The My2K Tour pumped the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater with a heap of nostalgia in hopes of transporting fans about 15 years into the not-too-distant past Thursday night.
As hot and humid as ever in the venue, doors opened around 7 p.m. to a modest-enough crowd that the Amp closed off its entire upper section.
But about halfway through the show, the lower pit filled just about to its capacity, and fans of all four acts stood ready to rock and swoon their night away.
An impressively coiffed Ryan Cabrera opened the evening, using an unusual clear guitar as he strummed through his catalog of hits like "On the Way Down," welcoming everyone to the "My2K Hot as Hell Tour."
He'd close with a medley of familiar pop hits, leading fans in a "Seven Nation Army" chant as he finished his set.
Then came Dream, an American pop girl group who earned popularity in 2000 with the hit "He Loves U Not." They worked through a lengthy set until closing with their widely familiar track that got the fans on their feet in a hurry.
They polled the crowd to learn just who all felt excited about the night's headliner, 98 Degrees, saying "They might even take their shirts off." The ladies in the house sounded OK with that prospect.
In between sets, the video monitors projected a My2K music video playlist, playing hits from the early 2000s like Destiny's Child's "Bootylicious" and The Offspring's "Pretty Fly for a White Guy," all of which earned a singalong from fans.
O-Town next hit the stage, dropping one hit after another, including "Liquid Dreams" and "All or Nothing." One member revealed three band mates in the group were, in fact, single. That drew a holler or two.
That led to 98 Degrees, whose name seemed more than appropriate for this particularly humid evening. An impressive stage setup and actively colorful light presentation gave the smallish crowd a big show feeling, surely reminiscent of the group's peak performances in the early 2000s.
Some women in the front rows of the crowd got so excited, security prompted them to scurry back to their seats as they filmed with their cell phones as close as they possibly could.
I heard several people ask throughout the night about the sparser crowd than usual, "Why book a college-friendly nostalgia act in the middle of the summer when its target audience is mostly out of town?" In short, the venue has to book its acts when it can get them, and the artists' schedules don't cater to when the Amp can have them.
So when it comes to booking shows that might sell well when college kids are in town, the stars don't align every time. But those who came clearly got the night they'd hoped for out of the My2K Tour, with each act catering to the loyal crowds who have hung on to nearly every lyric of those songs from little more than a dozen years ago.