New Kids on the Block Thrust Their Packages and Tongued the Crowd at BB&T Center, June 22
Imagine a gauntlet of the most adored boy bands of your generation. Let loose, arrows fly from the crossbows of sex appeal, billions of little pieces of confetti burst from cannons. Pyrotechnics rain down from the heavens, representing the passion of the twelve men on stage. Imagine this dozen singers waging a war on your love.
What really happened at the Package Tour at BB&T Center on Saturday wasn't exactly knight in shining armor type stuff (although there were two Knights in sequined black denim jackets at one point). No, what seemed like the much anticipated tour featuring Boyz II Men, 98 Degrees, and New Kids on the Block proved to be a lot less thrilling than one would imagine for a line up like this -- but then again, this isn't the eighties or the nineties (we double checked).
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It wasn't all disappointment and midlife crisis, but understanding why Boyz II Men were first up to play Saturday evening was no easy feat. The women in the audience were losing their minds over these guys and even New Times was pretty excited for a chance to lay eyes and ears on those smooth talking dudes from Philly. Boyz II Men took the stage at exactly 7:30 p.m., the very moment the show was scheduled to start. How often does that happen? Needless to say, it may have been too early as the stadium was looking a little sparse, though the women who did make it that early certainly filled the void with the same squawking you'd expect from a herd of thirteen year old Bieber fans.
Bouncing from center stage to end stage via a walkway, Boyz II Men were light on their feet and were just as poppy and respectable as they were in the nineties, though they now perform as a trio, and for just forty minutes. They did the dirtiest of work -- warming up the crowd for 98 Degrees.
What were 98 Degrees even doing on this tour and why were they placed smack in the middle of New Kids on the Block and Boyz II Men? As it happens, this was no mistake or misjudgment, though the decision for 98 Degrees to record a new album might be. And that is why the less than agile muscle bound quartet was given such a prime slot in this whole thing, a promotional tool for some comeback.
While Boyz II Men showed no real signs of the delusional midlife crisis we expect from a boy band revival tour, 98 Degrees more than made up for it. For a male pop group wedged between 'NSYNC and Backstreet Boys in the nineties, 98 Degrees did the best they could to make a name for themselves. The only name they made for themselves on Saturday night was "uncomfortable."
The number of times Nick Lachey shouted the phrase "Hey, ladies!" or even just the abbreviated "Ladies!" could make any woman with an even keeled range of hormones consider a sex change. But the crowd wasn't the hormonally stable type. These women were out for blood and 98 Degrees were just shameless enough to act as a sacrifice. But it didn't really seem like it was Lachey blood these women were after. The place thinned out even more during their set, leaving the four dudes on stage stripping down to their undershirts for a quarter of the audience. Their song "Uno Noche" took on a whole new meaning for them here in Fort Lauderdale in 2013.