28 June 2019 (gig)
02 July 2019
The MixTape tour, which is currently making its way across arenas in the USA, is a unique package ensemble. Starring Boy Band icons, New Kids on the Block, as headliners, the jaunt also features sets from other 80's (and 90's) hit makers as Tiffany, Debbie Gibson, Salt N' Pepa, and Naughty By Nature. Performing at the first of two packed shows at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts on June 28, 2019, The MixTape Tour was a rousing success and the New Kids were welcomed back to their hometown with screams from fans in attendance who have been loyal to the quintet since their inception.
While a package tour usually features sets from all the opening acts prior to the headliner closing the show, The MixTape Tour shakes it up, as the New Kids on the Block (Donnie Wahlberg, Joey McIntyre, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, and Danny Wood), actually opened the show with a generous eight song portion which began with "The Way," (a bonus cut from the bands 30th anniversary reissue of "Hangin' Tough," the groups breakthrough album) and "My Favorite Girl," where Jordan Knight and Donny Wood swapped lead vocals, and merged into two cuts from their 2008 smash comeback record, "The Block," "Dirty Dancing" and "Summertime" (which was the bands first Top 40 single after a 16 year chart absence).
The first licks of the ultra-catchy "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" brought the crowd back to 1989 (no doubt many in the audience were taken back to the days when they most likely had New Kids memorabilia plastered all over there rooms), complete with (more mature sounding) shrieks of adoration. The New Kids did not shy away from upping the noise level of the crowd as they lifted and removed their shirts (and revealed they have been working out quite seriously), much to the delight of those in attendance. After pulling out 2013's "Remix (I Like The,)" the band ventured into the different areas of the crowd - something they could have never done at their peak as their overzealous followers might have torn them to sheds - which elated the fans, some of whom were sung directly too and a few even got to hold hands with band members (during which they were performing the song, "Block Party"). The group then made their way to a B-stage at the back of the area and finished up their inaugural set with "Games."
As the New Kids disappeared into the darkness, Tiffany appeared on the main stage and churned out a great version of her monstrous hit, "I Think We're Alone Now." Looking fantastic, Tiffanys vocals are still a powerhouse and her stage presence is as charismatic as ever. After Tiffany finished her one song, the attention shifted back to the B-stage, as Debbie Gibson performed a medley of her hits, "Out of the Blue," "Shake Your Love," and "Electric Blue."
The New Kids then returned to the main stage and after doing a medley of tunes - "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)," "Valentine Girl," and "If You Go Away" - McIntyre took the lead voice on what was the bands first Top 10 hit, "Please Don't Go Girl." In what was the most touching moment of the night, McIntyre spoke of his memory of recording the song in a studio in nearby Copley Place and became quite emotional. McIntyre, (who truly is one of the nicest people in the entertainment business) said later on social media that the combination of the song and being in Boston, brought back memories of his late father (who sadly passed away last year) and his feelings apparently became overwhelming.
Hip-Hop icons, Salt N' Pepa, charged the stage with the throwback, "My Mic Sounds Nice," and played shortened versions of "None Of Yo Business," "Expression," "Whatta Man," and "Let's Talk About Sex."
Reappearing on the B-stage, the New Kids churned out the slightly psychedelic-salted "Tonight" (while the riser on the B-stage lifted them higher to greet the fans in the balcony), and re-entered the audience again, while Wahlberg took to the mic to speak about how the media used to speak harshly of the group (and their fans) in their heyday, stating that, amongst other things, that Boy Bands had no shot at career longevity. He continued to say that now, 30 years later, they are still around and that their once young fans have become, among other things; "mothers," "lawyers," "doctors," and even "Queens." Wahlberg then led the group on "Boys in the Band (Boy Band Anthem)," which payed homage to most every popular Boy Band ever.
After summoning the Boston Celtics' Dancers (aka Cheerleaders) to the main stage, an unseen DJ played snippets of 80's hits from other acts ("Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," "Poison," (which technically came out in 1990), "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)," "Pour Some Sugar on Me," and "Livin' on a Prayer"), while the New Kids (and the dancers) urged the crowd to shout along. They then lead the audience on a raucous sing-a-long of Neil Diamonds "Sweet Caroline" (the unofficial theme of the World Champion Boston Red Sox) and ended with "Cover Girl."
Rap legends Naughty By Nature ripped through a trio of their hits, "O.P.P.," "Feel My Flow," and "Hip Hop Hooray," before Gibson returned with short versions of "Foolish Beat," "Only in My Dreams," and brought McIntyre out to turn, "Lost In Your Eyes," into a duet.
Salt N' Pepa did an epic version of "Shoop," before Tiffany killed it again with a half-version of "All This Time," and really showed her pipes off on the tearjerker ballad, "Could've Been."
Jordan Knight was superb on "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)," after which the group reignited the crowd with "Step by Step." After Salt N Pepa came back one last time for "Push It," the New Kids climaxed with "Hangin' Tough" (which included snippets of the Dropkick Murphys', "I'm Shipping Up to Boston" and Queens, "We Will Rock You"), before all the acts on the bill came out to the stage for a grand finale of, "80s Baby."
The MixTape show provided a night of great memories and reminded all just why cassette tapes are making a comeback (ala vinyl records).