Flashback Friday Concert Review: New Edition Home Again Tour @ Us Air Arena
Derrick Dunn

Derrick Dunn

Flashback Friday Concert Review: New Edition Home Again Tour @ Us Air Arena

Iconic music group New Edition is preparing for their “Legacy” tour with opening acts Tank, Guy, and Keith Sweat. I heard about the tour this past fall when Keith accidentally spilled the beans during one of his shows. As you know, I’m a diehard New Edition fan, so I’ll attend the Washington D.C. and Baltimore shows. Before those shows, though, I decided to take a trip back to February 22nd, 1997, the first time I experienced the magic of a New Edition show.

The day tickets went on sale, my mom stood in line for over two hours to secure tickets, and I eagerly awaited the show for months. The tour kicked off, and while the first couple of shows seemed smooth, little did fans know about the tension brewing in the group. After viewing the group’s miniseries and reading numerous articles and books about Bobby Brown, I want to point out that the show was after the New Mexico incident. The fact that the group continued to tour after that is an amazing feat. 

The week of the concert, group member Ronnie DeVoe had a legal issue that forced the group to cancel a show at the Patriot Center, another local venue. However, I had faith the show would go on in Maryland, and when that cold February Saturday arrived, my mom, best friend, and I all hopped into my mom’s 1986 Honda Accord and headed to the show.

The show began with 702 (signed to Michael Bivins Biv 10 records at the time) opening the show to amicable fanfare, performing their hits “Steelo” and “Get It Together.” 

Up next was R&B quartet Blackstreet, one of the hottest groups at the time thanks to their sophomore album, Another Level. “Don’t Leave Me,” “Booti Call,” “Before I Let You Go,” and, of course, “No Digity” were just some of the songs that made their way into the set list. Keith Sweat was the final opener and received the most thunderous applause of all the openers. Sweat had a mock limo on stage, was dressed in a fresh suit, and entertained the audience for a solid fifty-minute hitting all of the hit songs fans wanted to hear from his then five-album discography.

The night progressed, and impatience began to set in for some fans. New Edition finally took the stage around 11 pm. If memory serves, the delay was due to the stage setup. The prop on stage was a mock mansion which the members descend from. Dressed in matching attire and showcasing pristine choreography, the group opened their set with “Oh Yeah, It Feels So Good” and transitioned into “Hit Me Off.” Keeping the momentum going, Bobby Brown exited the stage to let Ralph Tresvant, Johnny Gill, Ricky Bell, and Michael Bivins perform songs from the Heartbreak album. “If It Isn’t Love” and “Can You Stand The Rain were highlights.”

It was then time for the solo portion of the show. Bobby Brown was up first and owned performing selections from his second and third albums. BBD was up next and brought the house with “Poison,” “Dope,” and “Do Me.” Ralph followed suit performing only “Sensitivity” and “Do What I Gotta Do.” Johnny Gill closed out the solo portion by performing his signature songs “There U Go” and “My, My My.” All six members then returned to the stage to perform some of the early material, including “Mr. Telephone Man,” “Is This The End,” and a brief cover of “Tender Love.” As the night began to wind down, New Edition closed the night with “I’m Still In Love With You.” I wrote most of this review from memory, so there’s a chance I missed a few songs and details. 

The first time I saw NE live was twenty-six years ago when I was fifteen. In contrast, it was my first concert and held a special place in my heart. Looking back, though, I have some gripes. While it would eventually go double platinum, only three songs from their Home Again album made the set list. Bobby Brown was still in his prime then, so I can only imagine how much he would have slayed the remix of “You Don’t Have To Worry.” Ricky Bell didn’t get a chance to show out on any ballads, while Ralph and Johnny also seemed to get the short end of the stick regarding their solo performances. Finally, “Candy Girl,” “Cool It Now,” and “Count Me Out” were notably absent from the set list.

Thankfully outside of “You Don’t Have To Worry,” any gripes I had with the Home Again tour have been rectified in the numerous times I’ve seen them live since then. As I count down the days until The Legacy Tour begins, I wish these brothers nothing but success and look forward to reviewing the next show. #NE4LIFE

 

Final Grade: A-

Tickets for The Legacy Tour can are available via Ticketmaster.

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