Monday, October 13, 2008

NKOTB @ The AllState Arena in Rosemont 8/04/08 Pt 2

Once more, for the record. I am a fan of the New Kids on the Block. I am not gay, nor am I trolling for ladies (although that'd be a heck of a plan, come to think of it). I do not profess my fandom to draw attention to myself, to be 'different', or to secretly ridicule the group.

In the '80's I was ashamed to like them, calling them 'New Fa*s on the Block' while secretly borrowing my sister's Hanging Tough cassette. By the early '90's, when 'Call it What U Want' and 'No More Games' hit the radio I admitted 'some' of their stuff was 'ok'. According to Billboard I was one of only 100,000 or so people to consider buying a copy of 'Face the Music'(I didn't).

When I married a diehard New Kids fan and was exposed to many, many hours of their work my respect for them increased. When Joe and Jordan went solo I was exposed to the intense love their fans still hold for them and I found myself openly rooting for their success.

Now, I just plain dig their music and wish them well.

As for the criticism of their predisposition for dancing, well, I feel no need to apologize for it here. I enjoy the hell out of watching someone dance well and my only regret is I can't do it myself.

Anyway, back to the concert on October 4th -

At 9 o'clock the lights went out for NKOTB to take the stage. There was a noticeable shift of energy in the air, a different 'karma' to the room. As the video played to introduce them the screaming and cheering increased in scale, seeming to peak as the opening lines of 'Single' were performed offstage. Not so. When the guys finally appeared, rising from below the stage on a platform Donnie, (as always) in the lead, the screams reached a point where they had a definable weight, slamming against you like a shockwave.

I turned towards a misty-eyed Lisa and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "I'm happy for you," I said.

As I noted, the band opened with 'Single' [love the 'let us sing it in a harmony' line] followed by 'My Favorite Girl' and 'Right Stuff'. No surprises there, it was identical to what had been broadcast from Boston on VH1.

Here's the whole set list, memorized by yours truly as the concert went on and verified online afterwards.

“My Favorite Girl”
“(You Got It) The Right Stuff”
“Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)”
“Valentine Girl”
“Please Don’t Go Girl”
“Grown Man” (With Nicole Scherzinger)
“No More Games”
“If You Go Away”
“2 In the Morning”
“Dirty Dancing”
“Baby I Believe in You”
“Give It To You” (Jordan solo)
“Stay the Same” (Joey solo)
“Cover Girl”
“I’ll Be Lovin’ You (Forever)”
“Click, Click, Click”
“Step By Step”
“Hangin’ Tough/We Will Rock You”

'Didnt' I (Blow Your Mind this Time)' and 'Valentine Girl' were odd but pleasant choices, and 'Please Don't Go Girl' was of course a mandatory staple. I don't think 'Grown Man' adapted well for the stage, even with Nicole Scherzinger appearing in a pre-recorded video. It just didn't work.

Then a surprise. Donnie and Company performed 'No More Games'!

Best believe I rapped along, and did it a HELL of a lot better than anyone in the vids I've seen from the show.

They followed that up with 'If You Go Away', and at the end ran a video montage of everyone they cared about that's passed away since their breakup. Among the faces were Donnie's father and Danny's Mom (it's been nine years since she passed. My God time flies)and manager Dick Scott. Also included was Tupac and Biggie (on the same screen. All hell broke loose in Hell with that one) and then . .

Kurt Cobain!

Here I let out a roar, as did a guy in the same section wearing, of all things, a Nirvana t-shirt. For the record, Kurt got a good round of applause from the crowd.

AFter this the guys took to a circular platform near the rear of the floor seats. They performed 'Two in the Morning', which has become a favorite of Lisa's because she say's the lyrics sound identical to what I say to her, and then 'Dirty Dancing', with some playful roughhousing between Jon and Donnie at the beginning of the song.

The crowd, as a whole, did not seem to know the words to the song but oddly reacted feverishly to it, screaming and waving their arms and enjoying the hell out of the tune. I'd say it ranked as one of the more crowd pleasing songs of the night. The concluded their time on the smaller stage with the Beatle-esque 'Tonight'.

[sidenote: two rows down sat a man and his wife. The guy was a no-good sap who refused to move or even try to have a good time, but that's beside the point. The dude couldn't stop farting, nasty wretched bubbles of dead cow or pig or whatever. It wasn't too bad where we were - we only got the one whiff - but the poor girls in front of us had to literally leave their seats because of it. 'Hey,' I told Lisa. 'As long as they know it's not me I'm cool with it.']

[sidenote 2: during one song, I forget which, Lisa leaned over and pointed out that she couldn't see Jon on stage. 'Maybe he fell off a horse,' I said, referencing the infamous cover story used when he was asked to leave the group. As Jon was/is her favorite, this was met with an icy glare]

After this was 'Twisted'. When I reviewed the album I didn't care for this song, but it's grown on me to the point where it's now among my favorites on the record. Joey did a dance to the song that I feel was strongly influenced by his time on Dancing with the Stars, but while I listened to the song something or another was going on - perhaps the girls in front of me left at that point - and I missed most of the dance. I did note enough of it to shake my head at Joe's shirt, which seemed to be emblazoned with a shiny gold eagle across the chest and shoulder.

~to be continued ~

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