New Edition made a stop in-group member Johnny Gill’s hometown of Washington D.C. on Thursday, March 31st, as The Culture Tour continues to entertain audiences across the U.S. I previously reviewed the show during the Baltimore show. As a die-hard fan of New Edition, I had plans to attend another show regardless, but I felt it was only suitable to review the differences between the two shows.
For the most part, the setlist of opener Jodeci and headliner New Edition were verbatim to the Baltimore show. The key differences with the D.C. stop were that Charlie Wilson was on this bill, and the Kang of R&B himself, Mr. Bobby Brown was active for New Edition’s entire set.
Due to a stomach bug, Brown had to bow out early of the Baltimore show while Wilson was recovering from knee surgery. However, you would never know they were down with the energy both men gave on stage that night.
Wilson’s time to shine was after opener Jodeci. Uncle Charlie gave the crowd their money’s worth through nearly a seventy-minute set. Not only did Wilson touch on his solo hits, but he also performed hits from his days in The Gap Band. Wilson’s portion of the show included “Party Train,” “Yearning for Your Love,” “Outstanding,” and “Early in the Morning” from The Gap band era.
While the solo hits portion of the show featured “Blessed,” “Charlie, Last Name Wilson,” “You Are,” and of course, “There Goes My Baby.” Two particular moments that took Wilson’s performance up a notch for me were hearing him sing his features on Snoop Dogg’s “Beautiful” and Kanye West’s “Bound 2”, both of which had my thirteen-year son partying like it was 1999.
Bobby Brown and the rest of New Edition took the stage around 9:30 to the applause of a lively crowd. Brown vocals sounded great on the early New Edition hits “Candy Girl” and “Mr. Telephone Man” that opened the showed. Later in the show, Brown was in top form as he sang the mess out of “Jealous Girl,” the first song that New Edition recorded for their 1983 debut.
Of course, whenever Mr. Brown is performing a New Edition concert, you can expect to hear material from his breakthrough sophomore solo album Don’t Be Cruel. “Every Little Step,” “My Prerogative,” “Roni,” and “Rock Witcha” all still sound fresh as they did thirty-four years ago.
While I have had the blessing of seeing Charlie Wilson and Bobby Brown live before (Wilson in 2015 on the Forever tour) and Brown (three times with New Edition and twice solo), there was something special about this performance for both men. There was so much blissful energy in Capital One Arena that night; whatever reasons Brown and Wilson had for not performing in Baltimore were no longer of note. Leaving the venue with a smile on my face at the concert’s end, a Bing Crosby quote came to mind. “Accentuate the Positive, Eliminate the Negative,” and latch onto the affirmative.”
Final grade: A
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