The New Kid on the Block were my first concert ever. At 8-years old my mom and I went to there concert here in Vancouver at BC Place Stadium. I loved them. I loved Jordan. I was going to marry Jordan. Shameless fact I remembered this week, I wanted braces at one point because Jordan had them, this dream did come true but unfortunately after they had disappeared into oblivion. I owned the Jordan and Joe dolls. I had hats, t-shirts, posters, puzzles, every tape and millions of buttons. I loved NKOTB.
Last May when they announced they had reunited and would tour again I was giddy. When I saw them performing on Good Morning America for the first time in many years I screamed the same way my 8-year old self did. Sadly, they announced their Vancouver date would be in November, when I was in Italy. They toured in England, it was documented here, here and here that I tried to see them, but alas, prices, economy and airlines were not co-operative and I missed out on them and England.
But life has mysterious ways of working. Or maybe the bands love of touring, I guess it depends on your outlook on life. I returned home from Italy sooner than I wanted but this luckily enabled me to find out that NKOTB would be returning to the province and be in Kelowna and Victoria. I put aside my ill feelings towards the island and purchased my tickets online.
Flash forward two months to Tuesday. Leah and I headed to the island at noon. It was a sunny day and we had accommodations at the awesome Paul’s Motor Inn, just steps away from “downtown” Victoria and 5 minutes from the Save on Foods Memorial Centre (for those counting, we covered the whole downtown, including dinner, in about 3 hours).
The concert began at 8pm. The opening act was the winners of America’s Best Dance Crew, the Jabbawockeez. We missed the first 15 minutes, but they were pretty good. They danced to hits from Beyonce, One Republic and old school stuff by Bel Biv Divoe and Vanilla Ice. Overall ok, but they were no Pussycat Dolls.
At about 9pm the NKOTB made their appearance. We had awesome seats, we were just to the right of the stage and could see perfectly. The arena seats 7,400 (for hockey games I assume), but it was maybe half full. They came out full of energy, and kept the energy up for the whole 2 hour set (yes, 2 hours).
In all honesty, I don’t have the words to explain it. The moment they stepped on stage I was a screaming 8-year old again, they understood we wanted the old hits and they gave us just that. The middle included some of their new stuff, but they stuck with what got them famous. In between songs Donnie would do most of the talking, but he spoke a lot, so did Joey and sometime Jordan or Danny, I don’t think Jon spoke but I gave him a pass on that since he does have anxiety issues on stage.
But here’s the thing, Britney could take a lesson from these guys. Besides the fact that they all approaching 40 and have been out of limelight for many years, they sang and danced almost for the whole two hours. The only time I think they lip-synched was Jordan during his solo, where he sang his only solo hit, Give It To You (not too sure about this fact, but I assumed this since it sounded like the single version and this was the only time the large monitors didn’t focus on his face). They were also genuinely appreciative of the audience, they did this reunion without knowing if the fans would be coming out, but they constantly expressed that they were glad to see fans there and while generally the banter between songs and all this is rehearsed and probably said in each city, you could tell they meant it. You could tell that they were genuinely happy to be on stage and performing. They performed two encores, stuck around on stage long enough to give the fans a chance to soak it all in before they left the stage.
In all, it was one of the best pop concerts I’ve been to. It was entertaining, they sang and danced for two hours, they gave the fans exactly what they wanted. At one point Jordan sang a solo with his shirt unbuttoned and sang a love song, I remember this exact move from my concert at 8. Sure, it was cheesy, but it made me remember how embarrassed I was at eight to see this with my mother beside me, maybe this time I was a little embarrassed again for Jordan. I definitely would go see them again and I would drag along other friends, even those who weren’t big fans back in the day, because honestly even if you weren’t a die-hard fan who wanted to marry one of the boys, it’s an entertaining show to say the least.
And for those wondering if my love for Jordan was renewed. Yes it was. But I’m also now in love with Joe, Jon, Danny and Donnie. They all had charisma and they all had their own style. I’m sure it will all fade as the concert becomes just an awesome memory, but for now, I’ll Be Loving Them Forever.