While waiting for the Wailers show to start Sunday night, the Summerfest promo for New Kids on the Block kept coming up on the big screens at the Miller Lite Oasis. I made the comment, "Wow, they are old," to which my boyfriend replied "So are you." Touche. Yes.
Come to think of it, the first concert I ever went to was New Kids on the Block at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy. I remember sitting in the back seat with my sisters, giddy with excitement, as our dad drove us to our very first concert.
Would Donnie take his shirt off? Would Jordan look at me when he sang "I’ll Be Loving You Forever?" With the boom box in our laps, we kept rewinding the tape to write down the lyrics to songs that are now classics in our minds. I’m pretty sure my father has to go down as a saint (he is) for not only taking his three girls and wife to this show, but also sitting through the concert with us. I’d like to put that on the record.
And today, here I am, seeing New Kids on the Block again, back on the road for "The Package Tour" with Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees. Let nostalgia reign.
Boyz II Men (ABC, BBD, EAST COAST FAMILY...), originally a foursome and is now a group of three, took the stage donned in glorious all-white matching outfits to "On Bended Knee." With a capella harmonies still completely intact, their 30-minute set was filled with hits. The crowd had no problem remembering lyrics of the past to "End of the Road" and "Water Runs Dry."
While a shower of rose petals fell gently upon the crowd, The Boyz pulled out their own red roses and handed them out to a few lucky ladies and led us in the ballad "I'll Make Love To You." Joking that this may or may not have been a song we had ever heard before, they struck the right chord with "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye." By the time they wrapped things up with "Motownphilly" I didn't want it to end, but as always, all good things must...
I was never a huge 98 Degrees fan (Now if this was 'N Sync instead it would be the ultimate boy band reunion tour). But frontman Nick Lachey will always be in my heart as I watched his patience and love (when they were in love) for Jessica Simpson on MTV's "Newlyweds."
Lachey’s done the solo thing, too (he played The Riverside several years ago), so he knows the game of showmanship. Chicken of the Sea anyone? 98 Degrees knew how to work this crowd, and started out with the recent single "Ladies Night" from the group's 2013 album "2.0." Returning to days of glory, hits like "I Do (Cherish You)," "The Hardest Thing," and "Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)," added up to a solid 30-minute performance.
And then ... there was NKOTB. Danny, Donnie, Joe, Jon, and (sigh) Jordan. The boys came out in all their glory to "Block Party." Dressed to the nines in black vests and suit jackets, they brought us straight into hit "Summertime" with beach balls bouncing throughout the crowd.
NKOTB knew they had "The Right Stuff" and the crowd was loving it and not afraid of showing it. After making it known that Milwaukee is still blowing their motherf*cking minds after all this time, Jordan serenaded us all with "Didn't I." Oh, I think he did.
Leading into "Please Don't Go Girl," Joey commented on 25 years of love between us fans and NKOTB, saying, "now is not the time to go." Don't worry Joey, we aren't going anywhere.
"Cover Girl" started as ladies' night got in full swing at the Marcus Amphitheater. Donnie made sure we get the requisite ripping off of the wife beater tank, and make no mistake, had the ladies not seen those Wahlberg abs they would have been disappointed.
A dance party to "I Love It" by Icona Pop featuring Charli XCX broke out in full force while the boys share drinks from the crowd and reminiscence on who would have thought 25 years later we'd all be getting drunk together. And we sure are having a lot of fun doing it!
Donnie, who had donned a Boston cap by this point, said that it was time to consummate our love. Our love for Boston and Milwaukee, that is. A cover of Dropkick Murphy's "I'm Shipping Up To Boston" led into the finale of "Hangin' Tough," though the crowd was just not ready to say goodbye.
"The Package Tour" may have felt packaged at times, but I doubt many left disappointed. These boys are now men. And the girls who once couldn't get enough of this boy band are women, but are still in love with them.
Judging from Tuesday night’s gig they're all not only still having fun but singing, dancing, hip-thrusting and crooning like it was 1988.