Boy bands of today, take note! New Kids on the Block has cracked the code on how to turn your 15 minutes of fame into a career that spans 25 years.
The Boston quintet’s two-hour show at Nassau Coliseum Saturday night was practically a clinic on staying relevant while keeping longtime fans happy. Donnie Wahlberg says the concert experience should be like a movie – starting big, ending big, with something unexpected in the middle – and that’s exactly what the New Kids deliver. (They return to the area June 16 to play Barclays Center with 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men.)
Their opening salvo was as big as any current touring act around. For the first three songs, including “We Own Tonight” from their new album “10,” Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood and the Knight brothers, Jordan and Jonathan, performed mostly on a revolving platform that rose two stories out of the middle of the floor of the main stage, while beach balls and confetti fell, and flame pots belched fire into the air. They delivered crowd-pleasing choreography that included the occasional ab-flash and pelvic thrust.
They certainly didn’t skimp on the spectacle. What was more impressive, though, was the way they placed their music into the context of what has come before and after them. The new EDM-tinged single “The Whisper” merged into The Isley Brothers’ “Shout,” while their version of Nelly’s “Hot in Herre” moved into their own “Dirty Dancing.” The acoustic section of the show provided its own set of surprises, as McIntyre tackled both George Michael’s “Faith” and Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” and Jordan Knight delivered Prince’s “Kiss” in a convincing falsetto.
In one of the night’s best numbers, McIntyre fell to his knees during their old-school R&B hit “Please Don’t Go Girl” – lowering the key to match his now-40-year-old voice, but not losing any of the song’s teenage desperation. “It’s been 25 years,” he sang, with roaring approval from the crowd. “Please don’t go, girl.”
Don’t worry, Joey, they’re not going anywhere.
SETLIST: We Own Tonight / Block Party / Summertime / You Got It (The Right Stuff) / The Whisper / Survive You / Didn’t I Blow Your Mind / Valentine Girl / If You Go Away / Please Don’t Go Girl / Remix (I Like The) / Single / Baby I Believe In You / Tender Love / Click Click Click / Faith / Kiss/Sexy And I Know It / Hot In Herre/Dirty Dancing / We Found Love / Step By Step / Cover Girl / Games / Empire State of Mind / Tonight / I’ll Be Loving You (Forever) / Hangin’ Tough/We Will Rock You