Boyz no longer, but still winning hearts!

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If, like me, your main exposure to Boyz II Men was waiting for the “End Of The Road” music video to come on after school, back when MTV still showed music videos, you might not know that “End Of The Road” broke Elvis Presley’s record for weeks at #1 (thirteen weeks, to be exact). They then broke their own record twice, and still hold it. These one-time guest stars on “How I Met Your Mother” and occasional “Dancing With The Stars” castmates are absolute powerhouses in worldwide record sales. They top such luminaries as Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye, label mates at the illustrious Motown Records.

These are the stars you get to see at The Mirage Hotel and Casino. What has changed since 1992? Most notably, the silky bass tones of Michael McCary are gone, since he left the group in 2003 due to health reasons. He is missed.

The remaining members, tenors Shawn Stockman and Wanya Morris, and baritone Nathan Morris, still wear the preppy sweaters over baggy pants, in addition to their more classy suits and ties. Nevertheless, the boyz are now definitely men. Babyfaced men, but stocky and manly like it’s been over twenty years or something.

They still have it, though. Boyz II Men both set the standard and carry the torch for a cappella soul, a passion they bring to renditions of hits like “End Of The Road,” “I’ll Make Love To You,” and “On Bended Knee.” The harmonies are still to die for; the choreographies fun and playful; the slow jams as romantic as ever.

At one point in mid-show, the Boyz get out guitars and perform covers of Bruno Mars, Mr. Big, and other cross-genre, intergenerational hits. A Boyz II Men purist might not like this touch, but it’s charming in its own way. The beauty of covers is that you get a new take on a classic song, and discover the influences of artists who, as must be expected of great musicians, love music and consume and interpret it voraciously.

The intimate Mirage theater also lends itself to audience interaction, and the Boyz are all over it. Morris, Morris, and Stockman come out into the audience, sing to and dance with the ladies in attendance. To ladies who rush to the front of the stage during “I’ll Make Love To You,” they may hand a rose. Don’t wait to be invited; just do it. Guys, leave your jealousy issues at home – this is Boyz II Men, okay? You don’t get this kind of attention at the stadium shows multiplatinum super stars usually inhabit.

Throughout, the Boyz are personable, relaxed, chatty, and very funny. This might be predictable, since they’re seasoned pros, veterans of worldwide tours. Having spent a total of 50 weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, behind only Elvis, the Beatles, and Mariah Carey, they have nothing left to prove other than a continuing dedication to making great music. They prove that in abundance.

Verdict: For the nostalgia or for the first time, Boyz II Men at The Mirage Hotel and Casino is well worth the ticket – especially if the Boyz were your high school celebrity crush. Where else can you get handed a rose by your high school celebrity crush?