I was a child of the 80s and a teen of the 90s. That means I had the awkward, in-between kid and all-full-of-attitude teen stage when it was the late 80s and early 90s. And the music scene was all over the place. While I grew up with a house full of music, I listened to pretty much anything. My mom would listen to Blondie, Billy Joel and Kenny Rogers…I mean old school, Gambler Kenny. So as I started listening to the radio and watching videos growing up, I stirred more in the direction of top-40 pop. I loved WHAM, Michael Jackson, Madonna and Culture Club. I still love George Michael and Madonna. As we moved on, I heard of these “kids” from Boston. Of course it didn’t hurt that they were so cute. And so, New Kids On The Block became one of my faves. It was the first official concert that I went to alone. Sans parents. I went (read: My friend and I got dropped off right before and picked up right after) to see the Hangin’ Tough tour at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens. I loved every minute of it. A couple years later, I went with friends again to Exibition Stadium to see the Step by Step tour. It was equally crazy and a lot of fun. Now I’m not sure what happened after that, but my musical library doesn’t include any more New Kids albums. Not to say I didn’t like them, just that my interests turned and I was more focused on 90s dance tunes.
About the time of Step by Step, another group of four boys emerged. This time, from the creative backing of Michael Bivens of Bell Biv DeVoe fame. This group was Boys II Men. The kings of the ballad. They could harmonize the pants of many women, and I’m sure they did…directly and indirectly. I loved their music. I even won a trip from a dance radio station to go see them in Buffalo and got to meet them. That was a great concert.
So fast forward a few years. I still love my 80s pop, my 90s dance and some good old fashioned hip hop. New Kids had long split up, each going their separate ways, trying acting and solo albums. Boys II Men also disappeared. Then in 2008 New Kids reunited. All five kids – now men, were back at it. I mean, let’s face it, they opened the doors for the likes of Backstreet Boys, 98 Degrees, ‘N Sync, to the present phenomenons One Direction and The Wanted and the likes of most I don’t know anyway. So this reunion concert was actually set to start in Toronto in September 2008, and after thinking about it, I didn’t necessarily love all the new songs, and wasn’t going to go to the concert. But that day, my BFF called, with an extra ticket and I jumped at the chance to relive my tween years and see what they had to offer.
I can honestly say that I enjoyed all their “old” stuff. My friends and I danced and sang at the top of our lungs. Now I do admit to sitting during the performances of the new songs, but the younger girls beside us seemed to love those songs, which I found humorous. What I also found humorous was that the Air Canada Centre was 90% packed full of thirty-something’s screaming like a bunch of star-crazed kids. It was fun. And they looked H.O.T. All of them.
They went on to hold a cruise and another concert with the above mentioned Backstreet Boys. And although I did like BSB, I didn’t think I wanted to see them again. Then, the most unbelievable thing happened. Two weeks ago as I was suffering from a brutal stomach bug, I was flipping through daytime television and I came across The View. Normally, I keep going, but I happened to land there as they were saying to stay tuned because New Kids On The Block were coming up. So I decided to watch. Let’s see what they are up to. I was sort of being held captive by my couch anyway.
So they come out with a few announcements. New single. New album. New tour. And then they announce 98 Degrees. I know that’s the one with Nick Lachey and his brother Drew. But no offence to the other two guys (Jeff Timmons and Justin Jeffrey – who I totally just looked up), but I don’t know more than a couple of songs. So, lying there I thought, na…not interested.
THEN the unthinkable happened. They announced Boys II Men! OMG! I about levitated from the couch and called my BFF who proceeded to cause a frenzy of excitement in her office and we promised to go. We were definitely going. Boys II Men AND New Kids!? Okay, and 98 Degrees too, but honestly, that one is like getting a free upsize on your combo. Wouldn’t have got it in the first place, but since you’re throwing it in, I’ll take it.
Needless to say this dirty dozen of men, because make no mistake they are all men, look good, sound good and I have now begun a countdown to the June 7th concert event…The Package Tour! I would be remiss to say that I am a bit disappointed to learn that my favourite member of Boys II Men is no longer a part of the group. After some research online I discovered Michael McCary left the group in 2003 due to health reasons. So I still can’t imagine End of the Road without his deep bass tone. However I can be swayed to make due with just Nathan, Wayna and Shawn.
So our tickets were purchased. We have Good seats in the 100 level. Let’s be honest, I’m closer to the big 4-0 now and don’t really need to be any closer than that. My friend confirmed that the tickets have arrived and are in her hands. I’ve heard the new single from New Kids Remix (I like the) and I love it. So I may consider my first NKOTB album purchase after 20 years. And I’ve been prepping by listening to old albums online. I’m happy that I found my Boys II Men CDs…so I guess I’ll be pumping some tunes tomorrow.
Do you have your ticket? Did you love NKOTB as a teen? How about Boys To Men? 98 Degrees? Who was your favourite, because everyone had one.
And by the way…in case you’re curious, I loved Donnie and Danny. And now I have to admit, I like ’em all. Really. Have you seen them!? It’s hard to choose.