Do you remember how old you were when Boyz II Men first released "End of the Road"? Were you in love with Nick Lachey before his first marriage to the star who did not know the difference between chicken and tuna? How many of you had New Kids On The Block lunchboxes?
If just reading the passage above made you feel fifteen, or younger, again, then you should have been at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday June 19, for The Package Tour. Live Nation presented headliners New Kids On The Block with Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees to a packed arena full of screaming fans.
Boyz II Men
A blend of fans, from mature to those possibly conceived from some of the songs, was treated with the still superior vocals of Wanya Morris, Nathan Morris and Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men. The trio, once quartet (Michael McCrary left the group in 2003), dressed in all white, kicked the show off with a melodious rendition of "Bended Knee". Screams from the crowd let them know they still had skills.
As the group moved to center stage from a stage beneath two jumbo screens, the crowd was able to interact with them, thanks to the way Time Warner Cable Arena is constructed for concerts. Known for their smooth vocals and romantic interludes, Boyz II Men catered to the ladies by showering the arena with flower petals and handing out roses as they harmonized "I’ll Make Love to You".
Although they did not sing any of their latest music, the crowd was more than pleased with their performance. For a group that started in 1988, these three showed that they aren’t too old to kick moves, like they used to. Boyz II Men closed out their set with the upbeat "Motown Philly", dancing just like they did in the video where they wore sweater vests and shorts.
Packaged between two super groups would be difficult for anyone. "Heat it Up", had the crowed sizzling for an opportunity to see 98 Degrees in the flesh. As the song came on the audience full of women rose to their feet. The multi-platinum group made the most of their position by pulling women from the crowd onstage for a little serenading session. Half the arena yelled, “Pick me, pick me,” as the group, made up of brothers Nick and Drew Lachey, Justin Jeffre and Jeff Timmons, searched for four lucky ladies.
The group, who got their start on Motown Records, had been out of the music industry for some time before this tour. Although a bit rusty, they more than made up for it with heart throb appeal. Nick and his brother Drew had definitely been in the gym, and the ladies swooned as they had their special moment on stage.
Mixing a little salsa flavor into their performance with "Una Noche", brought life to the crowd, and had them dancing on the floor and in their seats. Dressed in denim and suspenders, the group went for the no frills, rugged appeal.
Have you ever wondered what causes people to have such huge crushes on members of bands and music groups? Is it their charisma? It could be their physical appearance, at times. But most often, it comes down to: CONFIDENCE.
New Kids On The Block had a two hour long performance that was fueled by confidence. The fans could not get enough. From the moment Donnie Wahlberg’s voice was heard over the arena commanding the audience to pledge to have a drama free fun time, it was on!
Donnie Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood, Jordan Knight and Jonathan Knight, all well into their forties, commanded the stage like teenagers. They started the show in white and black tuxedo jackets, but after several wardrobe changes ended in Boston Red Sox jerseys, emblazoned with “BOSTON 617 STRONG” on the back. The crowd was transformed back to their teen years for the entire performance.
It was awe-inspiring to see men move like they did over twenty-five years ago, enchanting an audience already breathless by their mere presence. At one point a lady’s youthful fantasy was made real. Donnie Wahlberg serenaded her as he lay down on the stage singing "Single". Out of nowhere, Donnie planted an open-mouthed kiss on the unsuspecting fan. Donnie also displayed a very present set of six pack abs, as he discarded his shirt during one portion of the show.
From the rotating stage to the fire and lights, the show never had a dull moment. Realizing that not only could Jordan Knight still hit high notes, but Danny Wood could also breakdance was enough to release the inner teen girl of anyone in attendance.
NKOTB hit on all cylinders with their upbeat party songs like "Remix", "Right Stuff", "Hangin’ Tough" and "Summer Time". However, the highlights had to be Joey McIntyre singing "Please Don’t Go" and Jordan Knight holding his pitch with "I’ll Be Loving You". The two soloists were great.
NKOTB’s act was aided by the numerous effects built into Time Warner Cable Arena. At times all five members were lifted on the center piece of a rotating stage together, then on smaller portions individually. There were pyrotechnic touches along with balloon and confetti drops.
The show was every former teen girl’s fantasy, but not everyone found the performances so appealing. Check out the critique in the Charlotte Observer.
The Package Tour was in Atlanta following Charlotte and will continue throughout the summer.
Did you have a celebrity crush as a teen? Would you want to realize your fantasy like the kiss with the fan and Donnie Wahlberg, or just hold onto the fantasy?
How was your experience at The Package Tour? Leave your comments below.