When Shabba broke into his slack dancehall rhymes – “Ting-a-Ling” and ”Wicked Inna Bed” among them – he and his audience never quite connected.
TLC didn’t have that problem. The female hip-hop trio, which includes Philadelphian Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, put on the best segment of the evening. Though the material left something to be desired, the group’s exuberance was electrifying.
TLC’s rhymes are aggressively pro-female, a stance for which the three personalities are appropriate. Lead vocalist T-Boz has a deep, powerful voice that is surprisingly substantial, and Left Eye raps with a brassy, assertive edge. Many of their familiar tunes were performed as remixes, with Bomb Squad-style keyboards providing white noise that created a sense of urgency.
Mary J. Blige, who infuses even her R&B dance tunes with a smart jazz sensibility, never seemed to get on track during a short set that opened the evening.
Chicago Sun Times:
Contrast Ranks’ overt sexuality with TLC’s elfin charm. It’s easy to understand why the three young women are rap’s latest darlings. It’s not often that a group so impossibly cute also has something to say without being a bore. Though Left-Eye’s rat-a-tat-tat rapping in “What About Your Friends” and “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” got the kids cheering, it was T-Boz’s low-low vocalizing that made the men howl.
Safe-sex rap sirens TLC somehow were able to include hits such as “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” and “What About Your Friends” in an obviously abbreviated 30-minute set.
Atlanta rappers TLC were clever but monotonous (and wasn’t it just a little weird to see the TLC rapper named Left Eye wearing a condom on her left eye to publicize safe sex?).
The Buffalo News:
Featured with him were some of the hotest names on the urban radio airwaves — Mary J. Blige, TLC and Shabba Ranks. TLC gave an inspired performance as they launched into “I Got So Much Love To Give,” “Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” and the intelligent “Friends,” all current hits.
With their baggy sweat shirts and jeans, bleach white ponchoes and head-scarfs decorated with florescent graffiti, these three young ladies from Atlanta demonstrated why their look and catchy rhythms have captured the hearts and minds of so many teen-agers. These are aggressive, self-assured young people whose lyrics speak frankly about sexuality and peer relationships. Their dance routine was also sharp as they easily folded in all the elements of hip-hop culture into each song.
Worst of all was the fact that much of what went wrong Wednesday night could easily have been fixed. For instance, having Blige open the show was a mistake; not only were many of the fans still on their way in after her 7:30 starting time, but she clearly carried more weight with the ticket buyers than the third-billed TLC.
Then there was the PA problem. As anyone who has ever attended one of these affairs knows, the lower an act is on the bill, the worse its sound is going to be. Last night was no exception. Although the sound for Bobby Brown’s set was perfectly clear, it tended to mud during Shabba Ranks’ performance, and left parts of TLC’s segment (particularly those that found T-Boz on the mic) all but inaudible.
Not that a better mix would have helped TLC all that much. Even though the trio’s stage show was determinedly upbeat and energetic, its relentless choreography and show-bizzy enthusiasm overwhelmed the music, diminishing the impact of otherwise enjoyable material like “Baby Baby Baby” and “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg.”
Still, TLC’s overactive approach to the concert stage was nothing compared to Bobby Brown’s everything-and-the-kitchen-sink strategy.
TLC, the trio from Atlanta, Georgia went through a short, but lively set where they kicked many of their hits. Their set reeked of innocence and honesty as they performed “What About Your Friends” and “Baby Baby Baby,” but it was “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” that won them their audience back. The audience was really excited when they first performed, but were lukewarm towards them after that. Inviting hip-hoppers Naughty By Nature onstage proved to be a mistake because when they did an abbreviated rhyme, the audience screamed uncontrollably for them – more than they ever did for TLC. TLC performed well but were up against technical problems over which they had no control. The sound system messed up on numerous occasions during their short set. TLC’s songs had a heavy rock feel to them that the audience turned a deaf ear to and dissed the songs and the group. If TLC has stuck to their usually funky, politically correct rhymes, they would have fared better with rap aficionados in the Big Apple.