98 Degrees – SugarHouse Casino – Philadelphia, PA – July 27, 2019
The other night, pop group 98 Degrees came to town. One of the hottest boy bands of the late ‘90s and early ‘00s – brothers Nick and Drew Lachey and band mates Jeff Timmons and Justin Jeffre took the stage at Philadelphia’s SugarHouse Casino on Columbus Blvd. and showed some love to their fans in the City of Brotherly Love.
The Event Center at SugarHouse is a fun and intimate place to see a show. You can get up close and personal with the performers and the crowd did just that. Many fans left their seats and danced wildly and sang along by the stage. The crowd was overwhelmingly female, as groups of friends came out to share a night of nostalgia and swoon over the music and guys they had grown up with. Some fans brought along their husbands or boyfriends, who seemed to enjoy the show from their seats.
One thing was for sure, I was probably the only newbie in the crowd. While this was my first 98 Degrees concert, the girls around me shared that they had all seen them nearly a dozen times in the last twenty something years.
Hitting the stage in a haze of orange, the guys opened the night with the pop/salsa sound of their 2000 hit “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)” and led right into their 1997 debut single “Invisible Man.” The set from there was a mixture of original songs including their 1998 hits “Because of You” and “The Hardest Thing,” random covers by everyone from Philly’s own Boys II Men, Sugar Ray, the Jacksons and Justin Timberlake’s “Can’t Stop This Feeling,” an ode to the golden age of boy bands including The Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” and N’Sync’s “Bye, Bye, Bye,” a medley of 90’s music and even some Disney songs including Alessia Cara’s “How Far I’ll Go” from the hit movie Moana.
The night was filled with cool and colorful lighting. The energy was electric and excitement from their fans was contagious. Even after twenty-five years, the guys still sound great, harmonizing beautifully and dancing completely in step while oozing devotion for their fans. Now in their forties, life has changed since the Lachey brothers, Timmons and Jeffre first formed the band in 1996. Now married with families of their own, the guys shared stories of their lives between songs, which added to how relatable they really are.
When it came time to slow the pace, four thrilled fans were brought up on stage to be serenaded by the guys with “My Everything,” before they performed a cover of “In the Still of the Night” and their 1998 their mega hit “I Do (Cherish You).” The band even shared some love with female performers and performed their rendition of “Wannabe” by the Spice Girls and “…Baby One More Time” by Britney Spears (though honestly, those two songs were the only covers the guys didn’t really connect with).
The foursome has toured over the years headlining or co-headlining with other boy bands like Boys II Men, New Kids on The Block, O Town and Backstreet Boys. But that night was all about 98 Degrees and the fans. As the night ended and the lights came up, the woman in front of me got it right as she screamed, “See you next time!”
Copyright ©2019 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: July 31, 2019.
Photos by Deborah Wagner © 2019