Featured Image: from @butterflyjms on Twitter
Review By: Janel Spiegel
Musikfest 2022 BOYZ II MEN
August 4, 2022
Wind Creek Steel Stage
711 E. First Street
Boyz II Men – It’s all in that Cooleyhighharmony
Let’s take a moment to talk about music… It’s Musikfest time again, it feels like yesterday. All the music, the food, drinks, friends, family, laughter, love, and fun. That’s Musikfest, I hope everyone gets to experience it at least once. It was hot but people were in good spirits. It’s still summer and summer deserves love too. The weekend is coming, and people want to want to forget the worries, the madness, craziness and so on. Boyz II Men opened Musikfest and they are indeed “connoisseurs of music.” They have quite a musical background, you can read about it on Boyz II Men’s official website. Before I went into the Wind Creek Steel Stage, I headed up to the Media Center. Thank you Musikfest, Steel Stacks, and Arts Quest for setting that up. Thank you to all the staff that is always so helpful.
If you follow Musikfest on social media, you saw the rising of the Wind Creek sign over the Wind Creek Steel Stage, a sure sign that Musikfest is ready to go. But let’s talk about music for a moment, and some of the influences, and artists that Boyz II Men sang, and paid homage to. Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”, Bruno Mars’ “Locked Out Of Heaven”, Lenny Kravitz’s “Are You Gonna Go My Way” and “American Woman.” If you caught it, they even threw in Big Daddy Kane’s “Ain’t No Half-Steppin’”, “Come Together” by The Beatles, “Open Arms” by Journey and Mariah Carey also did a cover of “Open Arms.” That will mean something in a bit.
It’s hard to describe Musikfest in one word. When you arrive you can feel it, you feel the excitement of what’s to come. Mother Nature was staying in the background with some dark clouds, and a possibility of rain but the Music Gods had other plans. I also think Mother Nature fell in love all over again after hearing, “On Bended Knee.”
DJ Jamal Knight and Tshila opened for Boyz II Men. Both AMAZING. The crowd was fun, the people sitting around us were fun. My friend Marian went along, and she had a blast too. Also, thanks to Sue who I met in line at Island Noodles, she will be working at The Spot Drive-In in Nazareth so go check that out. Island Noodles will be at Musikfest until August 14th.
Boyz II Men is made up of the incredibly talented Grammy award winning R&B group/band, Wanya Morris, Nathan Morris, and Shawn Stockman from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Shawn Stockman showed lots of love to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Boyz II Men came out onstage and started with “Motown Philly” and they even sang acapella with all of us. As soon as they walked onto the stage, the crowd was up. I never thought my kid self would hear “Motown Philly”, “End of The Road”, “On Bended Knee” and “One Sweet Day”, well I’ve heard that live but by the incomparable Mariah Carey and the amazing Trey Lorenz.
To hear Shawn Stockman, Nathan Morris, and Wanya Morris sing and they made it rain, they made it rain. Mother Nature said, it’s too much. The song deserves rain, give them the rain. Shawn Stockman thanked God for the “production.” It was amazing timing, and an amazing show. Musikfest never fails to deliver. I remember videos like, “Water Runs Dry” which they also sang, and had the crowd help with the introduction of the song.
“Can we go back to the days our love was strong.” It’s just… sigh, it brings back so many good memories and the spinning umbrellas in the rain. It’s such a good song. Wanya Morris also shared a story about Nathan and Shawn learning to play instruments. (The spinning umbrellas were in the “On Bended Knee” video with them singing their whole hearts and souls out.) Shawn learned to play guitar and Nathan learned to play the bass. Boyz II Men handed out roses to the ladies in the crowd during their performance of, “I’ll Make Love To You.”
You could be anywhere in the world or it could be anytime of day, and you might hear a lyric or a beat that reminds you of a song. Boyz II Men, K-Ci & JoJo, Babyface, The Supremes, Lionel Ritchie, Nelly, Mariah Carey, Wu-Tang Clan, Kendrick Lamar, Aretha Franklin, Buddy Guy, Sarah Vaughan, Kelis, Aaliyah, Whitney Houston, Journey, David Bowie, Queen, Bell Biv DeVoe, TLC, Tevin Campbell, Blackstreet, Groove Theory, Mona Lisa, Jade with “Don’t Walk Away”, CeCe Peniston, Mary J. Blige, Stevie Wonder, James Brown, Michael Jackson, The Jackson 5, Etta James, Maxwell, D’Angelo, Erykah Badu. I could go on and on.
Music is universal. Whether it’s a stadium, a café, a restaurant, a street corner, no matter where you are when you are together with the people you love, and the music starts. You just forget. It was amazing as always to hear an entire audience singing along to songs that many of us grew up listening to or started listening to. During “One Sweet Day”, they asked the ladies to try and do their best with the Mariah notes… We tried; we really did but only Mariah can do them. Boyz II Men opened Musikfest and it was preview night, and what a preview that was. There have been some amazing acts that came through Bethlehem, Pennsylvania but the energy tonight. The energy could have lit all of Bethlehem up.
“Motownphilly’s back again. Doin’ a little East Coast swing. Boyz II Men going off. Not too hard, not too soft. It’s long overdue but now Philly is slammin’”.
Skip ahead to “Back in school we used to dream about this everyday” and now thirty plus years, and they are still “Doin’ a little East Coast swing” for new generations, our generations, and more. That’s music, that’s Musikfest, that’s the heart and soul of what’s it about. The love for people, the love for music, the happiness to see your friends, your family. You hear a song and it takes you back. It may not always be a great memory but there will always be meaning. I hope Boyz II Men visits Bethlehem again soon.
Musikfest continues until August 14, 2022 with incredible guests like Willie Nelson & Family, Poison, Ja Rule & Ashanti, Counting Crows, Ziggy Marley, Disturbed, Olga Tanon, Alabama, and so many more. You can also check out shows all over Bethlehem including Space Kamp.