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The old, now new again, New Kids On The Block concert in Moline Thursday night was a midlife crisis on a stage.
And it was AWESOME.
On so many levels.
There was Jordan Knight’s shirt-fluttering-in-the-breeze ballad, Joey McIntyre’s gold bomber jacket and matching gold and black high top sneakers, Donnie Wahlberg’s make-out session with a front-row fan, Danny Wood’s breakdancing and oh yeah, Jonathan Knight, being, well, just good old awkward Jonathan.
And that was just on the stage. Off the stage, in the audience, were throngs of 20- and 30-something women (and a few men) channeling their 1988 selves. And loving it.
There were side ponytails, scrunchies, hot pink and electric green, leggings, denim mini skirts, slouchy off-the-shoulder sweatshirts, sweatbands and more than a few tee shirts and jackets dug out of attics and basements. Oh and the REALLY big buttons with the boys faces plastered on them (the ones we all flaired out our Esprit bags with) they had those too.
Like the five middle-aged men on stage, we were kids again, if only for “Tonight.”
We embraced the cliches. And so did NKOTB. They rocked the classics and their patented swing-kick dance moves with as much oompf as the did 20 years ago.
And we rocked with them. The crowd, which filled the floor and lower bowl, but not the upper level, was on their feet waving their hands in the air and shimmying right along with the fellas for the nearly two hours they were on stage.
There were nods to Joey’s and Jordan’s solo careers, when each performed alone on stage. Donnie and Danny too got their chances alone with the audience.
But the magic truly happened when all five took the stage. They opened with “Call it What you Want” from the early 1990s. Then they moved on to “My Favorite Girl,” from the Hangin’ Tough tour. Wisely “The Right Stuff” came next.
The rest of the show had a little bit of evertything. Old and new songs. Video montages. Back-up dancers. Odd interpretive dance interludes. And for a few songs, including “Tonight,” the boys left the stage and reappeared in the tunnel leading to the main floor where they climbed onto a small stage with a piano.
Then finally, after much anticipation, the group ended the show with the two songs everyone came to hear, “Step-by-Step” and “Hangin’ Tough.”
Fiftteen years later, the boys couldn’t let us down.
The opening act wasn’t a let down either JABBAWOKEEZ, the dance group that won “America’s Best Dance Crew” a year ago, were amazing. The group wears white masks and dances in sync to a medley of songs like Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies” and Michael Jackson tunes.
If you haven’t heard of them, watch this video.
They play in the area again Monday (4/6) in Des Moines. It’s not too late to get tickets.