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Concert Review : Troop & Christopher Williams At Bethesda Theater

On the evening of Friday, June 28th, the melodious tunes of Nineties R&B filled the air as Troop and Christopher Williams graced the stage at the Bethesda Theater in Bethesda, MD. The soulful sounds transported the audience to a nostalgic era, creating an enjoyable night out.

Following a delayed start time, crooner Christopher WIlliams was up first. In a classy summer outfit, Williams kicked off his set with "Every Little Thing You Do," with the audience singing along word for word. Williams had the backing of a tight band and a single vocalist. Not missing a beat, Williams took the audience back to 1989 with a surprising performance of "Promises Promises" and then moved into a powerful testimony, which was capped off with a passionate cover of "Never Would've Made It."

Keeping in line with the cover vibe, Williams paid homage to Jodeci before going into his cover of the Teddy P classic "Come Go With Me." Williams closed out his set with his signature song, "I'm Dreamin'. While Williams's set was brief and omitted "All I See," at 57 years young, Williams validated that he still has the vocal pipes.

Pasadena, California group Troop compromised of members Allen McNeil, Jon Jon Harreld, Rodney Benford (who was absent for personal reasons), and Steven Russell was up next and took the stage in their signature shiny suits, kicking off things with pristine choreography and a cover of "Make It Last Forever" before transitioning into their debut single "Mamacita ." From the onset, it was clear that Troop appreciated old school, as an interpolation of "Love TKO" was blended into their ballad "Still In Love."

To my surprise, group member Steve Russel, who found success as a songwriter, took time to do a medley of songs he had written for artists, which included B2K's "Gots To Be," Chris Brown's "Take You Down" and Jordin Sparks's "No Air." It was then back to the Troop catalog, where the group performed their new single "Lady In My Life" as well as energetic versions of "I'm Not Souped" and "That's My Attitude." As the night began to wind down, "Sweet November" and "I Will Always Love You" were performed.

Following an energetic performance of "Spread My Wings," local media personality Guy Lambert surprised the group with a Presidential Lifetime Achievement Award. The group then transformed the venue into a church choir for a performance of "All I Do Is Think Of You." My one minor gripe with the show was the omission of "Whatever It Takes (To Make You Stay)" and "Give It Up" from their vastly underrated concept album, "Deepa."

Troop and Christopher Williams never got their just due from the industry, but their performance at Bethesda Theater validated their place in the magical world of nineties R&B.

Final Grade: B+


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