TLC hit the road again this year to celebrate the success and legacy of their most iconic album to date, 1994’s ‘CrazySexyCool‘. Originally intended for a 25th anniversary celebration, the world had other plans with a global COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the tour and all other plans — including the musical and A&E documentary — to be postponed for almost two years — until now.
Following a lengthy hiatus from the stage, T-Boz and Chilli broke their 18-month absence with a live performance at the Sweetstock Festival in Iowa on August 28, 2021, one of the various festival spot dates the girls are performing at that had been rescheduled from last year.
The energetic concert gave fans a preview of what to expect on the upcoming ‘Celebration of CrazySexyCool‘ tour, including new musical arrangements, additional tracks from the ‘CrazySexyCool’ album NEVER performed before, and six new dancers to occupy the stage with the girls.
The North American national amphitheater tour was a perfect setting for the girls, ensuring a safe outdoor atmosphere for everyone concerned about the COVID-19 situation (most venues require attendees to have been tested as negative prior to attending). During the only indoor show the girls performed at for the RNB Rewind Fest #9 in Los Angeles’ Toyota Arena on September 5, 2021, TLC and their dancers all wore face masks throughout their performance.
Chilli spoke to Forbes about her delight being allowed back on stage after such a long period of downtime. “I was at home for way too long. I was like, “Okay, oh my gosh, I’m ready. ” ‘Cause I love going on the road. It is like my favorite thing. So I love touring, and so I’m in heaven right now. I’m so excited.”
Forbes referred to this tour as a beginning for TLC, and noted that the girls are also working on some new music, something they have said before, as they told Cheddar back in 2019 that they will be recording more music to be used in their upcoming TLC musical which is still being developed and plans to hinge on stories the girls never told for their VH1 biopic, “CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story.“
Chilli is most excited by the new dancers hired for the tour, who now consist of Will Simmons, Daquan Williams, Devin Pornel, Jadyn Hernandez, Kira Leach and Rehima Jordan. “Just the energy is different,” Chilli told Chicago Tribune . “It’s refreshing, but we’re teaching them how to catch the ‘TLC groove,’” she joked. “
“I’m like a machine. I’ve worked them hard,” Chilli admits. “Tionne, she goes a little easier, but not me. I just want it to be amazing … People are paying their money to come see us. We don’t take that for granted.” And that hard work and dedication certainly shows in the final result of the full-length concert.
The ‘CrazySexyCool’ tour starts off with a montage of TLC photos throughout their career on the large screen behind the stylish custom staircase on the stage. Along with the visuals are lots of ‘CrazySexyCool’ flashing logos, as the six dancers burst into an intensive routine whilst another new addition to the tour, superstar DJ Adrian “DJ Dubz” Wiltshire jams on the decks and introduces the tour over the sounds of a remix of the ‘CrazySexyCool’ “Intro-lude“.
The iconic sounds of a trumpet can then be heard, leading us to their first #1 single, “Creep“, being the perfect way to start off the celebration of the album. T-Boz and Chilli emerge from the top of a platform wearing shiny silk pajamas just like they wore in the music video for the hit single. Everyone from the dancers to the guitarist Mykal Curtis and DJ Dubz couldn’t resist getting involved with the dance routine.
The girls take a moment to thank the audience for attending the show before getting into an energetic performance of 1992’s “Hat 2 Da Back“, Chilli’s favorite song. The track then transitions to the Jermaine Dupri-produced “Kick Your Game“, a first time performance of the first verse and chorus. The medley concludes with a brief performance of 2002’s “Girl Talk“.
“This song should have been a single”, T-Boz declares about the next performance, the fan favorite “Case Of The Fake People“, another exclusive for the tour. “And I know you know what that is, because we’ve all got some fake ass people in our lives!”
They swiftly get into a dance break of the viral TikTok dance, the Chosen Breakfast Dougie Challenge with their dancers, showing the crowd how current and versatile they actually can be. The girls take a short break to change their outfits whilst DJ Dubz entertains the crowd with some dance interaction.
The group burst back onto the stage to reintroduce the crowd to 1992, taking them way back to the beginning of their career with performances of “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” and “What About Your Friends?” from their debut album, ‘Ooooooohhh… on the TLC tip’. Fans are hyped to hear Left Eye’s verses intact with the live vocals of T-Boz and Chilli.
We then fast forward to 1999 with solid performances of the club anthem,”Silly Ho”, and the title track of that years comeback album, “FanMail”, the audio love letter dedicated to the fans thanking them for remaining loyal during the group’s five year hiatus between albums. “Just like you, I get lonely, too”.
The girls bring the party forward to their most recent release in 2017, “Way Back”, lifted from their self-titled album funded by their diehard fans via Kickstarter. T-Boz takes a moment to talk to the crowd in a poignant moment as she reflects on topics including the pandemic and the proetsts that followed after the police brutality and murder of George Floyd.
They give a striking performance of “American Gold“, a track she wished could have been a single. “Sumthin’ Wicked This Way Comes” follows straight after, featuring the opening verse by Outkast’s Andre 3000. During the performances are lots of visuals of people of all backgrounds uniting as one. The girls offered their gratitude to the troops, healthcare and frontline workers. Fans have been wanting this song performed for years, and the girls finally delivered.
The thought-provoking “Unpretty” came next, their 4th #1 single from the ‘Fanmail’ album, a song close to T-Boz, who wrote the single from her book of poetry, ‘Thoughts’. Chilli takes center stage with a sultry performance of “Take Our Time“. T-Boz returns to take lead on the seductive “Red Light Special“. The sexy aspect of CrazySexyCool is well and truly lit at this stage of the show. Hot!
“Diggin’ On You” came next, the final single released from the CrazySexyCool album in 1995. The girls take us to one of their greatest love songs, “Baby-Baby-Baby“, before Chilli gives the crowd a lecture on what kind of man they should not be entertaining, as they launch into their mega hit, “No Scrubs“.
DJ Dubz dives into his playlist and TLC and their dancers give us some ATL flava to the soundtrack of “Planet Rock”. The mood is then set for the finale of the show. “This one is my sister’s favourite song, so we’re gonna dedicate this one to Lisa”, T-Boz announces as they perform their timeless single, “Waterfalls“.
As the show comes to a close, the girls thank the crowd for their support and DJ Dubz gives shouts to T-Boz, Chilli, the dancers and the rest of the band — Terrail Moody, Eric Ewill Williams and Mykal Curtis.
The Celebration of CrazySexyCool tour is a must see for the day one fans and for the new generation of fans that have discovered the legacy of TLC through their family or through the ongoing love and respect from their peers, and the many artists inspired by them.
Tickets to the Celebration of CrazySexyCool tour are available at livenation.com and ticketmaster.com
VIP packages are limited and can be purchased HERE
Photo credits: Regan Kelly / Laurie Fanelli