Back on the ol' block

Seems those soccer moms never McIntyre of enormously popular boy bands It’s hard to imagine who would possibly want to attend a New Kids on the Block concert 15 years after they called it quits.

Come on: they’re all pushing 40, one of them shortly from the other side (Jonathan turns 40 next week). They’re at the age where they’re asking their doctors for prostate exams. They were superstars when Justin Timberlake was in kindergarten. Their songs represent a flash in the pan, a moment in time, a bygone age.Same for their new stuff. What is that old saying? That when one grows up, one puts childish things – and Joey McIntyre posters – away?

Obviously this doesn’t apply to fans of New Kids on the Block, which shall henceforth be known as NKOTB to fit the age of acronyms.

Who comes to a NKOTB show in 2008? Soccer moms -– that’s who. Rexall Place was filled with soccer moms last night, 9,800 strong, plus the odd husband/boyfriend in tow. I’m pretty sure the guy with the “Lamb of God” T-shirt didn’t have a Donnie Wahlberg poster on his bedroom wall when he was 14.

His wife did, though. I’ll go with you to Metallica, you come with me to NKOTB, OK, honey? Fifteen years and two other enormously popular other boy bands later, waves of slightly lower-pitched cheers greeted the Kids’ every move on stage last night. Not a single cliché was spared, from plenty of gooshy, heartfelt, on-my-knees romantic ballads to the fizzy dance numbers with artfully flipped hats, to sincere proclamations that Edmonton – not all those other cities – had the best crowd and the best looking women on the entire planet.

All that, plus fireworks, dazzling lights, impeccable choreography and one hit after another presented with the slickest concert production money can buy. Bonus points for a lack of lip-syncing, who cares about the odd off-pitch note?

The old favourites especially sent the ladies into a tizzy. Coming early, You Got It (The Right Stuff) provided a powerful jolt of nostalgia, followed up the gooey ballad Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind). And they did. The soccer moms cheered the opener led by Joey McIntyre (the cute one), they cheered the rabble-rousing Donnie Wahlberg (the tough one), they especially cheered when Jordan Knight (the, um, other cute one) hit a flurry of high notes for the first time, in My Favorite Girl, recorded way back in 1989.

Material from this year’s successful comeback album, The Block, likewise leaves nothing to chance: Songs like Dirty Dancing, Full Service, Stare At You and my personal favourite, Sexify My Love. No guesswork here. Like they say: Know your target market. Mixed with the cheers were gales of laughter. Clearly I wasn’t the only one who couldn’t keep a straight face when Joey or one of the other lads made googly eyes at the cameras, bedroom eyes projected onto enormous video screens. But were the women laughing at the ridiculous spectacle of a guy in his late 30s acting like a lovesick teenager – or were they laughing at their own unexpected reaction? It was hilarious and entertaining. It’s not so unexpected, I guess. Many of the soccer moms were ready for these “men on the block.” They wanted to relive their youth. Who doesn’t?

Some came dressed in full ’80s regalia, lined up 100 deep at the merch booth for overpriced NKOTB T-shirts, a memento of an unforgettable time to witness the comeback of the original boy band, the boy band to which all others owe a huge debt.

Will they go away again? Will this madness blow over? I don’t think so. As long as women dig mature guys, NKOTB will have a job to do. The great thing about pop superstars with lots of money is that they often bring along opening acts you’d never see anywhere else: In this case British pop queen Natasha Bedingfield, who sang her ass off, and Lady Gaga, who showed off hers.

No quibble with Natasha, whose serviceable pop songs provide the perfect flash in the pan for our times. She is, as I mention, one hell of a singer. First up was a lively euro-dance act – or whatever the hell they’re calling it – called Lady Gaga. This was more of a soft-core porn movie in concert, with plenty of bump and grind with a quartet of male dancers.

Again, who exactly is she being sexy for in an arena full of women? It’s all so terribly confusing

http://www.edmonton nment/Music/ 2008/11/19/ 7468336.html