If I had to pick one, it would be Donnie.
Honestly, New Kids on the Block were before my time. I went into last night’s show not knowing what they sang or what they looked like. I left with a true appreciation for this powerhouse of a group and a love for their upbeat party anthems.
My night started with Boyz II Men (your friendly neighbor harmonizing group from Philadelphia- as they put it). Their forty-five minute set was full of their iconic R&B songs and beautiful harmonies. Notorious for the way they used hip-hop beats as a base under their harmonies, the vocal power of this trio could not go unnoticed. I was never a huge R&B fan and definitely wouldn’t call myself a Boyz II Men fan but I will say that as I sat there, trying to judge the crowd and figure out what I was going to write, I couldn’t help but be super impressed with their show.
These three guys definitely knew how to play off of the crowd. During their hit sing “I’ll Make Love To You” the crowd near the stage pleaded with the band members for one of the dozen roses that each of them were carrying. Wanya Morris, one of the members of the group, wasn’t shy about showing off the dance moves he had learned during his time on Dancing With The Stars and it made the crowd go wild. Everything about this group seemed to make the crowd go wild and at times it was hard to hear the sensitive vocals over the shrieking females in the crowd.
The electric feeling throughout the arena didn’t seem to falter much as the stage was turned over for New Kids on the Block. Majority of the crowd seemed to be moms that left their kids with their husbands and decided to go out with their girlfriends for the night. With one too many drinks in majority of them, I sat in my seat and laughed as I saw these women struggle to make it up and down the stairs without falling. For the first time in a long time, I felt far too young to be at the show I was at and, I have to admit, I kind of liked watching the 30 somethings completely revert back to their teenage years.
As soon as the lights went down in anticipation for New Kids on the Block to start, the crowd completely lost their shit. The screaming turned into a constant high pitched buzzing as the screen behind the stage showed a video introducing the band members. Having grown up (secretly) worshiping boy-bands like *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys, I know the different roles that must be played in a band like this. There has to be a bad boy with tattoos, a pretty boy that makes the girls faint, the funny one, and so on and so forth. It was funny to watch the New Kids be introduced via this video and be able to figure out which one was which and, although I always fell for the bad boy in pop groups growing up, I found myself in love with the funny kid– Donnie.
From the second the music started to the very last note of the very last song, there was a sense of energy that was contagious. I honestly wasn’t too stoked on covering the show because I had no attachment to either of the acts but as soon as the five New Kids took the stage, I found myself jumping out of my seat and joining in with the moms around me as they waved their arms in the air and screamed until their lungs gave out. It was hard not to get completely lost in the theatrics of the show. With confetti falling around me within the third song and with fireworks booming from the stage, I instantly found myself in my happy place even though I knew very little about the band performing.
The music of New Kids on the Block was exactly what you would want. It sounded great and professional but, more importantly, the dancing was on point and made me forget how old this group actually is. Did you guys realize NKOTB’s first album came out in 1986? I mean, that’s three years before I was even born. If that isn’t a sign of just how old these guys are, I don’t know what it is. The amount of energy that these men had on stage was surreal when you realize that they are in their forties. They all looked great and, even though I’m a couple decades behind the time, it was clear how this group became the powerhouse that they are.
Even though these guys are one of the biggest boy bands to have ever existed, they had personalities that shined and truly seemed to give a crap about their fans. About half way through their set, the New Kids jumped off of the stage (with help from security) and started making their way through the packed floor towards a makeshift stage that was set up right in front of me. It would have been so easy for the men to make their way through the aisles in the floor seats with security blocking the crazed fans from getting to them but, instead, the superstars weaved through rows and into the lower bowl of the arena. It was surreal to see such mega-stars get so close with their fans and truly appear to be loving every ab rub they were getting and every selfie they were taking.
I knew what I was getting into by signing up for last night’s show and, I have to be honest, I went into it with a bit of a sour attitude. Paula Abdul cancelling last minute didn’t help anything and the idea of a night full of lip syncing, synchronized dance moves, and screaming moms seemed more like my personal hell than a Wednesday night but, as I always say… you can’t judge a band until you see them live. So I put a smile on my face, grabbed my overpriced beer, and tried to erase any preconceived notions on what my night was going to be like.
Go ahead and take away my “metalhead card”. I loved every second of watching New Kids on the Block last night. I may have even bought a T-shirt.