02 March 2022 (gig)
04 March 2022
When New Edition took the stage on Wednesday night (March, 2, 2022) at the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, it began the long-awaited homecoming that the packed arena had been waiting for way too long.
New Edition (featuring all six members: Bobby Brown, Ralph Tresvant, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivens, Ronnie Devoe, and Johnny Gill) has not performed as a full six-man group in Boston since a fantastic gig at the Agganis Arena at Boston University in 2014. Since then, the much ballyhood BET miniseries, "The New Edition Story", in 2017 only enhanced the band's legacy and the fan appetite for a full reunion has been ravenous.
Returning to the road with other R&B legends, Jodeci and Charlie Wilson, under the umbrella of "The Culture Tour", New Edition unrolled a massive two-hour 25-song set that more than made up for the near eight-year absence.
Opening appropriately with their first hit, "Candy Girl", followed by "Mr. Telephone Man", which was the first popular song for the group that featured Brown on primary lead vocals. The early-day hits gave way to their late-80's New Jack Swing-era (during which Brown left and saw massive solo success and Gill joined the band) with the irresistible, "If It Isn't Love". Brown then again took center stage with his masterful slow-jam, "Roni". Gill then followed suit, belting out his jam, "My, My, My".
Mixing it up, the hip-hop trio and New Edition spin-off, Bell Biv Devoe came out and pulled off a cool version of their second smash, "Do Me" (as you can now see that by the 1990s, the guys were no longer seeking a "Candy Girl" or any innocent "Popcorn Love").
New Edition's rejection-filled "You're Not My Kind of Girl" merged into "Hit Me Off", their 1996 reunion song, which led into a string of ballads with "N.E. Heartbreak", "Jealous Girl", (which saw a renewed public interest after its use during a heated moment in the miniseries) and Tresvant's eternally strong vocal stylings really shined during "Is This The End"?
A deeper cut, "My Secret (Didja Get It Yet?)" was sandwiched between mid-80's smashes "Cool It Now" (featuring the iconic "Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky and Mike" line) and "Count Me Out". Brown again manned the spotlight for "Every Little Step", (prior to starting the song, Devoe said that "Every Little Step" was actually written for New Edition, but somehow ended up on Brown's "Don't Be Cruel" album in 1988).
After "Love T.K.O." and "Boys to Men", the remainder of the night focused primarily on solo and side-project material. Tresvant's "Sensitivity" was a great lead into Bell Biv Devoe's "When Will I See You Smile", and then Brown's slow-groove classic, "Rock "Wit'cha".
The slower-tempo mood changed abruptly as the Bel Biv Devoe monster-hit "Poison" erupted the crowd as did Brown's "My Perogative", and Gill's "Rub You The Right Way".
The sextet closed the night out with the endearing, "Can You Stand The Rain"? While Boston waited much too long for New Edition to return, the group more than made up for the long stretch of absence.
1990's sensation, Jodeci, opened with an eight-set performance of their greatest moments, while Charlie Wilson was beyond slick and pumped out many of his solo-career hits. He also brought back great memories revisiting his younger days and peppered in a trio of hits from The Gap Band during his set ("Early in the Morning", "Burn Rubber On Me (Why You Wanna Hurt Me)", and "Outstanding").