Sunday, June 12, 2011

Boston Herald review of NKOTBSB at Fenway

Here is the Boston Herald's review of NKOTB and the Backstreet Boys at Fenway Park:
The weather didn’t cooperate, but it didn’t really matter. New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys — collectively, NKOTBSB — made the most of the downpour at a sold-out Fenway Park on Saturday night in what amounted to an explosive show with a historic feel.

Mayor Thomas Menino and Mark “Marky Mark” Wahlberg, younger brother of NKOTB member Donnie Wahlberg, added to the significance of the night by introducing the two groups, the latter sending the predominantly female crowd into shrieks.

During the 21⁄2-hour show, both groups embraced the deluge by splashing through puddles onstage, engaging in liberal shirt removal and using the stage as a Slip-n-Slide. True, the New Kids are now middle-aged adults, and none of the Backstreet members has been Boys for more than a decade, but that was irrelevant. Both groups seemed to be having as much fun as their devoted fans — if not more.

The New Kids took the first solo slot, running through “Summertime” with synchronized choreography and abs exposure from Joey McIntyre. Both groups alternated onstage but obviously worked in coordination, their fashion choices revolving around sexy suits and fedoras or Boston-themed sports gear, from Bruins jerseys during their joint single “Don’t Turn Out the Lights” to Celtics jerseys during the encore medley of “Hangin’ Tough” and “Everybody” on the Green Monster.

The fact that both groups have a deep stash of hits ranging from angst-ridden ballads to uptempo pop/r & b certainly didn’t hurt the mood.

The Backstreet Boys worked dance numbers such as “The Call,” “Backstreet’s Back” and “Larger Than Life” as well as ballads including “Incomplete,” “Shape Of My Heart,” and the serenade segement “I’ll Never Break Your Heart,” showcasing excellent harmony work led by A.J. McLean and Nick Carter.

NKOTB brought unforgettable hits “You Got It (The Right Stuff),” “Step By Step” and “Please Don’t Go Girl,” with McIntyre on bended knee in the middle of the stage extension, at one point appearing close to tears.

Wahlberg brought a sense of hip-hop swagger to the show, while lead singer Jordan Knight’s brilliant falsetto, particularly during “I’ll Be Loving You Forever” proves that had he been born in another era, he could have had a successful run with The Stylistics.

An appearance by Naughty By Nature for “Hip Hop Hooray” sent the show into overdrive, as all of Fenway Park danced in the rain to one of the most memorable hip-hop songs of the ‘90s. It was no surprise when a fan yelled out “I feel like I’m like 13 again!” The entire show mixed nostalgia with a sense of new life for both groups.

“American Idol” champ Jordin Sparks delivered a strong opening set, closing out with “Battlefield” and the Beyonce-like girl power anthem “I Am Woman.” And even she wore an NKOTB T-shirt.

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