Monday, September 22, 2008
New Kids On The Block
ACC Toronto ON
OK, so this one takes me a little off the beaten path.
Took my daughter and her cousin to see this one. If I can spend a few grand a year revisiting the music of my past by seeing the likes of Cohen, Springsteen, Dylan and David Byrne, then these 25 year old cuties should have the same chance.
Too bad the music of their past sucks.
Just kiddin'. Of all the 'boy bands' these guys, especially early, were the most worthwhile. I think of them as The Monkees of the late '80's. They had some solid songs behind them, with a little wit, unlike the dross wet-t-shirt-standing-in-the-rain-buffed-and-tattooed crap that came with the early '90's and bands like Backstreet Boys and 'Nsync. For the first two-and-a-half records this band was fresh and were legitimate descendants of the likes of The Temptations, or at least The Chi-Lites.
NKOTB have been receiving tepid reviews for the launch of this tour in Toronto and it's a disservice. It's a risk to put this kind of venture together. Depending on the mood of the times you can be dismissed as self-indulgent (Spice Girls), revered beyond comfort (Leonard Cohen), or damned with faint praise. The latter is what's happening with this tour. The trouble the reviewers are having is the show is too good to criticize but they just don't have the chutzpah to admit it's authenticity lies in the unabashed joy shared by all present.
I've seen a lot of shows but I've never seen 20,000 people scream non-stop for two hours. I was too young for the early Beatles and too old for the hey-day of the '90's pop-revival. Even in my time I avoided the "big" shows, for the most part. I was dragged to the stadium shows by Supercramp and Fleetwood Crap but usually preferred the smaller halls that housed The Clash and The Ramones, so this type of 'love fest' is a little new to me.
If you measure the success of a show by the response of the crowd, this one was over the top. Every little dance move was replicated...and received with deafening cheers. Each of the performers, especially the three leads, Donny, Joey and Jordan, engaged the audience every minute of the show. Jordan in particular filled the arena screens with a beaming smile all night. A mid-show relocation to a small stage at the back end of the floor gave some lucky fans the opportunity to press flesh with their childhood idols. The boys even took the time to take photo's of each other onstage, using camera's the fans were handing up.
The onstage patter, while a tad formulaic, was endearing. Following Jordan's delivery of I'll Be Lovin' You (Forever) Donny takes a mic to centre stage and is stopped dead by a blistering 4 minute ovation. The crowd just wouldn't let him say "thanks". With the giant screen showing a close-up he took off his glasses, eyes brimmed with tears, voice choking...and let the crowd enjoy the effect they were having on the artist. Another small gift, fully appreciated by all.
He finds a voice to scream out ..."Thank you so much, thank you so much for making the impossible, possible. Thank you so much for showing the world that all those little girls and 5 crazy assed kids from Boston knew what the hell they were talking about!"
And there lies the rub. What a terrific reunion, all in good fun, everyone giving themselves a little time for nostalgia. Of course, it wasn't all looking back. They did no less than 8 songs from their new release, The Block. Good news is...those songs didn't drag the show down. I mean the video duet with the Pussycat Girl girl was border-line lame and the Dirty Dancing showcase was just some eye-candy but Single, Twisted and Summertime sounded like they were yanked out of the past.
The show is well paced, filled with hits, and the new songs sound and feel like they were made for the band. Well, they almost were. The new record is the brain-child and artistic creation of a local kid, Nasri,who was presented with a gold record during the encore break. The lights and stage settings, while not quite reaching the heights of NIN's current configuration, were well done, not over done, and served the set well.
Here's the complete set list and a few song samples.
New Kids On The Block
ACC Toronto ON
Track 01 Single (from The Block)
Track 02 My Favourite Girl (from Hangin' Tough)
Track 03 (You Got It) The Right Stuff (from Hangin' Tough)
Track 04 Didn't I (Blow Your Mind) (from NKOTB)
Track 05 Please Don't Go Girl (from Hangin' Tough)
Track 06 Grown Man (from The Block)
Track 07 Donny Talks Trash/Crowd Pump
Track 08 Games (from Step By Step)
Track 09 If You Go Away (from NKOTB Tour Collection)
Track 10 2 In the Morning (from The Block)
Track 11 Dirty Dancing (from The Block)
Track 12 Danny Talks, Breast Cancer Awareness/Donny Talks
Track 13 Tonight (from Step By Step)
Track 14 Big Girl Now w/ Lady GaGa (from The Block)
Track 15 Twisted (from The Block)
Track 16 Give It To You (Jordan Knight solo)
Track 17 Stay The Same (Joey McIntyre solo)
Track 01 Cover Girl (from Hangin' Tough)
Track 02 I'll Be Lovin' You (Forever) (from Hangin' Tough)
Track 03 Donny Talks/4 minute ovation
Track 04 Click Click Click (from The Block)
Track 05 Joey talks/Nazri/Gold Record Presentation
Track 06 Summertime (from The Block)
Track 07 encore break
Track 08 Step By Step (from Step By Step)
Track 09 Hangin' Tough (from Hangin' Tough)