You could barely see the walls of The Verizon Center in Washington D.C, as it hid behind the waves of fans that crashed around outside them. A sea of people donned in New Kids On The Block attire could be seen as far as the eye can gaze, all in anticipation of seeing boy band and teen heart-throbs, New Kids On The Blocks on The Total Package Tour. Supporting NKOTB was multi-platinum, R&B chart-toppers, Boys To Men and singer-songwriter, and star judge on X Factor and American Idol, Paula Abdul.
As I took my place, I watched as hundreds readied themselves into the correct lines, whether it be GA or four-star VIP. I too assumed I was prepared for what was to come, but by the end of the night, I was happily surprised at every turn. So, ladies and gents, surround yourself with all your NKOTB memorabilia, and relax while I tell you about one of the best live performances of the year.
This show was pretty exciting for me, because I too had grown up listening to New Kids On The Block, Boys To Men, and Paula Abdul. Yes, like all of you, my walls were plastered with New Kids posters, and I believed every song Boys II Men wrote was about me and my broken heart. So, when Nate, Wanya, and Shawn came out onto the stage, and those first few notes of “Motown Philly” poured out, memories flooded my mind as thousands of fans raised up out of their seats to revel in the nostalgia. Followed by “On Bended Knee,” It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday,” and “Water Runs Dry,” the breakup/makeup songs of the late nineties, Boys To Men harmonized with flavor and flow. Soulful and emotionally gripping, BTM sang each song like the day it was released. Although their set was at it’s end, they didn’t leave out my two favorite songs of all, “I’ll Make Love To You” and “End Of The Road.” There was very few fans left unmoved by their powerful performance and tides of time had just begun to rewind.
Paula Abdul came out next shining like a river flecked with gold, singing “The Way That You Love Me” with her back up dancers in tow. Being a well-known dancer and choreographer, Paula’s performance was beautifully polished, with moves so glamorously in sync, and vocals perfectly in tune. Singing hits off her album Forever Your Girl, “Cold Hearted,” and “Straight Up,” seemed nowhere close to 29 years since the album spent ten weeks at number one on the Billboard 200 album sales chart. Let’s not forget about the song “Opposites Attract,” featuring Paula’s animated feline friend MC Skat Kat. Stage set to look like a city back alley, with backup dancers clad in black trenches and fedoras, MC Skat Kat looked bigger than life on-screen, while he danced with Paula as the crowd sang along,
“I take–2 steps forward
I take–2 steps back
We come together
Cuz opposites attract
And you know–it ain’t fiction
Just a natural fact
We come together
Cuz opposites attract”.
Thousands were on their feet, and they danced by their seats, as they felt the music on a cosmic scale. Paula cut-loose across the stage as measureless excitement shook the rafters. But no one forgot what was coming, and their hearts still yearned for the biggest event of the night.
Perched on the edges of their seats, men and women anxiously waited to see one of Americas best-loved boy-bands. As the stadium went dark and the fog rolled in, Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan & Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre and Danny Wood looked like they emerged right out of a dream world, singing “One More Night” followed by “Get Lucky.” Every inch of steel trembled from the roar of cheers and claps. New Kids On The Block were more than just a boy band, they were first crushes, the first poster you blew kisses to before leaving for school, even a first concert your parents let you go to. Iconic and timeless, they blew our minds 25 years ago and blew our minds that night, as they sung a massive song list from their debut album in 1986, to Hangin Tough and their 1990 release, Step By Step. They even threw in “Merry, Merry Christmas,” complete with snow falling,” as another crowd pleaser, because when NKOTB is in the house, it’s like Christmas any day of the year. But let’s not forget that New Kids On The Block are no longer kids, and they had no qualms about showing their manhood, (calm down ladies,) not that manhood, but by flexing their muscles and adding a dressing room cam to turn the heat up. They were charismatic, captivating and infectious, as each performance bettered the last, then the first few notes of “Please Don’t Go Girl” began, and you just knew your eyes would start to swell. Joey McIntyre first sang this song at the age of 16, and made all the girls swoon, but when he brought his little son Griffin out to sing it with him, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. Just like his father, Griffin had the voice of an angel, and as everyone watched in awe, Joey and his mini-me, kicked an amazing show up to an extraordinary performance. The night was almost over with only a few song left to go, as they wrapped up with fan favorites “Step By Step,” “I’ll Be Loving You,” and last but hell-no not least, “Hangin Tough. What a wonderful night of music, memories and good times. The Total Package Tour, was the total package and left nothing to be desired. If you haven’t had the chance to catch this tour, you still have time.
Get Your Tickets for The Total Package Tour- RIGHT HERE
This is How We Do It / Games / All I Do Is Win
The Whisper / Shout
Hangin’ Tough / We Will Rock You