The night of July 23rd was nostalgic when five guys from Dorchester performed at Washington D.C.’s Capital One Arena. I’m talking about Donnie Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood, and the Knight brothers (Jordan and Jon), better known as New Kids on the Block. Promoting the latest variation of their “Mixtape Tour,” the legendary boy band has been touring to sellout crowds since late spring. And the DMV area was the lucky recipient of the tour’s closing night.
In 2015, I attended a New Kids concert for the first time and became an instant blockhead, so my wife and I haven’t missed a tour since then. The beauty of the mixtape tour is that the New Kids bring along fellow acts fans grew up loving. This time around, R&B vocal trio En-Vogue, Hip-Hop icons Salt-N-Pepa, and blue-eyed soul singer Rick Astley joined the group on tour.
Upon entering the venue, one of the first things I noticed was a mixture of fans from different backgrounds smiling. I enjoyed seeing people just having a good time at a time when so much division exists.
Upon taking our seats, we were treated to the infectious grooves of the Illtown Sluggaz, a spin-off group featuring Vin Rock and DJ Kayee of Naughty By Nature. Playing classic 80s tunes and spreading contagious energy, the Illtown Sluggaz warmed up the crowd. Joey’s oldest son, Griffin McIntyre, showcased his musical talent as a bonus. It’s clear Griffin inherited his talent from his dad. It’s encouraging to hear that KayGee will help the younger McIntyre with production on his debut EP.
The New Kids took the stage around 8:20, opening up with “Block Party” and running through hits such as “The Right Stuff,” “Summertime,” “My Favorite Girl,” and a personal favorite, “Dirty Dancing.” I couldn’t help but smile at all the fans who had childhood dreams of meeting their favorite member.
En Vogue followed with “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It),” followed by Rick Astley, who performed “Together Forever” and “It Would Take A Strong Man.” The New Kids then took the stage to show off pristine choreography while dancing to “Full Service” and “Call It What You Want.” Salt-N-Pepa followed, performing some of their signature tunes, including “Express Yourself” and “Shake Your Thang.” Over the years, I’ve seen the ladies of Salt-N-Pepa live so much that my enthusiasm wasn’t that high this go-round. However, other fans in the crowd were enjoying them.
Then came my favorite thing at a New Kids concert, their ballads. We already heard Joey’s performance of “Please Don’t Go Girl” (side note: Joey McIntrye needs a full-on R&B album). Now it was Jordan’s turn. During the medley of “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” / “Valentine Girl” / and “If You Go Away,” Mr. Knight’s falsetto sounded as smooth as aged cognac. He closed out this show portion with a dynamic and emotional rendition of “I’ll Be Loving You Forever.”
The night ended with all artists performing “Bring Back The Time” and “Never Gonna Give You Up.” I had one issue with the show: the absence of material from Face The Music, their masterful 1994 album.
Nearly forty years under their belts, the New Kids on the Block show no signs of slowing down.
Final Grade: A-
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