Even though the screams came at a decidedly lower pitch than their heyday, New Kids on the Block had their fans yelling their love at the top of their lungs Monday night at the KFC Yum! Center. The New Kids headlined “The Package,” a tour that also saw good performances by fellow 90’s boy bands 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men.
The idea of the Package has one band for all three acts along the lines of the touring United We Funk circuit that brings one band for old school funk acts like the Dazz Band and Con Funk Shun. That’s a good thing since all three “boy bands” are mislabeled. They’re vocal groups so it matters a lot less who’s playing guitar or banging percussion.
The twist with NKOTB had the groups performing in the round. Or, more accurately, in the pentagon which was the stage shape. It fit well with what they wanted to do, including using a large spinning hydraulic lift in the middle to lift them up as well as 5 smaller risers to raise the band higher.
The New Kids started their set by having fans take a pledge to own the night, which they gleefully did. By doing that, the anticipation was ramped up to a fever pitch so that when the boys hit the stage, the arena couldn’t have been more ready.
And some of those in the arena got a treat right from the start. Since the show wasn’t a sell out, the arena closed the 300 section seats. If you bought the $29.50 tickets there, you got moved to the lower seating where those tickets started at $52.50. Even with that, the lower bowl was only three quarters full.
But boy band fanatics made the place sound full and then some. Besides, the seats didn’t get used much anyway as the Kids rocked and their fans danced along. When “Step by Step” or “Remix (I Like The)” bounced along, the aisles and areas in front of the seats saw hip shaking and body moving fun.
Even with the ballads, everyone remained standing. “Please Don’t Go Girl” and “Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time)” were especially well received. They even did a segment where the New Kids sang their favorite old school songs. “Kiss” gave an opportunity to do some shirt removal gave the arena renewed excited squeals.
The middle act, 98 Degrees, came out to good applause, especially when they pronounced “Louisville” like they were locals. And you can see why Nick Lachey became the breakout star from that group. He’s got an “It Factor” on stage and seemed to be the natural leader of the group.
At one point during their set, they did the old “bring girls onstage” routine. It was especially cute when a mother and daughter were among the girls. It was cuter still to see that the mother made sure the toddler wore ear protection.
Boyz II Men opened the show with well practiced class and hit records. That’s even more impressive when you realize that their biggest songs were four part harmony that they had to pare down to trio friendliness after the retirement of bass Michael McCary. 98 Degrees even gave them a shout out as one of their idols.
Photos: Tim Girton/Louisville.com