An Evening with 98 Degrees: a Review

It’s the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do

To look you in the eye and tell you I don’t love you

It’s the hardest thing I’ll ever have to lie

To show no emotion when you start to cry (please don’t cry)

I can’t let you see what you mean to me

When my hands are tied and my heart’s not free

We’re not meant to be

It’s the hardest thing I’ll ever have to do (oh)

To turn around and walk away pretending I don’t love you

The Hardest Thing, 98 Degrees

I bet you sang that chorus while you were reading it. I was definitely doing so as I was working on this entry. I even have the song playing in the background!

Listening to the morning FM radio (particularly to the Roz and Mocha Show) has always been my thing to get me through the treacherous rush hour drive to work. On one such particular day in November, I found out that one of my favourite 90s boy bands was coming to town for a concert. Feeling very excited, I quickly purchased a pair of tickets without even asking J if he would be interested in watching it with me (thank goodness he’s such a good sport and agreed to join me). Fast forward to January 17th and we were booked for an overnight stay in Niagara to enjoy a wonderful trip down memory lane with 98 Degrees.

The band opened with with Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche) and the crowd – of mostly female fans who were my age or older – went crazy. There they were, a band of four talented singers, serenading me with songs of my childhood. They had songs for different phases of my life. Secretly pining for a crush: Invisible Man. Dreaming of your future wedding with your Prince Charming: I Do (Cherish You). Thinking about a romantic prom song to dance to: My Everything. The band performed all of the songs that I wanted to hear and then some. They also did covers from different artists: Jackson 5, Boyz 2 Men, NSYNC, Backstreet Boys, Sugar Ray, Blink 182, LFO, NKOTB, and Britney Spears. The band performed for a good solid two hours, their sets interspersed with funny and interactive emceeing (and interpretative dancing while singing How Far I’ll Go). I love how they were all very candid about their age, and how they have changed over the years. I could tell that even J enjoyed himself, as the band made themselves very relatable and had no problems picking on each other.

Song after song, I was singing along with them, their lyrics still very much ingrained in my memory. I couldn’t help but smile wryly as I remembered the innocent feelings that I had, I was only 11 years old at the time after all. Looking back, I guess I have always been a big sap. But on that night, as I was getting teary eyed with heady memories, I felt J’s arms wrap around me and I allowed myself to get lost in the emotions. On two occasions I failed to stop the tears from falling: when they were singing Invisible Man and I Do. They sounded so good live, and they were singing a couple of my feels songs. I should not have bothered with putting on makeup. But thank goodness for waterproof eyeliner and mascara. My face was still decent after all the dancing, sweating, and crying of the evening.

All in all, it was an amazing experience. The stage was simple but worked so well with how laidback and intimate the event was. The men still rocked their dance moves and more importantly, they still sound great. The concert was decently priced, and I was able to book a nice hotel within walking distance to the venue, thanks to my Booking.com Genius discounts. So it is definitely a good idea for a quick weekend getaway.

To my fellow millennials who grew up listening to the band, or to those who just want to spend a chill evening listening to great 90s songs, check out their concert. I promise they won’t disappoint. For their tour dates and ticket info, here’s a link to their website: https://www.98degrees.com/. To my friends in Singapore and the Philippines, they will be there just after Valentine’s Day. I am actually jealous about that. I wish I got them for Valentine’s. I guess for now I will have to settle with listening to them on Spotify… on repeat.

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