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article imageReview: 98 Degrees spectacular at NYCB Theatre at Westbury in New York Special

By Markos Papadatos     Nov 26, 2017 in Music
Westbury - On November 26, acclaimed pop group 98 Degrees headlined the NYCB Theatre at Westbury, as part of their "98 Degrees at Christmas" tour.
98 Degrees was dressed to impress, in black suits, as they took the stage. They kicked off their set with "What Christmas Means To Me," the opening track from their brand new Christmas album, Let It Snow. They continued with a smooth rendition of "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)," as purple lights graced the Westbury stage.
It was followed by "Little Drummer Boy," with Drew Lachey singing lead. "I think you guys might know this one," Drew said, and they immediately broke into their smash hit "Because of You," where everybody was clapping along, and they ended the song as a neat sing-along with their audience.
"Give yourselves a round of applause," Drew said, complimenting the crowd. They noted how much they love performing, and they revealed that they just celebrated their 20-year anniversary in the music business, and this marks their inaugural Christmas tour, in support of their second holiday album.
98 Degrees was able to "slow things down" with their remarkable version of Joni Mitchell's "River," with Nick Lachey on lead vocals, which was soulful and captivating. The follow-up "Mary, Did You Know?" had a neat orchestral arrangement to it, coupled with acoustic guitar, minimal drums and keyboards. Nick Lachey sang lead yet again, with breathy vocals from Jeff Timmons, Justin Jeffre and Drew Lachey.
Drew revealed that from their first Christmas album, one of his personal favorite songs on there was "O Holy Night," and they delivered a soaring rendition, where all four vocalists were able to individually showcase their distinct vocal abilities. This powerhouse Christmas tune was clearly a pleasure for the group to perform live.
98 Degrees performing live
98 Degrees performing live
Tony Schock, GS Memorymaker
98 Degrees managed to take their fans on a trip down memory lane to their breakthrough single, "Invisible Man," which was the song that catapulted their career to pop super-stardom, and rightfully so. Towards the end of the song, they took a bow, and the fan reaction was tremendous.
"Thank you very much," Drew said. "Who's feeling festive?" he asked, and the crowd went nuts. He noted that Christmas is his favorite time of the year, and he shared a few moving Christmas memories with him and his older brother (and band-mate) Nick as kids in the Lachey household.
They continued with the fun new upbeat tune "Little Saint Nick," prior to slowing down the pace with the ballad "Please Come Home For Christmas," as blue and pink lights dimmed from the stage. Speaking of "Saint Nick," the band members took on the role of Santa Claus and threw holiday presents into the crowd, which was well-received by all.
98 Degrees showed their rocking side on the sassy "Run Rudolph Run," which Nick performed standing on a white bench, and the audience clapped along.
Act II
After a 15 minute intermission, the Grammy-nominated group returned to the stage, with an outfit change. They opened the second half of their show with their infectious single "Season of Love," which is destined to become a future Christmas classic for the group.
They continued with the nostalgic "Christmas Wish," which they performed sitting in stools. During this song, they invited four lucky female fans on stage with them, and each of the four group members took their time to serenade each girl to "Christmas Wish." At that moment, every female fan in the audience wished they were in either of those four chairs.
98 Degrees immediately broke into their spitfire, sultry hit "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)," which was a neat dance number, with co-lead vocals from Jeff and Nick, and strong harmonies from Justin and Drew.
It was followed by "Feliz Navidid," and Nick Lachey inquiring is the crowd was "doing all right." His answer was a resounding "yes." He also asked if there were any "a cappella fans," where they segued into their a cappella rendition of "I'll Be Home for Christmas," which they revealed was the song that aided them in getting signed to Motown Records in 1996.
Nick acknowledged that singing a cappella was their musical "lifeline," so hosting the a cappella singing competition The Sing-Off was extra special for him.
After picking up the pace with their new album's title cut "Let It Snow," they sang their love ballad "I Do (Cherish You)," where they expressed their gratitude for their fans. "We do cherish you all. You've made our dreams come true," Justin said, graciously.
Justin sang lead on "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch," with Nick, Drew and Jeff acting the song out, in a humorous fashion. "Give a round of applause to our resident Grinch here, Justin Jeffre," said Jeff Timmons, jokingly.
Jeff subsequently serenaded Justin to "Do You Want to Build a Snowman" from Frozen, which was absolutely hilarious. Then, Drew showed off his dancing chops from Dancing with the Stars, when he delivered a delicate rendition of "Let It Go" from Frozen, with Nick joining in towards the end, for an epic finale. With Jeff, Nick and Drew, all being fathers, it is safe to say that all of their children would have loved this Disney-themed performance.
Speaking of Disney tunes, hearing them perform "True to Your Heart" from the Mulan soundtrack was an added bonus, and the same holds true for their flawless take on Elton John's "Circle of Life," where orange and yellow lights shined from the stage, as Drew and Nick sang lead, with Jeff and Justin lending their velvet harmonies.
They closed their set with their perennial Christmas classic, "This Gift," and they returned for an encore that included "The Hardest Thing" and "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," the latter of which was divine.
"The most memorable part of their show is how much fun they have together, and with the fans," Cindy said, a dedicated fan. "They smile the entire time, and they are nice, genuine individuals. Their voices are authentic and they have raw talent."
"It's a happy, uplifting concert and you can tell that 98 Degrees is having fun," Alison said, a hardcore fan. "The show in its entirety was awesome," added Crystal, yet another loyal fan of the group. "The group is incredible, and so is their band of musicians, their guitar player and drummer. Their version of 'River' was unbelievable."
The Verdict
Overall, 98 Degrees commanded the stage the entire time they performed in the round at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury, as part of their Christmas tour. It was a high-octane show, that was entertaining and appropriate for the entire family. It allowed Nick, Jeff, Drew and Justin to display their warm and witty personalities. Their stage presence and superb vocal harmonies were reminiscent of the Australian pop group, Human Nature, and that ought to be taken as a major compliment. 98 Degrees were born to entertain. They just celebrate their 20-year anniversary in the music industry, and here's to 20 more. This group has been on fire, and they are showing no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Their "98 Degrees at Christmas" show is highly recommended for all. Their holiday concert at Westbury earned an A+ rating.
Their Let It Snow album is available on iTunes.
More about 98 degrees, NYCB Theatre at Westbury, Pop, Group, Long island
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