When I was 13 years old I fell in love with a boy from Boston. For the next 5 years or so I would follow him and his four friends in all they did. The boy was Donnie Wahlberg, his friends were Jordan, Joey, Jonathan and Danny…collectively, they were The New Kids on the Block. At that time my walls were wallpapered with their faces, my two cousins and I started a “fan club” out of my bedroom, and we would exchange letters and photographs with hundreds of girls all over the world. In each we would profess our love and adoration of the five hardest working guys in showbiz. It was not easy to be a “Blockhead” in those days. The New Kids were not taken seriously by the music industry or by mainstream media, and they were certainly the butt of many teen boys’ jokes. To be a New Kids fan was to be constantly defending yourself, and your boys. But it was probably because of that constant abuse that New Kids on the Block fans are a breed to be reckoned with.
15 years ago, it all came to an end. An unsatisfactory and some would say all too abrupt end. The New Kids disbanded, went their separate ways, and talk of a reunion was always immediately shot down. But like a volcano waiting to erupt, the New Kids fan base didn’t die, it just went into hibernation. As fans, we kept following the careers of our boys, Joey’s turn at Broadway, Jordan’s solo album, Donnie’s success in movies and television…we never stopped following our boys from Boston.
And then it was announced…The New Kids WOULD be reuniting, releasing a new album and going on tour. The volcano erupted. The fans came crawling back out of the woodwork en masse. Major concert arenas sold out immediately, the album shot to number one on the pop charts its first week of release, the fansites popped back up, and 30 something year old women, married and with kids, updated their freebie lists. The boys were back, and so were we.
Friday night, September 26, 2008, the boys returned to Boston for their first performance in their hometown in 15 years. Performing to a sold out crowd of 13,000 plus mostly female fans, at the Garden, they were home again.
And this 30something year old, along with the rest of the ladies in the crowd, was on her feet, screaming at the top of her lungs, feeling like she was a 13 year old star-struck little girl all over again. We were ready. And the boys…now men…delivered.
With a combination of their old hits, and some of the new songs, they delivered a non-stop performance for a solid 2 ½ hours. Whether bringing fans back to the good old days with songs like Please Don’t Go Girl, Tonight, Favorite Girl and Covergirl, or introducing a sexier, dirtier side with new hits like Grown Man and Dirty Dancing, they did not disappoint. For a bunch of men in their late 30’s, who were all rumored to be suffering ill effects of a pretty nasty flu that night, they evoked nothing but professionalism and energy. They gave the audience a bit of the throwback dance moves in “The Right Stuff” and “Step By Step”, and incorporated a whole new catalogue of choreography throughout. Joey McIntyre showed off the skills learned during his stint on Dancing With The Stars, and Jordan Knight shared one of his solo hits with the screaming fans. Danny Wood, 39, took to the stage in a break dancing routine that made him look 19 all over again, and Donnie Wahlberg never lost his mischievous grin the whole night through, except for the moment when he found himself at a loss for words and choked up at the response he received from his home town, which he deemed “This beautiful city”.