Monday, June 6, 2016

TRL' lives again as summer concert season sets its sights on millennial nostalgia

Gerrick D. Kennedy

98 Degrees
For pop music fans born in the late ’80s, there isn’t a summer more pivotal than 1999. 
Boy band heartthrobs and pop princesses were all the rage. MTV’s “Total Request Live” was required after-school viewing. Nickelodeon even sponsored the first music festival catered to kids, headlined by boy band 98 Degrees.
Nearly two decades later, those same “kids” are still spending their money on music festivals -- but now with a nostalgic bent.
Nineties hip-hop label Bad Boy has launched a tour. Gwen Stefani and Eve will hit the road. Even boy band 98 Degrees is taking advantage of aughts fever this summer with a new outing.
“It seems like the nostalgia thing is becoming the in vogue way to tour these days,” said 98 Degrees’ Nick Lachey.
Lachey and 98 Degrees will top-line the My2K Tour, launching in July, which pairs them with former teen-dreams who once dominated “TRL,” including Ryan Cabrea, O-Town and Dream.
The 35-date tour stops in L.A. on Aug. 25 at the Microsoft Theater, where tickets range from $35 to $99.50.
“People really enjoy that era of music,” Lachey said of the ’90s and ’00s. “It was a feel-good time in music, and frankly, our country.” 
Lachey said his group had been looking to go on the road since 2013’s Package tour — then their first in 12 years — which paired them with Boyz II Men and New Kids on the Block. 
Bundling newly christened heritage acts together made the most sense, Lachey said, considering past success with the concept. 
“Every summer, you see it. Guys like Def Leppard and Styx and all of these bands go out together,” he said. 
Yet tours based on fond memories rather than current hits are no longer just the providence of boomers or Generation X. A recent report from the Pew Research Center, based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, pegged millennials, defined as those ages 18 to 34 in 2015, as America’s largest generation at 75.4 million. 
Millennials are all grown up, and it’s never too early, apparently, to start looking back.  
“You’re seeing it in hip-hop, with Puffy and the Bad Boy tour,” Lachey said. “New Kids has done it in a smart way [recently] with Nelly and TLC last year and Backstreet Boys before that. So we thought what kind of bill could we put together for the summer to appeal to collective fan bases?
“For fans, its a chance to come back together  and take a walk down memory lane.”