By Jeffrey Kaczmarczyk
Boyz II Men became an international success when their 1992 single, “End of the Road,” reached the No. 1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 and stayed there for 13 weeks, breaking a decades-old record held by Elvis Presley.
Nearly a quarter of a century later, the end of the road isn’t in sight for the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble.
Boyz II Men wowed the Grand Rapids Symphony’s audience at Cannonsburg Ski Area to close the D&W Fresh Market Picnic Pops.
Several hundred women crowding the front of the stage, swooning as the men handed out dozens of red roses while crooning “I’ll Make Love to You,” proved the point on Aug. 4.
With Associate Conductor John Varineau on the podium, the trio of Nathan Morris, Shawn Stockman and Wanya Morris were smooth and mellow on “4 Seasons of Loneliness. “ They showed off their moves on “Water Runs Dry,” and sang a lusty, heroic version of “Your Home is in My Heart.”
Dapper in an all-white outfit for the show, Stockman thanked the audience for enduring the hot August evening.
“If we wore tuxes tonight, probably one of us would pass out,” he said.
Hands were waving to “On Bended Knee,” their 1994 hit that replaced “I’ll Make Love to You” at No. 1 on the Billboard charts.
A florid vocal solo by Wanya Morris on “The Color of Love” had the audience roaring its approval in Boyz II Men’s first appearance in West Michigan since they sang at Rock the Rapid in 2012.
The doo wop groove of “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday” ended in a semi-standing ovation.
“This would be a karaoke night for some of you,” Stockman said with a laugh afterward.
The West Michigan audience really dug their cover of the Motown classic, “Easy,” with Nate at the piano, featuring Grand Rapids Symphony trumpeter Bob White contributing a soaring solo.
Boyz II Men entered singing “One Sweet Day,” which they originally recorded with Mariah Carey. That song spent 16 weeks on top of the Billboard chart, a record that still stands today.
The graduates of the Philadelphia High School for Creative and Performing Arts sang plenty of their biggest hits plus a cover of Journey’s “Open Arms.”
Capitalizing on having the Grand Rapids Symphony on stage, Boyz II Men also sang a few lesser-known tunes such as “Pass You By,” released in 2000.
“We felt like, in this setting, they sound most good,” Stockman told the audience.
A beat later, the trio was laughing at the slip of the lip.
“Are you having the ‘most good’ time so far?” Stockman asked the audience.
Clearly they were.