It's without any exaggeration or hyperbole that I say this: I just came back from the best concert I've ever seen!!!My favorite group of all-time, the New Kids On The Block, just brought their "Full Service" summer tour to Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and it was nothing you will ever seen on a stage! It was even more amazing than the New Kids' earlier reunion tour, which I saw four times last fall.
Don't believe me? This picture should say it all...
Yes, that is Donnie Wahlberg, performing the guys' song "Single" in the middle of thousands of fans! Making his way through the crowd with the help of a few security guards, "DDub" here (that's his Twitter nickname) risked life and limb to sing amid the thousands of faithful fans (yes, like me!) who have waited for the New Kids to reunite since they disbanded in 1994. Even if I meant sprinting 20 rows behind me to get to where Donnie was singing, I wasn't going to let a chance to get this close to a New Kid pass me by! (Though, you know I met the New Kids last year, right?)
Lucky me, I was able to document the experience with this video, shot just inches from Donnie as he sang:
So dedicated to the fans is Donnie that he ran up to the edge of the seating to the front of SPAC's lawn area, singing and dancing the whole way. I even got to pat him on the back as he made his way back to the stage.
For two full hours, the New Kids played all their hits, from their 1986 self-titled debut album to "The Block," their most recent CD, which came out in September.
No outdoor summer concert is complete without pyrotechnics, right? Well, how's this???Here's a scene from the guys' performance of "Dirty Dancing." As Donnie would put it: Saratoga was fire!
A special treat was watching the youngest New Kid, Joe McIntyre, sing "Popscicle," one of the best songs on that 1986 CD. Having known the set list since the tour's opening night, I made sure to take video of this song, one the guys haven't sung since 1990.
And yes, Joe's clothes are supposed to be dated, from the mid-'80s! (This video is for my buddy, Danielle in N.C.)
But, yeah, from the minute the guys took the stage til they took their final bows after encores of "Step By Step" and "Hangin' Tough," they put it all out there for us fans, hence the "Full Service" tour name!
Just like last year's tour, you could easily tell how appreciative the New Kids were to still be drawing thousands of fans a night, more than two decades after they first burst on the scene and became international stars. For two hours, it was 1988 again and all us of — the five New Kids on stage and the thousands of us in the crowd — were all teen-agers, enjoying the music and not caring what anyone else thinks.
Even after the success of these two tours after a 14-year hiatus, there's been speculation — even from one of the guys on his Twitter page — that this tour might be the New Kids' last ever.
If that is the case, one thing's for sure: Both the group and everyone who watches them this summer are happy this reunion has been so positive, going strong for more than a year. We've goto great music — both old and new — and we've got great memories of the ol' days and this second time around. Just like hangin' (tough) with old friends!