SPECIAL GUEST REVIEW: Jessica Gimeno, a lifelong New Kids On The Block fan, has graciously provided us with an awesome concert review from their 2013 Tour. Her website and Twitter are provided at the end.
When the New Kids on the Block returned in 2008, after a 15-year absence, their Allstate Arena concert sold out in less than 10 minutes. This year, Chicago sold out in less than a minute, prompting the New Kids to add an additional date. It’s been 25 years since the Boston quintet’s first hit song. And judging by the 37,000 tickets sold in Chicago, New Kids Fever isn’t going anywhere. Here are a few highlights from their July 19, 2013 concert at Allstate Arena:
New music is key to longevity: It seems counterintuitive for an artist with 11 Top 20 hits in their cache, but NKOTB’s new music is the key to their staying power. The night started with a bang—most notably The Remix (I Like The), a song that had the arena on their feet. The Remix features a Phil Spector Wall of Sound effect with Donnie Wahlberg and Joey McIntyre on lead vocals. Other 2013 songs included The Whisper (their current single), the danceable Block Party, and Survive You, a ballad that featured a Jon Knight solo—a surprising and welcome change to NKOTB’s repertoire. Their sharp suits and Mad Men skinny ties created a Jersey Boys-type silhouette. Indeed, the new music is a far cry from bubblegum hits like Cover Girl.
NKOTB ballads still make grown women cry: Jordan Knight’s distinctive falsetto was pitch perfect when he sang their number one hit, I’ll Be Loving You Forever and Didn’t I Blow Your Mind, their Delfonics cover, one of their top ten hits. Joey brought his A-Game to Please Don’t Go Girl, with a dramatic flourish that highlighted the blue-eyed star’s years on Broadway. NKOTB’s trademark Joey-Jordan harmonies were still tight on Tonight. When the guys ventured into the crowd during Tonight, fans tried to rip Jordan’s pants off—proof that the New Kids still make 38-year old fans feel thirteen again.
Opening Acts & Surprises: Boyz II Men proved they are NKOTB’s best opening act ever when they opened the night with hits like I’ll Make Love to You and End of the Road. At the climax of their two-hour set, NKOTB surprised everyone with Vanilla Ice who did two songs. He had the arena amped up with Ice Ice Baby. 98° was the other opening act of New Kids on the Block’s 2013 tour. Lead singer, Nick Lachey, charmed the crowd with Because Of You.
The Right Stuff Never Dies: Clad in skinny jeans, NKOTB rocked a fan favorite, The Right Stuff (yes, the guys still do the iconic legs and ample pelvic thrusts). They did more dancing than ever on songs like their chart-topper, Step by Step and Games. The latter, a response to critics, showcased break-dancing from Danny Wood and a rap from Donnie—the charismatic Blue Bloods’ actor had the crowd pumped all night. Donnie wrote Games in 1990; his words seem prophetic in retrospect: Said we wouldn’t last / Said our time will pass in just a flash / But we’re still kicking ass…
The Package Tour was more than mere nostalgia. New Kids’ fans, ages 14 to 44, keep coming back because the guys keep it fresh with new songs and classics. (Note to Jordan: Bring superglue the next time you perform Tonight in Chicago.)
I hope you’ll check out Jessica’s amazing blog and follow her on Twitter:
***With five illnesses, Jessica Lynn Gimeno is an advocate for people with disabilities. She lives a Clark-Kent/Superman existence. By day, she works in mental health and even blogs at http://askabipolar.com, a Dear Abby-type site for bipolar disorder. Jessica also coaches high school debate. By night, she runs a blog, Fashionably ill: The Cancer and Autoimmune Girl’s Stylist. She gives makeovers to sick women as well as fashion and makeup advice. Jessica graduated cum laude from Northwestern University with two majors: Communications and Political Science. In her free time, Jessica loves Pilates, painting, and reading anything by David Sedaris. You can follow her on Twitter; her handle is @JessicaGimeno.