Nylon/ DJ Karl Blue
Friday, June 13, 2014
Would you call this a reunion tour? TLC never really broke up. But the group never recovered after the tragic loss of Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, who died in a fatal crash in 2002 while holidaying in Honduras, Central America. The remaining members, Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins failed to continue the stratospheric success they shared in the ’90s. Left Eye, who burnt down her boyfriend’s Atlanta mansion in 1994 after the pair had a fight, completed TLC. TLC, with Left Eye at the helm was able to achieve what no other girl group had done before or since – a diamond certification from the RIAA [Recording Industry Association of America] for their second album CrazySexyCool.
The following year, however, TLC filed for bankruptcy, citing debts of over $3.5 million, partly due to Lopes’ insurance payments from the arson incident. But the group also claimed they were not receiving appropriate royalties from CrazySexyCool, even though the album shifted over 10 million units, each girl took home a paltry $90,000. Nonetheless, this lack of success post-90s didn’t stop them from touring Australia, ending the tour in Perth last Friday.
Nylon, a Perth girl group were the support for TLC, opening with Iggy Azalea’s Fancy. Let me preface what I’m about to say with this: I’m sure all five girls work hard at what they do and I’m sure they love what they do. But their performance on Friday was lacklustre; the dancing was out of time, limbs limp, missing the sharpness needed. Albeit, the audience was hungry for TLC by the time Nylon had finished.
A hypeman called DJ Kewl or something similar came on stage and dutifully asked ‘If we were ready for TLC?’ Getting us to beg with noise. Predictably, Chilli and T-Boz in orange leather jumpsuits, came out when Kewl dude was satisfied with our cheers. Opening with Ain’t 2 Pretty 2 Beg, the crowd became eager to get to the front. The audience was vicious, sometimes creating a human shield so no-one else could get past. Girls who had been standing for hours took their shoes off. One bare-foot girl threatened to “smash up” the next person who stood on her toes. I moved away half-way through TLC’s set.
Chilli and T-Boz, joined on stage with a band and about six back-up dancers, played Baby, Baby, Baby, Diggin’ On You, Red Light Special, and then exited the stage. These exits, which weren’t costume changes, occurred regularly. Perhaps so the pair could catch their breath in between singing and dancing. Towards the end of their set, DJ Kewl told the audience that he’d heard ‘Perth girls were lame’, which was met with a barrage of boos and hisses. Chilli defended Perth, and thus No Scrubs began. Chilli and T-Boz left again, followed by the dancers. The hypeman asked the crowd, ‘Wait, have we forgotten something?’ The audience chanted back ‘Waterfalls! Waterfalls!’ The familiar twang started, Chilli and T-Boz came back on stage, the audience roared. Weirdly, they didn’t end on this song. Instead they followed Waterfalls with their 2013 release Meant To Be to an audience who already had their bare-feet out the door. Reunion tour or not, the duo was cursed with what many once-successful bands are marred with on tour – an audience hungry for only the hits.