New Kids on the Block: Still got it? Or kinda gross
(L-R) Danny Wood, Donnie Whalberg, Joey McIntyre, Jordan Knight and Jonathan Knight of New Kids On The Block at Madison Square Garden on October 27, 2008 in New York City. (Getty Images)
In the realm of boy bands, it has to be said, the New Kids on the Block are geezers, and a reunion tour could easily equal a pathetic disaster. Donnie Wahlberg and Jon Knight are both pushing 40, and its been nearly 20 years since the groups concert heyday.
But apparently, no one told the fans still swooning after all these years. Or lead crooner Jordan Knight, whose wailing falsetto at last nights MSG show was circa 1987. I saw New Kids on the Block in concert for the first time at the York County Fair (read, rural Pennsylvania) when I was 10. I had the crazed strain of NKOTB fever, like every other girl I knew. My parents bought my sister and me concert t-shirts, which we put on immediately and decorated with pancake-sized fan buttons.
Then we continued the debate wed raged over for weeks: Who was cutest? Duh, Joey! (her) No WAY! Jordan. (me)
We were so psyched to hear The Right Stuff live that we barely noticed our seats were in the next-to-last-row. When the lights blinked out, the thousands of pre-teen girls in the crowd launched into a shrill, unified scream that lasted until the final number, and we barely heard a word as the toothpick-sized band members bounced in and out of choreographed poses on the distant stage.
And that was pretty much my experience last night at the New Kids reunion tour show 20 years later again with my sister, though minus the shirts. And we had a new debate: It might be lame and sad. (me) No WAY! Itll be awesome! (her)
The crowd sided with her. (see video below):
When the lights blinked out, tens of thousands of grown women broke into deafening screams that lasted until the encore numbers, Step-by-Step and Hangin Tough. And we barely heard the boys (nee men) singing the words to Ill be Loving You Forever, and Please Dont Go Girl (a few octaves lower) over the chorus bursting from the bleacher seats.
When the Kids reprised their old hits, it was like revisiting a sweet time when nothing mattered more than jelly bracelets and pink boomboxes.
But when they sang songs from their new album, The Block, the Beantown boys were more like a gang of pervy sleazebags than ex-teen idols fist-pumping in unison as they shouted out leering lyrics like Imma give you some grown man, delivered along with a hip-thrust and if that wasnt obvious enough finger-pointing toward their crotches.
So NKOTB, I was happy to see you. You didnt suck. It was good trip down memory lane, and yes, I did shoot out of my seat involuntarily to sing every word to Step-By-Step. But, the appeal is more for the little girl left inside your grown-up fans. And the idea of some grown man is just kinda gross.