Platinum-selling Florida pop group O-Town, whose manufactured rise to irrelevance was documented on ABC’s “Making the Band,” was assembled by the same Orlando-based businessman who brought the world the Backstreet Boys and ‘N Sync. But lacking the easy chemistry of the former and the comparative talent of the latter, this smiling quintet’s highly choreographed show at the Greek on Friday — the first date of a 2-1/2 month U.S. summer sked — came across as little more than paint-by-numbers kiddie entertainment that could appeal only to those too young to know any better.
The best part of the 90-minute show may have been the very beginning, when the young, female-skewing crowd was brought to its feet by the sight of the fivesome standing behind sheer white curtains, while their faceless (but competent) band teased the opening bars of “All for Love,” one of the limp tracks offered from O-Town’s million-selling self-named debut, which was released earlier this year by Clive Davis’ J Records.
But it quickly became clear to anyone paying attention that most of the audible vocals were coming from somewhere other than the lads’ mouths. They looked pretty good, though, as they “sang,” and their weeklong Greek rehearsals paid off with smooth dance moves and a relatively easy rapport with the aud. One of them even played some piano, though when the guitar one of them was playing “skipped” it was obvious that a nearby DAT machine had indeed burped.
The cool, near-jazz shuffle of “We Fit Together” was the most listenable of the dozen songs taken from O-Town’s abomination of an album, while the name-dropping hit dance track “Liquid Dreams” (“throw in a body like Jennifer, and you’ve got the star of my liquid dreams”) was the weakest.
A mid-show medley of cover songs which awkwardly stumbled from Garth Brooks (“Friends in Low Places”) to Outkast (“Ms. Jackson”) to the Beatles (“Come Together”) was a skin-crawling horror. Children’s T-shirts selling for $30, “I Love O-Town” bears marked $20 and $10 picture programs further added to attending parents’ discomfort.