Saturday, June 22, 2013

New Kids delivered goods with 'The Package Tour'

     ORLANDO — Excited female screams, nostalgic crooning, and lots of love can best describe what New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men, and 98 Degrees delivered with “The Package Tour" at the Amway Center on June 21.

     This co-headlining tour features all three groups performing individually; starting with Boyz II Men, who set a sensual tone for the rest of the night. The enthusiastic crowd often sang louder than the group during many of their classic R&B hits including “On Bended Knee,” “It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday,” and “I’ll Make Love To You.” Almost immediately following Boyz II Men was and 90s hit vocal group 98 Degrees. They went straight into performance mode by singing and dancing to songs like “Heat It Up,” which comes off their newest album “2.0.”

     Both of the opening acts built up to the nights most anticipated performance by Boston's own and one of the most successful boy bands in pop music, New Kids on the Block.

     Originally formed in 1984; NKOTB has gone on to sell over 80 million albums worldwide, and after breaking up in 1994, have made a monumental comeback with successful tours and album releases since reforming back in 2008. Part nostalgia and part hit songwriting, this group is now best described as providing a thrilling live concert to fans that show unyielding love and admiration.

     “New Kids on the Block was definitely the best, we’ve been waiting over 20 years to see them perform live,” said concertgoer Brandy Shaffer, who traveled with a group of friends from Georgia to see this concert in Orlando.

     The over 20 songs performed by “New Kids” on this tour represented a wide range of selections from all of their studio albums. From early singles like “Didn’t I,” from their 1986 self titled debut album, to the currently released “We Own Tonight,” from their newest album “10.” Hit songs from their wildly successful 1988 album “Hangin’ Tough” were also a crowd favorite including “Please Don’t Go Girl,” “You Got It (The Right Stuff),” and “Covergirl.”

     Moments of audience interaction became a great way for NKOTB to show love back to their enthusiastic fans, such as near the end of the concert during the song “Tonight,” as all the members jumped off stage and connected with fans with hugs and posing for pictures. This along with several moments where members of the group, including Donnie Wahlberg, took time to speak with their fans and thank them for all their continued support over the group's 25 year history, which solidified the strong fan and band connection seen at this performance.

     “Everything was unique and wonderful, all three groups had a great show,” said concertgoer Gena Abel.

     NKOTB also surprised the audience by bringing out Boyz II Men near the end of the show to perform a collaboration of the song “Motown Philly,” and all the guys from both groups showed each other much love and respect during and after the tune.

     One of the most inspiring moments from this concert came when the guys all dawned custom jerseys that said “Boston Strong” on the back in reference to the Boston Strong concert they participated in on May 30 that helped raise funds for the victims and family members affected by the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15. This lead to a rousing rendition of the chorus from “I’m Shipping Up To Boston” by the Massachusetts punk rock band Dropkick Murphys.

     With their youngest member being 40-years-old, it’s hard to call the New Kids on the Block kids anymore. But their talent and on-stage performance defines the concept of 40 being the new 20, and their fans will surely be with them to keep up their support and continued success.

By James Tutten

(All photos by James Tutten)


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