Sunday, April 7, 2019 in Baltimore felt more like 4-7-04 when the much talked about Millennium Tour (produced by G-Squared Events) finally hit the Baltimore area at the new UMBC Event Center. The ladies have been talking about this since the original announcement dropped that their “14 year old self” heart throbs, B2K, finally put all of their issues aside and decided to mount a reunion tour.
We arrived to the venue a little bit early because I had a feeling that with all of the fanfare surrounding this show, that there would be a little bit of a wait. When we pulled up, I totally wasn’t expecting to see what existed in front of me…the LINE of all lines! The fans were not playing with this one folks, starting from the front entrance doors; the line wrapped around the corner and then went about a half mile down the street.
For any naysayers who may have doubted this tour, the demand was definitely there. For some, this was their first time seeing the group in concert since the Scream Tour 2, and for many others, this was their first time ever. Dedicated B2K fans, or just fans of the early 2000’s period, showed up in some of their best throwback gear. With the sights of jersey dresses aplenty, spray painted graffiti t-shirts, Air Force 1’s and a whole lot of bandannas, the vibe for the show as already being set. The ONLY thing I didn’t see, which I was looking for too, were the Baby Phat velour sweat suits…EVERY female, regardless of age or race, had one between 2001-2005! After the doors opened around 7:45 PM, anybody who made it through the door went for a mad dash to their seats.
Gary ‘G Thang’ Johnson was on tap as the host with the most and greeted fans to their seats before introducing the first act of the night, Chingy, to the stage. Being that it’s probably been about 10 years since anyone has seen “Ching-A-Ling” on stage, it’s safe to say that they WERE READY! Kicking off his set with his 2004 single “I Like That“, Chingy made good use of his 15 minute time slot by rolling right through his songs with no breaks in-between, filling it with nothing but hits. “Holidae In“, “Balla Baby“, “Pullin’ Me Back“, and “One Call Away” served as the opportune moments for a total crowd sing-a-long.
His very last song was the one that got the ladies up out of their seats. Dating back to the time when it was first released, “Right Thurr” created an entire vibe with the beat alone. Looking around the arena, almost every empty aisle was filled with the women of Bmore rocking the now famous “chicken head” dance.
Although the name of the tour was appropriately titled “The Millennium Tour” for obvious reasons, Bobby V was the one artist who actually has career roots that go back to the 90’s (even paying homage to the decade by wearing a dope jacket inspired by the “Martin” television show). Beginning with “Tell Me” was an extremely smart move, because for one, this song is my fave song of his, but it also set the tone for how the rest of his show would be, full of seductive tinged, love tracks.
Unlike all of the other guys who are a part of this show, Bobby has never been one for all of the jumping around, and full out 8-count choreographed moves, so he flexes his talents in other areas. One of those talents is the ability to play the keys, so we know and understand that he’s a real musician. Consuming his body of work in one setting like this, almost had me forget how many songs he either released or were featured on. The Lil’ Wayne “Mrs. Officer” was a huge hit which featured Bobby’s vocals on the hook, as well as Ludacris’ “Pimpin’ All Over The World“, but it was “Slow Down” where we all initially met Mr. Valentino.
Continuing on with the major energy that was the Atlanta show, where nearly every artist brought out a special guest, Bobby opted to bring out a man who influenced him best, and one who voiced so many classic songs from the 90’s that we still bump today. K-Ci Hailey from Jodeci joined Bobby on stage for a rendition of “Come And Talk To Me“, and the entire arena exploded. If you’re looking for a “mic drop” worthy way to close out your set, THAT would be the way to do it!
Everyone’s favorite lil “curly headed black boy” was up next to serve up a heaping dish of R&B goodness. As one of the few acts on this bill who hadn’t disappeared from the music industry or public eye all together, Lloyd really had nothing to prove…but that doesn’t mean that he still didn’t leave it all on the stage. Really getting into gear with his single “You“, now as a full grown man, he invoked the same energy from his teenage years by way of gliding and dancing his way into the hearts of the women who were screaming his name. For a slight minute, he even took ME out of “work” mode and planted me back in the middle of a dance floor when the beat kicked in for “Get It Shawty“.
Even though this was a throwback show of sorts, it was refreshing to witness Lloyd pushing his new music, when performing the tracks “Tru” and his latest cut “Caramel“. Having a relatively close relationship with the late Nipsey Hussle, he motioned for the show to temporarily take a pause for a moment of silence for his friend. Once the music resumed, he brought out UCB to perform their go-go hit “Sexy Lady“. The energy that Lloyd brought is exactly what was needed to take this show over the hump and turn things up.
Speaking of “turnt up”, The Ying Yang Twins exudes every meaning of that term…they were “turnt” back in the early 2000’s, before that was even a coined phrase. Not ONE body was seated during the 30 minutes that they bopped, A-Town stomped, and “poole palaced” around the venue…yes, we said venue and not stage, because they even jumped down in the audience.
As a consummate lover of concerts, I can honestly say that some hip-hop performances, especially ones included on a primarily R&B based platform, can feel out of place and just overall dry. THIS sentiment could not be applied to the Twins’ show, like at all. From their sheer stage presence, to their own personal energy interacting with each other, to the musicality of their set, it was just a total package for me. Their music didn’t require a band, so they only had a DJ, but the way that he was able to blend each of those songs, and infuse them seamlessly into one another, matched the same vibe of a live band. Everybody in attendance, myself included, got their entire life to “Get Low“, “Whisper Song“, “Salt Shaker“, “Whistle While You Twerk” and all the other joints that got every college party and club jumping circa 2004.
Now, the group that I was MOST surprised by, were the fellas of Pretty Ricky. Sure, I remember their songs getting heavy rotation on the radio during the Summer of ’05, but had I really thought about them being a good performance act, to be honest, no….that was until their appearance on stage. All four members of the group ran out onstage to go full throttle into their breakout hit “Grind On Me“. Watching them go through their set was like seeing a new artist perform for one of their first times, and that’s not a diss by any means. Back in the day when artist development was an actual thing, there was a level of sheer hunger that new artists displayed when they performed, where they would just go full hard and leave it all on the stage. THAT’S what I saw from Pleasure P, Baby Blue Whoaaa, Spectacular, and Slick’em.
They also were the “bridge” that helped reconnect the “inner teenage essence” of the women in the crowd back with their full adult selves that were physically present, via their hyper sexual show. Choreographed lap dances, simulated bedroom sex scenes, ripping off shirts and a whole lot of air grinding left quite a few folks hot and bothered. Special shout out to their 4 female dancers, who complimented the segment. Playing on the sexual tone they opted to invite Ginuwine on stage, who dove into his hit “Pony”, with P.R. dancing in the background.
After a brief intermission, Bmore’s own Mario came out to put on for his hometown when he ripped into a live rendition of “Just A Friend 2002”, where the city played the backdrop for his music video. Interesting fact to note since we’re talking about Baltimore, his musical director Jeff Mitchell is also from the area. Special shout out to the band, because they were killing it all night.
Mario was in perfect pitch, effortlessly taking us down memory lane, whilst blowing through “Music For Love“, “Braid My Hair“, “Crying Out For Me“, “Break Up” and “Let Me Love You“. Before leaving the stage, a new song entitled “Care For You” was debuted and received well. If anyone has been following this tour, they know that usually a female from the audience is brought up on stage for a more up close and personal performance of “Never“, but for some reason that was scratched from this tour stop. The ladies from the 4-1-0 would have been perfect for this moment though.
Things ran a little late into the night, as it was 12:08 AM when B2K hit the stage, but obviously nobody cared. After a video montage highlighting all the major happenings of the turn of the new millennium, Raz B, Omarion, Boog and Fizz jumped from out of the stage and slid straight into “Girlfriend“. Looking to be in top performing condition, had I not known their most recent history, you could NOT have told me that it’s been more than 15 plus years since they performed together. All of the magic that sent adolescent girls into a pandemonium in 2005 still seemed to be present.
Their sense of brotherhood has been the driving force for giving the fans what they have been yearning for, and their discography still has cuts that’s been making people see multiple tour dates. “Uh Huh“, “What A Girl Wants“, “Gots Ta Be” & “Why I Love You” all sounded great with the live instrumentation from the band, giving it refreshes and upgrades that were welcome.
I must let it be known that Raz B went ALL the way in, from show top to show bottom. Granted I was standing in one spot the entire time, I was tired just watching him hit every dance mark, low key channeling the King of Pop. Not taking anything away from anyone else, but if any other “legacy” group intends on mounting a reunion tour, I’m going to need them to match HIS energy.
Every single member of the band is a full grown man now, so what better way to display this by indulging in individual sets. Boog “did it for Lil Saint” and replicated his famous dance scene from the movie “You Got Served“, Omarion flexed by adding “Touch“, “Ice Box” and “Posed To Be“, and then Raz and Fizz respectively handled their biz before closing with “Bump Bump Bump“.
To close out, let me just say that I’m an 80’s baby, raised in the 90’s, so by the time the 2000’s rolled around I was fully living my life. While I partied to pretty much all of the hits of the era, I don’t quite remember them being that “consistent”. Thank you The Millennium Tour for being that friendly reminder to see how much many of those tracks really knocked. Although I still think that 90’s music will forever be the G.O.A.T, you made me remember that the music released around the turn of the new millennium was really just an evolved extension of the music that I loved so much.