TLC is not only the biggest-selling female group in the United States, but their tour stats go unmatched, too. 2000’s ‘Fanmail Tour‘ remains as the highest-grossing tour by a girl group in history, ever.
Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins and Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas are ensuring they remain as one of the world’s greatest live acts. Ever since returning to the concert circuit in 2013 after a lengthy hiatus, they have been touring consistently, doing a mixture of spot dates and major tours, both nationally and overseas.
Their current major tour, sponsored by Live Nation, is their fourth tour in five years, and see’s them on the road with rappers Flo Rida and co-headliner, Nelly. The tour kicked off on July 23 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Their home town Atlanta was the second spot on the summer amphitheater tour on July 24.
TLC’s return to Atlanta was long overdue. The girls last performed in the city at the tail-end of 2017, to celebrate the New Year at the city’s annual Peach Drop celebration at Woodruff Park .
T-Boz and Chilli had promised fans that this tour would be something fresh and exciting to experience, and they kept their word. Everything has been updated and refreshed, from the choreography and stage production, to updated mixes of their hits and additions to the set list with some fan favorites. Proving that they are listening to the feedback from the fans.
Flo Rida opened the night in true Flo Rida style, cranking through his 50-minute set, performing his ever popular hits, “Whistle”, “Right Round”, “Club Can’t Handle Me”, “Wild One“, new track, “Snack“, and his debut hit, “Low“.
Nelly, who alternates the closing spot with TLC on different nights, took the second spot at the Atlanta gig at Cellairis Amphitheater at Lakewood. Nelly blazed through his energetic 75-minute with his classics, “E.I”, “Country Grammar”, “Ride Wit Me”, “Hot In Herre”, “Just A Dream” and “Dilemma“.
Nelly has a few surprise guests during his set, in the form of some of Atlanta’s greatest rappers of his era. Jermaine Dupri joined Nelly to perform his 2005 smash, “Grillz“. Big Boi also came out to perform “Kryptonite” with him. T.I. even made an appearance, performing his own smashes, “Whatever You Like” and “What You Know“. Nelly’s cousin, J-Kwon, performed his infectious single, “Tipsy“.
TLC, the night’s main attraction, graced the stage at 9:45PM, delivering a solid 75-minute set of nostalgia and some recent bops from their latest release. T-Boz and Chilli, along with Left Eye‘s presence in her original vocal playbacks, kept the majority of the audience on their feet.
The show opened with the classic, “What About Your Friends?“, which featured a new, energetic dance break in the middle. “Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg” followed shortly after, before taking things down a notch with the smooth, “Diggin’ On You“.
Things got straight back up with the club anthem, “Silly Ho“, and the “Baby-Baby-Baby” remix. After a moment of thanking fans for their loyalty and support, they launch into “FanMail” and “Joy Ride“, both tracks solely dedicated to the fans.
For the first time in their live shows they sing the hook from “Crooked Smile“, their 2013 collaboration with J. Cole. They have only ever performed the song once before at the iHeart Music Awards that same year. T-Boz gave a few words about her struggles as a young girl before launching into “Unpretty”.
The ladies take a short break, allowing their four talented dancers to do their thing and show the best of their talents.
The medley came next, consisting of a mix of classics and rarely performed tracks that the fans adore, giving each album some appreciation. Starting with “Hat 2 Da Back“, followed by the amazing “Kick Your Game” and “Come Get Some“, concluding with the superb hook to “Girl Talk” from the 3D album.
The girls kept the momentum flowing with performances of the seductive “Red Light Special“, the uplifting “It’s Sunny“, the summery vibes of “Way Back“, and then T-Boz and Chilli talk about a deadbeat guy who is hanging on the passengers side of a car next to them at the traffic lights, before launching into the worldwide anthem, “No Scrubs“.
As they get halfway through their mega smash, “Waterfalls“, the ladies stop and ask the audience to honor their sister, Left Eye, and put the lights on their phone’s up in the air (dubbed as ‘Lights For Left Eye’), as they played her rap in full and danced the classic choreography while her video played out to the crowd.
A great start to a phenomenal joint tour with 3 top acts, sharing 12 #1 singles amongst them. Stay tuned for more surprises that may pop-up along the way! The tour concludes on August 31 in Irvine, CA.
Chilli took a moment to talk to Melissa Ruggieri for AJC just days ahead of TLC’s second date in Atlanta, on their fourth national tour in 5 years, this time with the boys — Nelly and Flo Rida!
T-Boz and Chilli perform a fresh mix of their hits on July 24 at the Cellairis Amphitheatre in Atlanta. Find out what to expect on the latest tour, as well as celebrating album anniversaries, celibacy and more!
Q: You did the “I Love the ‘90s: The Party Continues” tour a couple of summers ago and now you’re heading out with Nelly and Flo Rida. Do you like these group tours and getting to hang out with other artists?
A: Because I’m an artist, I love it. When (TLC) first got started, we always did fun things together – with Boyz II Men, Destiny’s Child, Christina Aguilera. It makes for a fun tour. People get to see everybody that they love and it makes it more exciting. We’ve done a few tours with Nelly before, he was on (2015’s) “The Main Event” tour with us, and we did some shows together in Australia. But this is our first time working with Flo. He is the sweetest guy. He is so polite, always on time, his people respond so fast to email. He’s so professional, which is the way it should be, but it’s usually not that way. He’s very humble. I love people like that.
Q: Since the tour is just starting, do you know if there will be any interaction among the three acts during the show?
A: We thought about that and had some cool ideas before the tour started, but we couldn’t get anybody on board. We are creative and think outside of the box and everybody doesn’t always think like that, and that’s OK. We really did want to do something very different. It would have started a new trend. Maybe we’ll wind up doing it on another tour with someone else. But it’s all good. All of us are very blessed to have these great songs that people love and it means different things to them.
Q: Where does TLC land in the performance lineup?
A: We’re co-headlining with Nelly, so we’ll take turns with closing. I really love the second spot (in a show) because everybody is in their seats and they’re energized. As it gets later and later you get tired and it’s hot. You’re still enjoying the concert, but it’s a lot different than an hour earlier.
Q: Atlanta is only the second date of the tour, so it will hardly feel as if you’ve left home.
A: It’s always nice to have your folks there. It makes me sing and dance a little harder.
Q: This is the 25th anniversary year of “CrazySexyCool” and 20th anniversary of “Fan Mail.” When you think back on those records, what comes to mind?
A: It is a blessing. There are a lot of amazing songs that are great for the moment, but they don’t have the lyrics to endure. When you make these songs when you’re recording them, you don’t know they have these legs – only time tells you that. We’re blessed to have a few songs like that…When I see the little girls out there who are, like, 8, and I tell you “No Scrubs” is coming, they are jumping up and down. I wish I could hold all of them and bring them on stage! I never get used it.
Q: It’s so cool to see everyone from Weezer (“No Scrubs”) to Bette Midler (“Waterfalls”) covering your work.
A: And Taylor (Swift) with “Unpretty” and even the coaches on “The Voice,” when they did “Waterfalls” (in 2017). It is such an honor to see that, especially when your peers respect you. It makes us feel good about the body of work.
A: (Laughs) I spilled the beans too soon on that! I thought I could talk about it, but I really can’t yet. It’s definitely something we’re currently working on, and it’s a process. But we’re very happy that we’re putting together a team and will be able to check that off the bucket list…The only people who know our story is us. I can sit down and share things with my friends, but it’s still not Tionne telling them, too. Only we can tell our story 100 percent.
A: It was actually a very pleasant experience. I would not have signed on to do something like that if it was going to be ratchet. We all love some ratchet TV sometimes, but I don’t want to be a part of anything like that! I spoke to Kim prior to agreeing to do it and I’ve always been in that family with Viacom, so it was nice to reconnect. There were some challenging moments, of course – it’s TV. But I think that the show is definitely something refreshing. You’re still getting reality TV, but it’s positive. We’re not cussing each other out, none of that stuff is going on. I would have jumped off that boat otherwise! I’d be like, I’m done. But it’s just positivity between women; you’ll see that exists, because what you usually see on TV is the complete opposite. We shot it in February. It was a gorgeous yacht. We had a whole team of people helping on the ship. It’s crazy! I was trying to help them!
Q: When did you make the life changes to be celibate and become so spiritual?
A: Honestly, I have gone back and forth through the years. When you know what’s right with the truth and you go against that…maturity can come at any age, and when you really get it, you say this important to me and my faith to God. It’s not easy. I’m a human being. But I put forth every effort to try to do the right thing. I feel really good when I do the right thing. It’s a great feeling. It gives you a different kind of strength that you didn’t know you had. We’re so used to getting into whatever that weakness is and then you give that temptation so much more power. I love sharing the knowledge, especially when it’s something healthy for you. I ultimately want everybody to become their best self. I’m not one of those Christians who’s like, you better read the Bible. It’s a different approach because people are in different places in their lives. The last thing I want to do is push someone away from the truth.
Our thoughts are completely with Chilli right now! The TLC superstar has been forced to cancel a string of TLC performances in California this week, due to her losing her voice!
Regarding the Sacramento engagement, TLC’s concert management team released the following statement: “Unfortunately due to Chilli losing her voice, TLC must cancel their appearance tonight at the California State Fair. They were very much looking forward to performing at the State Fair this year and hope to see everyone soon.”
On her Twitter feed today (July 14), Chilli stated that she has had to follow doctor’s orders to rest, which results in the unfortunate cancellation of some of their upcoming shows, including the California State Fair, Sacramento (July 14) and the Stanislaus County Fair, Turlock (July 16).
It breaks my heart to tell our fans that we have to cancel our performance tonight at Sacramento because I lost my voice and my dr has me on strict voice rest. We want the fans at Sacramento to know we love them and thank them for their support.
“It breaks my heart to tell our fans that we have to cancel our performance tonight at Sacramento because I lost my voice and my dr has me on strict voice rest”, Chilli said in her statement. “We want the fans at Sacramento to know we love them and thank them for their support.”
Yes it breaks my heart too… And #Sacramento We’ll Come There Again 💋 I’m sure at some point… We love you all and thank u for all your support…but we need her to heal 🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽🙏🏽 pic.twitter.com/AQEjDAe9ce
Stanislaus County Fair also released a statement, announcing En Vogue as the replacement for TLC.
“We are very disappointed TLC cancelled, especially because the community was extremely excited for the show. We know this is always a possibility in our line of business,” said Adrenna Alkhas, spokesperson for the Stanislaus County Fair. “We are still very excited to have En Vogue replacing them. We wish Chilli from TLC a fast recovery from losing her voice.”
We all wish Chilli a very speedy recovery. With lot’s of rest and TLC, she’ll be back on top form in no time!
TLC kick off their Amphitheater tour with Nelly & Flo Rida on July 23, starting in Tuscaloosa, AL.
STILL on voice rest😫 getting better but not at a 100% just yet. Sadly we will miss seeing the fans in Turlock. Thank u so much for ur prayers n well wishes. I'll be back on stage soon. 💪🏾
TLC said ‘Good Morning America‘ in style, as they gave the morning television show the ultimate dose of girl power, performing a fresh medley of their greatest hits!
T-Boz and Chilli took to the stage and performed a remix of their best-selling hits “No Scrubs” and “Waterfalls“, before their tour partners Nelly and Flo Rida followed shortly to perform a medley of their greatest hits.
The trio of musicians rejoined the stage together at the end to get “Low” to Flo Rida’s debut hit!
The superstars also took some time out for a Facebook Live interview for GMA in the shows green room.
“We talk about relatable issues that everybody can relate to, no matter what age you are”, T-Boz says about why their legacy stood the test of time.
T-Boz also offers some advice for up and coming musicians in the industry. “Be true to yourself. Respect yourself, and don’t compromise your integrity, morals or character for nothing or nobody”.
“That sounds like life, for me!”, Nelly exclaims. “It works”. Chilli adds, “And that’s a hard thing not to do. Don’t get lost in it”.
Nelly touched on what made him a fan of TLC. “TLC is ground breaking, not just for women, but for music in general. They were one of the first groups to take full control of who they are., and not be afraid to be aggressive and say, ‘no, this is how it’s going to be'”.
Their ‘HitMakers’ tour kicks off across North America this summer on July 23 in Tuscaloosa, AL and concludes on August 31 in Irvine, CA. Tickets are still available at LiveNation.com so don’t miss out, it’s going to be special!