The early '90s were back and on full display when New Kids On The Block brought their Mixed Tape Tour through Buffalo, NY. Admittedly, this tour was a bit outside of my typical genre, but when my wife, her sister, and their friends all went absolutely gaga for the chance to see NKOTB (along with guests Salt-N-Pepa, Debbie Gibson, Tiffany, and Naughty By Nature) I figured I had to go and cover this one. They had their tickets for months, so why not, right? Not to get too far ahead here, but I’m really glad I went! The evening proved to be a musical time-machine, bringing back memories of songs that absolutely everyone heard if they were a child of the '80s and '90s.
It was a blast from the past. Most of the girls got all dolled up in their best '80s attire complete with big(ish) hair and their New Kids On The Block shirts. As we arrived at the arena, I immediately knew that I was in good company. At this point, we parted ways so I could check in with media and do my thing as they entered the venue for their show.
The show began with a grand entrance, as the New Kids were lowered to the stage on a giant platform with a boombox graphic on the screen behind them as they kicked off their set with “The Way,” a new song from their 30th-anniversary release of Hangin’ Tough. From there, they immediately went into one of their biggest original hits, “My Favorite Girl,” before jumping forward about a decade to “Dirty Dancing” from their 2008 album, The Block. Like most pop shows, the visuals were stunning. The floor of the main stage was designed to look like a cassette tape (where the title of the current song was written on the mixed tape label). Meanwhile, the second stage, situated around the middle of the arena floor, was circular and designed to look like a CD. The details of the performance made all the difference.
The shape of the evening really became clear after a few additional tracks. Just like a traditional mixed tape, the flow of the concert was essentially a full set of New Kids On The Block, with multiple segments from each of the supporting acts mixed in throughout the night. The first supporting act was Debbie Gibson, followed by Tiffany before a few more songs from the New Kids. After that, we got a brief set from Salt-N-Pepa. As the evening continued, they added in Naughty By Nature and additional sets from each of the performers, covering all of their biggest hits (highlights listed following review).
At one point in the evening, about mid-way through the show, after the New Kids performed a few songs from the center stage, they came down to the floor to make their way back to the main stage. They each interacted with various parts of the crowd, engaging with fans on their way back. Seemingly out of nowhere, Donnie Wahlberg made his way into the crowd and ultimately worked his way right in front of me to perform “Boys in the Band.” Following this, they took the main stage to pump up the crowd to some sing-a-longs as they piped in songs like Cyndi Lauper’s “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun,” Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” and Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer.”
New Kids On The Block closed out the set with some of their biggest hits like “Step By Step” and “Hangin’ Tough” before bringing every performer back on stage for a huge ensemble performance of “80’s Baby,” a new track from the 30th Anniversary release of the Hangin’ Tough album. It was a spectacular evening that truly delivered a little something for anyone that grew up with late '80s and early '90s pop music. New Kids On The Block have been touring actively again for a bit over ten years now, and if this tour is any indication, they don’t show any signs of slowing down, and neither do their fans!
New Kids on the Block:
- My Favorite Girl
- You Got It (The Right Stuff)
- Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)
- Please Don’t Go Girl
- Cover Girl
- I’ll Be Loving You Forever
- Step By Step
- Hangin’ Tough
- Shake Your Love
- Only in My Dreams
- Lost In Your Eyes (with Joey McIntyre)
- I Think We’re Alone Now (Tommy James & The Shondells cover)
- Could’ve Been
- Push It
- Whatta Man
Naughty By Nature:
- Hip Hop Hooray