show shed light on the days when good songs required good singing. After all, the early '90s were absent of major technological tweaks, over-the-top Lady Gaga costumes and gimmicky showmanship. Music videos were still spellbinding, and they were still the bulk of MTV programming. Love, and love lost, were at the forefront of our lives- not issues like the sour economy, war and Internet privacy.
Boyz II Men masterfully captured all that was romanticized about the 1990s (even their break-up songs pleaded for resolve).
Their emotional ballads and a capalla harmonies left women, and some men, swooning.
And, amazingly, they still do.
On Saturday night, Boyz II Men magically transcended time and drenched some 1,200 screaming fans in nostalgia. They covered favorites like "On Bended Knee," "Water Runs Dry" and "Motownphilly" as Castle Theater transformed into a massive choir. The legends themselves directed, even encouraged, a chicken-skin singalong to nearly every song.
One highlight had each of the Boyz handing out roses to women while singing "I'll Make Love to You."
"There are lots of Boyz II Men babies out there," said Shawn Stockman, laughing. He added that men have to give credit to the band for getting their ladies in the mood.
Boyz II?Men's matchless vocals were coupled with their choreographed hip-hop doo-wop dance moves. How did Stockman, Wanya Morris and Nathan Morris, now in their 40s, stay so smooth?
After all these years nothing, and everything, has changed.
The best part about perhaps one of the most successful concerts this year is that love was the sole theme of the feel-good evening. Nothing complex. Nothing cluttered. Just powerful, pure voices telling us about powerful, pure love.
"So many are angry, too many are broken," sang the Boyz during a performance of their new song, "One Up for Love," which had the audience on its feet, swaying in agreement. "Together there's nothing that we can't do. . . Don't give up, just stand up . . . don't you wanna stand up for love."
In a world that spins way too fast and seems out of control, the experts on the heart reminded us to love, and to do it loudly, fervently and with every vocal chord we have. Because at the end of the road, love may be the only thing left standing.
- Kehaulani Cerizo