The highlight of Summer-09

by Jeremy Chance

So I just got back home from being in Hammond for the evening. Some of you might be wondering why on earth would I drove an hour and a half (well, nearly true with the construction bs on I-65 northbound) to be there for only about 7 hours. I am going to tell you why. Now, there were two dates I was looking forward to this summer. The first was June 24th for the premier of Transformers 2.

The second date was July 15th. Boyz II Men, my favorite music group of all time was in concert…in Hammond…for free. I remember the day I first found out they were going to be in Hammond. My best friend Sara sent me a text message saying Boyz II Men was going to be performing at the Festival of the Lakes on July 15th and that I was the first person she thought of when she found out. I’ve been a HUGE fan of Boyz II Men ever since my grandma bought me the CD Evolution for Christmas when I was 10 years old. They’ve just been an icon not only in the world of R&B, but just in the music industry in general. With hit songs such as “I’ll Make Love to You,” “On Bended Knee,” “It’s So Hard to Say Good Bye to Yesterday,” and countless others, it’s hard to not be a fan of the group whose tight harmonies are matched by only a few groups (none that I can think of though). Boyz II Men has shaped me as a musician and as a vocalist and I credit a lot to them for keeping me involved in music. I mean, come on, how could you listen to “One Sweet Day” by Boyz II Men and Mariah Carrey and NOT want to sing?

To be able to see them perform live in concert was seriously a dream come true for me. A little known fact about me is that I had never been to a concert before tonight. There was really no reason in particular, I had just never been to one before. Then it had gotten to the point that my first concert was going to be the perfect concert. If it was going to be my first, it had better be worth it. Let me tell you, it was worth it. Although nowadays Boyz II Men is a trio as opposed to the four-part harmony they boasted in the 90s and early 2000s, they still brought a great performance. They busted out some old school dance moves, and let’s be honest, they still got it! I was worried for a bit because someone had mentioned they heard tonight’s show was only going to be like a Motown throwback, and do only Motown covers. When they came out on stage (which, by the way, was a LOT later than I thought. The opening act went on at 7, finished by 8, but Boyz II Men didn’t start til after 9, despite Hammond mayor Tom McDermott Jr.’s best effort to pump up the crowd.), they came out their very first single, “Motown Philly,” and I knew the concert was going to be what I initially thought and hoped it would be: all of the Boyz II Men classics. They sang most of their big-name singles, and even some of their lesser known songs, such as “Four Seasons of Loneliness,” and “Doing Just Fine,” one of my personal favorites from that first Boyz II Men CD (and really my first CD ever), Evolution. Then they switched to a little bit of older stuff, all Motown covers. They released an album called Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville, USA, so they did a few songs from the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and even the Beatles. Then they finished up with a few of their classics, ending very fittingly with “End of the Road.”

To say that I was close to tears being at the concert may be pushing it a little, and may or may not even be the truth. However, to be able to watch my childhood musical idols perform live in my hometown really meant a lot to me, and it was honestly the highlight of my summer. That’s saying a lot, considering I spent a week in Los Angeles, saw two midnight movie premiers (Transformers 2 and the new Harry Potter movie) and, even though it doesn’t sound overly exciting, working at the grocery store in the meat department and running summer auditions for PMO. Honestly, seeing Boyz II Men perform for just over an hour literally made my entire summer, and it’s something that I will literally remember forever!