IN TOWN: 8 p.m. Wednesday, bergenPAC, 30 N. Van Brunt St., Englewood; 201-227-1030 or bergenpac.org. $29 to $79.
ALSO PERFORMING: 8 p.m. June 1, Mayo Performing Arts Center, 100 South St., Morristown; 973-539-8008 or mayoarts.org. $37 to $67.
They are boys no more. It’s been 20 years since Boyz II Men – who hit big with songs like "It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" and "End of the Road" – surprised themselves with commercial success, and they’re still harmonizing.
"This thing has been like a roller coaster ride, one of the funnest roller coaster rides ever, if I can use the word funnest," says Wanya Morris, a member of the group. "All we are is three guys from Philadelphia who wanted to sing."
The quartet-turned-trio long ago became men, and very successful ones, but they are back on the road. When asked why, Morris has a quick answer.
"The people. The audience. It’s total energy," he says. "As Boyz II Men, we have a responsibility to our fans, to give them what they know and love. We want to take them on that journey, that journey they want to remember."
The group has seen dwindling commercial success over the past decade, and their output has consisted mainly of covers and tribute projects. But now Morris, Shawn Stockman and Nathan Morris (no relation) are on tour with old songs and tracks off their most recent album, "Twenty" — their first full-length original album since 2002 — as something of an antidote to the times.
"This day and age is so hard-core, it doesn’t warrant love anymore, it warrants struggle," Wanya Morris says. "And that struggle can be a tad bit overbearing and people want to escape. When it comes time to getting onstage and giving people that escape, we pride ourselves on being able to say we understand what people go through, and we want to see them fall in love all over again."
For the group — in their early ’90s heyday, the most commercially successful R&B group of all time — making it big and sustaining their fan base over decades was unimaginable when it all began. To survive the success is also an achievement.
"Fame and fortune has a way to take people’s minds and make them feel and think something totally different from what the realistic lifestyle is," Morris says. "Money will change you, but music, music stays the same. The love of music stays the same."