On a cold and rainy night in New York City, as my bus from Philadelphia pulls up to 34th Street, nothing but panic rushes through my veins as I run with my umbrella, avoiding having my straightened hair ruined as I gun it for the express A train to head to Resorts World Casino New York City to hear one of the world's legendary R&B groups Boyz II Men perform live for the first time in my life.
Although their first album Cooleyhighharmony dropped before I entered kindergarten, their album Legacy: The Greatest Hits Collection would be the first album my strict African mother would let me purchase. I would listen to those songs through my headphones in the crowded New York City subways and streets and on nights after having fights with my college sweetheart.
I would even sing along to them during hilarious karaoke performances with friends in busy bars. What can I say — it's Boyz II Men!
It was now 9:01 p.m., and by the time I made it to the lobby of the casino, a security guard had seen the confusion on my face as I tried to search for some sort of direction throughout the chaos.
"Boyz II Men?" one security guard yelled at me.
"Yes!" I yelled trying to catch my breathe.
"Fourth floor!" he said pointing at the escalators.
As I ran up the escalators, I could hear harmonizing, timeless music and my childhood crushes! I ran as fast as I could in my heels — which were killing me by now — but finally I had arrived! Dressed all in black, Wanya Morris, Shawn Stockman and Nathan Morris took the crowd back to 1994, belting out "Bended Knee" without missing one note and asking the crowd to sing along to the lyrics while playfully interacting with guests who walked in late along the front of the stage after the show began. The diverse ages and races in the audience proved that these three men were still icons.
Although nowadays Boys II Men are the inspiration for up-and-coming acts, the group did not forget their idols who came before them and dedicated a set to Motown, with slick moves before jumping back into their sexy 1990s hits. I have to say, I was surprised to see grown women run up to the stage like wild teens at a One Direction concert, fighting for hugs and a chance to get to touch the guys as they started singing "Water Runs Dry."
Some less frantic fans swayed in their seats, while some couples took the opportunity to dance with their loved ones as if it were their living room and no one else was in the room but them.
The long-awaited "I'll Make Love to You" rang out from the speakers, and the three men grabbed a bouquet and started throwing single roses out to ladies — including me — lucky enough to catch them. Immediately, more women ran up to the barricaded sections by the stage. Still feeling the celebrity shock of possibly touching one of the stars, fans refused to go back to their seats, giving security a hard time before Shawn calmed the crowd and introduced their newest single, "Losing Sleep," off of their latest album Collide, which he explained to the crowd as a "different type of energy and different type of tempo."
The audience quitely awaited the first note of strings before grooving to the song and giving the artist a loud applause and shouts as a sign of approval. Indeed, they were pleased!
Wanting more, the crowd knew there was one more fan favorite the band had not sung and rushed the barricades for the final time of the night.
"We belong together," Nate sang.
Perhaps listed as one of the saddest songs ever, "End of the Road" had everyone up out of their seats. Goosebumps overcame me. The song I cried to over every breakup — don't judge — the first song I heard off my first album was being sung live before my eyes! For a minute, I felt like I was standing alone just like that dancing couple. Here was my song.
In my euphoric state, I rode the escalators down to the lobby and walked into the rain with no umbrella — just a smile.