Reviewed onTuesday November 15
On the same day a national tour has been announced for Vanilla Ice, Coolio and Color Me Badd, TLC are performing the first of three Sydney shows – the third of which will also feature Nelly, Blackstreet and 112. It’s enough to remind one of the lesson imparted by True Detective‘s Rust Cohle: time is a flat circle, and everything that was will be again.
Even still, it’s worth noting that there are positive aspects to a night of nostalgia such as this – at their best, they allow for a legacy to be relived and celebrated by both those who went around with an artist the first time, and those who were either too young or not yet alive at their peak. For a show that could easily turn into an awkward imitation – as is the case with any posthumous partial reformation – the surviving members of TLC instead offer a vibrant, joyful experience that fans of all ages and generations can take delight in.
Performing for a slim 70 minutes with no encore, TLC aren’t the type to mess about or dwell on a moment. Their live show is executed with military precision, with every last dance move and drum fill arriving on the dot. It’s an impressive sight to see, allowing for the best of both worlds as far as live R&B is concerned.
An airtight live band fills out the group’s hits with a groove-oriented flair, while a visually spectacular dance troupe recreates the classic ’90s pop aesthetic that has remained true to this very day. Of course, this is just the foundation – it’s the songs themselves, naturally, that elevate this show. Whether it’s the early ’90s swing and swagger of ‘Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg’ or the late ’90s girl power of ‘No Scrubs’ and ‘Unpretty’, there’s still a freshness and vitality to these songs that make them all the more resonant when the audience sings back every word.
Although the dearly departed Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopes has been gone for nearly 15 years now, her presence is also felt deeply whenever one of her verses arrives and a huge cheer swells up from the crowd. As long as there are waterfalls being chased, we still need TLC in our lives. No member berries required – just sing along and feel the love.