WINDSOR, Ontario (WWJ) – Fans packed into the Colosseum at Caesars Windsor Friday night to see TLC perform the hit songs that made them famous and earned them award after award, including five Grammys and Billboard magazine’s ranking as “the best selling female group of all time.” With 5,000+ seats, just about every seat in the place was taken! How’s that for a reunion!
Preceded by their six “TLC dancers” and hip hop recording artist Lil’ Mama, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas took to the stage with their hit song “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg.” With the crowd still roaring its approval, the next song they pulled from their repertoire was “What About Your Friends” from their album “Ooooooohhh … On The TLC Tip.” And the hits just kept on coming, including Fan Mail, Baby, Baby, Baby (during which they brought a super-excited male fan onstage to dance and lend his vocals), Diggin’ on You, Red Light Special, Creep, Unpretty, and No Scrubs.
Before breaking into the song “Damaged,” Chilli referred to her breakup with Usher, telling the crowd she wrote it because she “was hurt.”
Before the show ended shortly before 11:00pm, TLC and Lil’ Mama treated the crowd to what they said was Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes’ favorite song, Waterfalls, which they dedicated to Lopes. “Left Eye” may not have been there in person, but her spirit sure was.
Overall, a fun way to spend a Friday night. It was great to see TLC back on stage performing, years after Lopes was killed in a tragic car accident in Honduras. The only issue some fans told me they’d like to see fixed: the bass needs to be turned down; it drowned the ladies out during much of the show.
Nostalgia was in the air as the girl group finally played a Sydney show
3 out of 5 stars – Sydney
Signs that fans were in desperate need of a little TLC were all there last night: having been deprived of a live show for so many years, the sold-out crowd screamed their name and got their booties shaking well before the 90’s superstars turned up.
Remaining members of the R&B trio Tionne ‘T-Boz’ Watkins and Rozonda ‘Chilli’ Thomas stepped out in embellished double denim get-ups, looking, sounding and dancing exactly like they did more than two decades ago. Accompanied by a full band and back-up dancers who might be best described as “the illest”, the hip-pop icons kicked things off with a throwback medley of their debut hit singles ‘Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg’, ‘What About Your Friends’ and ‘Hat 2 Da Back’.
At first TLC’s vocals were drowned out by the onstage pandemonium, but as they eased into slow jams like ‘Baby Baby Baby’ and ‘Diggin’ On You’, T-Boz’s husky bedroom voice and Chilli’s melodic tones finally took centre stage.
The absence of third member Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes was hugely felt, and oddly, T-Boz and Chilli barely paid her tribute. There were no rumoured holograms, touching speeches or archival video montages for the late rhymer – just a select few of her signature rap solos played on a backing track as a ballerina twirled along.
With a curbed playing time of one hour, TLC managed to pack plenty of old-school tunes into the set list and often left the stage for urban dance intervals (but unfortunately not for costume changes). Sultry number ‘Red Light Special’ was performed striptease-style on chairs, proving TLC are still very much crazy, sexy and cool.
There were thankfully no scrubs in the crowd last night, just a whole lot of nostalgic 90’s kids showing love to one of the biggest girl groups of all time. Fan favourites like ‘Creep’, ‘Unpretty’ and ‘No Scrubs’ spurred mass sing-songs, and to no one’s surprise, set closer ‘Waterfalls’ stole the show.
Ladies, you’re forgiven for not visiting us in 24 years (a.k.a. ever).
Still CrazySexyCool 20 Years On
3 out of 5 Stars
Enmore Theatre, June 6
If we were to measure a show’s success by the iPhone-o-meter – that is, the number phones raised up to record the ‘‘big moments’’ – then TLC’s Enmore Theatre gig was a triumph.
The crowd raised their phones at the first hint of No Scrubs’ opening guitar lick, and any stragglers dutifully lifted their recorders for show closer Waterfalls. Creep, Unpretty, Damaged… they all got the smartphone salute.
It was a crowd so adoring that T-Boz and Chilli, the remaining members of the most successful American girl group ever, didn’t really need to do much beyond turn up not naked.
Thankfully, they did more than that. Sporting torn, tight, military-style jumpsuits and trademark locks – Chilli’s hair long and wavy, T-Boz’s aggressively assymetrical – TLC took us on a journey back to a time when people hadn’t yet worked out how to pronounce the word Beyonce: The 90s.
There were choreographed dance routines, all so jagged and sharp you forgave any vocal lapses. There was a narrow screen behind the girls that alternated between screensaver-style graphics and the group’s own music videos. And then there were the songs – smooth little endorphin blasts for anyone who grew up listening to albums like CrazySexyCool and Fanmail (and if sales figures are correct, that was most people), or was within earshot of a radio in the late 90s.
Were you not caught up in the same fuzzy nostalgia bubble that we were in, you might have noticed that, at an hour, the show was very short, and that the duo spent much of that time off stage while a kilted hype man entertained the crowd.
And you might have noticed that frequently, as on Damaged, TLC were overwhelmed by a blaring backing track playing vocals. And that the big reveal – a ballerina coming on stage during the rap portion of Waterfalls, as a tribute to late TLC member Left-Eye – was more awkward than moving. We weren’t thrown by much of that, though. Our fandom is forgiving.
There was a good feeling in the Enmore Friday night, more than you see at most gigs, and it wasn’t just in the crowd. Our biggest takeaway will be that grin on Chilli’s face as she looked out across a room full of fans, and phones, staring adoringly back at her.
TLC play the Enmore Theatre again Monday night