After all is said and done, Wednesday's Budweiser Superfest show will probably be best remembered for ballads.
All the pelvis-pumping, dance routines, and party-starting rhythms were fun, but the most memorable moments came when the performers slowed things down and went for the heart.
On that score, Boyz II Men was the undisputed champion. Mary J. Blige and Montell Jordan had their moments, but when it comes to standing and delivering on slow numbers, no one can do it like the guys from Philly.
The quartet came through with a slightly different and more elaborate show than they had at the Florida State Fair earlier this year.
There were some flashpots and an opening sequence that featured the members' faces projected onto a screen, while they harmonized a cappella offstage. That seemed a little much, considering that the group already had the goods: four good voices and great songs.
It wasn't all slow stuff; the group made sure it pleased the hip-hoppy side of its audience. But the slower stuff got the biggest screams: Water Runs Dry, I'll Make Love To You , On Bended Knee and End of the Road.
Montell Jordan's opener was too compact; a few songs ended before they had a chance to generate any real energy. The set-ender, predictably, was the chug-a-lugging hit This Is How We Do It, which spent seven weeks on at No. 1 on the Billboard pop chart.
Despite the runaway success of that single, Jordan seemed more comfortable with soul than hip-hop, especially when he dipped into the old-school catalog of people like Teddy Pendergrass.
Mary J. Blige generated a bit more energy. Her best moment was the title song from her My Life album. Sure, it's a barely reworked Roy Ayers song (Sunshine), but the grit Blige put into her delivery (not to mention her sparkling rendition of Rose Royce's I'm Goin' Down) was enough to earn forgiveness.
Boyz II Men, Mary J. Blige and Montell Jordan, Wednesday at the USF Sun Dome in Tampa.