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Boyz II Men try to keep the customer satisfied


Backstage, I told Boyz II Men I saw Twitter photos of them hanging with fans here. So I asked the trio whether their meet-and-greets cost $2,500 per person, like Britney Spears’ meet-and-greets. They didn’t know about Spears.

“Oh, wow, that’s horrible,” Nate Morris said.

Shawn Stockman said they don’t charge anywhere near that. Tickets start at $61 for their shows this Friday-Sunday at The Mirage. Their VIP packages are $163 for a ticket, photo, front row seat and swag.

“We pride ourselves on being one of the more affordable shows in Vegas. We don’t want to alienate anybody from coming to see a show,” Shawn said. “We don’t believe in a ridiculous price point in something. Obviously, the demand allows you to play with numbers, but we want to keep it reasonable. We think long term.

“We want people to come back.”

It seemed funny/impressive to me that here was Boyz II Men, one of the best-selling R&B groups, equating the fan experience with good “customer” service.

“Part of a concert experience isn’t just the show itself, but all of it — the ticket price, the seating and ‘Were the drinks good?’ ” Shawn said. “The customer remembers. So when they come back, they’re happy. They know what to expect. It’s about creating an experience from start to finish with them.”

I have seen the Boyz’s Mirage show. It’s not just highly entertaining, it’s surprisingly highly entertaining because they sing like you can’t believe.

They dance, they change outfits, and they’re very charming while talking to the crowd. They’re kind of perfect.

This is all for the customer, apparently. I asked them why they don’t retire with all their money, and Nate said they couldn’t do that to fans.

“We still love to do what we do. We still love our camaraderie as a group and as friends and brothers for 22 years. And we have a fan base that depends on us to give them music to deal with certain situations in their lives,” Nate said.

“We can’t close it all down and give up on them. We have to give them what they desire.”

I told Nate, “You’re a better man than me because I’d retire so fast with all that money.”

He chuckled.

“I feel you.”

Boyz II Men have more new music to give.

“We are working on a new album. We’re almost done with it,” Nate said.

“It’s obviously Boyz II Men singing at our best, but the direction is a little different. We think our hard-core fans will love it. But we may bring in a host of other people who don’t expect Boyz II Men to sing the way we sing on this record.”

What does that mean?

“No song is identical. It’s not traditionally themed. Every song has its own personality and its own identity, its own era, its own sound, and its own genre,” Nate said. “It’s one of those things you have to hear to understand.”

Boyz II Men love their gig at The Mirage.

“We want to be here until they close the building. We have a career spanning 22 years. We’re hoping we can tack on another 22,” Nate said.

The only downer is Wanya Morris suffers from serious allergies in Las Vegas.

“I have allergies everywhere, but here it’s like, whoa,” Wayna said as softly as he could to protect his voice.

I thanked them. As I left, I asked: Because they’re performing in the theater named after singing-ventriloquist Terry Fator, do they feel compelled to do any singing-ventriloquism/puppeteering onstage.

“No,” Nate said, “that’s the Britney show.”

Doug Elfman’s column appears on Page 3A in the main section on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He also writes for Neon on Fridays. Email him at delfman@reviewjournal.com. He blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.