Greenville, SC – The earth may have actually shook in Greenville the night of July 10th when the elated crowd readied the boombox and welcomed New Kids On The Block, boy band extraordinaire hailing from Boston. NKOTB have been celebrating the 30th anniversary of their album Hangin’ Tough while making their way across North America on The Mix Tape Tour, with special guests Salt-N-Pepa, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, and Naughty by Nature.
The band’s longtime fan base was out in maximum glitter and gold at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena Wednesday evening, shining with pure joy and donning bright leggings, neon scrunchies, big hair (Aquanet optional), and homemade t-shirts with adoring sayings such as, “Original NKOTB Girl,” “If Lost, Return to Jordan,” “Still Hangin’ Tough,” “I Will Be Your Mixtape,” and “I Love The Boys In The Band.” Some described it as a girls’ night out or part high school reunion of sorts, although one point was clear – no one cared it was a weekday night.
After a brief rally by DJ Illtown Sluggaz and Naughty by Nature’s Vin Rock to help ignite the crowd and set fire to an evening chock-full of sing-a-long hits, NKOTB wasted no time opening the show in true boy band fashion – standing together front and center above the crowd on a lifted platform while making their way through a few synchronized moves before taking command of the greater arena. The full show line-up was done with a creative structure, where headliners Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood, and Jonathan Knight were infused throughout the evening with multiple appearances. Instead of using the linear standard, opener to headliner, the supporting guests were sprinkled in during the course of concert. The arrangement rang true of a thoughtful compilation of fan favorites by a variety of artists, giving the crowd their very own live version of a nostalgic mix tape.
While NKOTB may deliver the expected boy band theatrical dance moves and flirtatious camera play, these boys to men proved their continued ability to harmonize vocals, hit the dreamy falsetto, and melt hearts. The band’s set list covered old school sensations, with hits such as “My Favorite Girl,” “You Got It (The Right Stuff),” “Dirty Dancing,” “Boys In The Band (Boy Band Anthem),” “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever),” “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time),” and “Hangin’ Tough.”
Did I mention the screaming fans? Well, the heat of the South was definitely in full effect through passion expressed with ear-shattering cheers, very well breaking the record for loudest crowd noise of the tour. The enthusiasm of the crowd was delivered right back to the audience through NKOTB’s performance fuel. Aside from on-stage lingering looks, pelvic thrusts, and short doses of revealed abs, the boys in the band made their way through the crowd while blasting out hits and stopping for handshakes, hugs, and photos. While the guys celebrated their multi-decade connection with their fans, they also took a moment during the show to share their appreciation for Tiffany, their long-time friend and artist that helped them get their start.
The flavor of the late 80s/early 90s tasted even sweeter with the toppings supplied by the rest of the artists on The Mix Tape Tour. Pop star Tiffany connected with fans through hits such as “I Think We’re Alone Now” and “Could’ve Been.” Debbie Gibson sparkled as the crowd reminisced with melodies such as “Shake Your Love,” “Only In My Dreams,” and “Lost In Your Eyes” (duet with Joey McIntyre). The hip-hop group Naughty By Nature blasted through songs including “OPP” and “Hip Hop Hooray.” The fabulous Salt-N-Pepa crushed the night with their provocative temptations including “Let’s Talk About Sex,” “Whatta Man,” “Shoop,” and “Push It.” The use of two stages and several transitions between NKOTB and the supporting artists were seamless and captivating.
The party wrapped up with NKOTB being joined on stage by their guests to sing the final song on the mix tape, “80s Baby.” The last of the confetti dropped as the audience danced and sang. There was an uplifting and positive vibe remaining as the venue cleared that would reaffirm what we were all about to take with us.
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Show Date: 7/10/2019
Want to hear some NKOTB right now?! Check out their official music video for “Boys In The Band (Boy Band Anthem):