Bel Biv Devoe
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Derrick Dunn

The Girl is still Poison, but Bell Biv DeVoe’s live performance is still fresh

New Edition spin-off group Bell Biv DeVoe made a stop at The Theater AT MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland, on Sunday, January 19th, 2020, as part of their “Poison 30th Anniversary” tour. Dressed in matching hip hop inspired clothing, with a stage recalling the vibe of an eighties hip hop video, the group once again took concertgoers down memory lane.

Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact; I’m a die-hard New Edition fan. Any form of media or business endeavor the group, or its members undertake, I’ll support.  So naturally, I had to attend the 30th-anniversary show of Bell Biv DeVoe’s groundbreaking iconic album, Poison.

Group members Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, and Ronnie DeVoe, who make up the trio of Bell Biv DeVoe, have always used the stage experience from their New Edition days to give audiences a lively show.  Bell Biv DeVoe’s show opened with a high energy setlist comprised of some the group signature tunes including “Do Me,” “B.B.D. (I Thought It Was Me)?” as well as the tracks “Find a Way” and “Run” from the highly underrated 2017 release Three Stripes.

No B.B.D. ‘s show isn’t complete without some New Edition songs thrown in the mix, so when the group pulled out “Hot2Nite”, “Candy Girl,” and “Cool It Now,” the crowd response was very lively.   The raps of Ronnie DeVoe and Michael Bivins still sound energetic and fun, decades later, while Ricky’s Bell crooning is always a highlight.

Often referred to as the music industry’s best-kept secret, Ricky’s tenor ability never got the respect it was due in his early New Edition days. However, once Ricky got a chance to shine on the quintessential ballad, “When Will I See You Smile Again”? The world began to take note. Ricky’s slow jam potion of the show is a favorite among my wife and me, whenever we attend one of his shows. A few of the highlights were “All Dat There,” “Something In Your Eyes,” and his verses in the New Edition classics Mr. Telephone Man, “Can You Stand The Rain” and “Is this the End.” The group closed its set with two of its classic songs, Dope! And “Poison,” where audience members were invited on stage to dance along with the group.

While I generally enjoyed the show, there were a few issues that played a part in my final rating. I would love to hear just small snippets of the Poison’s album other slow jam “I Do Need You” added to the set. Throughout twenty plus years of seeing Ricky Bell live, I’ve only heard him seeing that song once.  In the same token, the lesser-known up-tempo songs “Ain’t Nuthin’ Changed” and Let Me Know Something?!” didn’t appear to go over well with the crowd, I would’ve omitted those from the setlist.

Color Me Badd or should I say group member Mark Calderon, a D.J., and two dancers opened the show in a performance that ranks in my top three worst of all time. So the less said about the opening act, the better.

Nevertheless, the “Poison 30th Anniversary tour” is all about Bell Biv DeVoe. With pristine choreography, crisp vocals and hit songs, the Poison 30th Anniversary tour was a great night out.

Final Grade B+

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