Ginuwine was billed as the headliner on Saturday night at Constitution Hall, but the R&B crooner had his work cut out for him. He was preceded by Tank, another locally grown singer, who wooed the audience by stripping off his shirt and showing his chiseled six-pack.
Tank’s tantalizing had grown even more intense: He asked the female spectators how much they spent on their nails and hair. He then reimbursed a chosen few with as much as $100 for their cosmetic efforts.
Ginuwine brought his own bag of antics as well, with a different currency in play. Ginuwine attempted to generate an equally intense frenzy with a towel that he used to dab his sweat and then drop to the floor. The more that one of his backup singers encouraged him to toss the soaked souvenir into the audience, the more desperate the ploy seemed.
Elsewhere, Ginuwine saddled his concert with hokey dramatic interludes — one involving reenacting the legendary cutting contest of the Apollo Theater with two men pretending to be singing Ginuwine’s old hits, only to be ushered off the stage by the Sandman. Then there were the needless costume changes, four in all, and a sparkly microphone stand with his name engraved in a white, diamond-studded cursive design; it initially looked like the Rod of Asclepius.
Even while promoting his new disc, “Elgin,” with leaden performances of “Heaven” and “Drink of Choice,” Ginuwine did little to distinguish himself from Tank or the previous two crooners before him, Carl Thomas and Case. Ginuwine delivered the same testosterone-fueled urgency on his hits “In Those Jeans,” “So Anxious” and “Stingy.”
Because of the deafening volume and the workmanlike performance of the band, there was little room for nuance or stylistic variety. Basically, all the songs sounded the same and proved undecipherable when unfamiliar; Ginuwine’s strained vocals were muffled. After he concluded with his breakthrough hit, “Pony,” for which the performer donned a red cape and galloped across the stage, the house lights went up, ending the concert on a bizarre and indifferent note.