NKOTBSB at IZOD center: Crotch grabbing, happy fans, and...Naughty by Nature?

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Image Credit: George Pimentel/Getty Images

“It took us 14 years but we did it,” a girl said to her friend, as waves of women filed out of the IZOD center in East Rutherford, NJ, last night after nearly three hours of musical time travel (two stops: 1989 and 1999) courtesy of NKOTBSB, a.k.a. New Kids on the Block + Backstreet Boys.

It hadn’t been long since I last indulged my inner teen; I attended my fourth Backstreet Boys concert at Hammerstein Ballroom last year. But last night’s supergroup affair was, frankly, super. And though the crowd was comprised of more New Kids fans than Backstreet, it didn’t damper the show.

I had heard of some tour stops turning sour because of fan wars, but there was no such pettiness last night—thanks mostly, I believe, to the concert’s structure. After a intro with both groups, New Kids came on stage with “Summertime,” and Backstreet followed with “The Call.” Then New Kids returned with “Dirty Dancing” and so on. The tag-team performances were jarring at first, but if in doing so their intention was to bridge the gap, then mission accomplished. This Backstreet fan left the show a little bit more of a New Kids fan than I was when I walked in.

Meanwhile, each tune was performed with the same energy, crotch-grabbing, and hip-thrusting that turned these groups into teens sensations years ago—and it’s that same formula that seems to work even today. Well, at least it worked on the crowd last night. And most seemed also to enjoy the cameo by New Jersey’s own Naughty by Nature. It mostly left me scratching my head in confusion, however.

In the end, it was an exciting ride through pop history. Both groups reached into their musical pasts (NKOTB unleashed 1988′s “Please Don’t Go,” while BSB turned the clock back to 1995 for “I’ll Never Break Your Heart.”) And it was a ride fans happily took with the once — and, for some, current — objects of their deepest affections. One fan in particular was not shy about her intentions and held up a sign that read: “I’m Legal Now!” Others, chose to make it a family affair. I’m sure the four-year-old propped up on her father’s shoulders as her mother took pictures of Donnie’s shaking rump will remember the moment forever. I know I will.

Other notable moments:
* Jordin Sparks’ opening number. Though much of the crowd had yet to be seated, the onetime American Idol champion, drenched from head to toe in sparkles, fringe, and sequins, delivered a winning performance.
* Donnie Wahlberg ripping his black tank top in half, like he was a comic book character morphing into a creature. Amazing.
* New Kids’ use of the full stage. Five-guy advantage.
* Backstreets’ performance of a lesser-known hit from their early days, “10,000 Promises.”
* Backstreet bringing lucky fans on stage for “I’ll Never Break Your Heart.”
* Whalberg happily submitting his backside to fans’ slaps. See photo here.
* “Don’t Turn Off the Lights.”

WTF moment:
* Naughty By Nature joining both groups on stage. Video coming soon.

RELATED:
20 Best Boy Bands Ever!
NKOTBSB on their blowout summer tour: Watch our exclusive video interview
NKOTBSB album track listing released: Which songs made the cut?
NKOTBSB’s new single ‘Don’t Turn Out the Lights’: Listen (and girlishly swoon) here

Follow Music Mix and Sandra on Twitter: @EWMusicMix and @EWSandraG

Comments (33 total) Add your comment
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  • Chan

    Did you mean “head to toe” instead “tow”?

    • Sandra Gonzalez

      Thanks, Chan!

    • Tabitha

      I was at the show on June 12 at the IZOD center and both bands ROCKED! I love both groups! I want to see them again if I could! A night I will never forget!

      • DB

        Hey Tabitha, do you have any pictures of BSB with their girls during the I’ll Never Break Your Heart serenade that night? (06.12.2011)

  • mms

    I saw them last week, great show… just rocking. People were super excited and let the guys know it

  • Lisa

    I was there too and it was an AMAZING show! I was a kid who loved the New Kids and a total die hard for the Backstreet Boys so this was my version of heaven. I didn’t really understand the Naughty by Nature cameo either, but I did know those two songs. I was instantly transported back to middle school when they started singing OPP. It was the best concert I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot and to various types of music(12 Backstreet Boys shows over the years though). I’ve already purchased tickets for another stop later this summer. Totally agree, Jordin Sparks was fantastic and I’d never heard of her before. She’s a very talented vocalist who can dance too! The other opener was a trainwreck. Her voice was very strained but seemed like a decent dancer. Why any stylist would put a 50pound girl in white tights and a beige bedazzled bodysuit let alone put her in front of thousands female fans like that, I’ll never understand. NKOTBSB was phenomenal and I can’t wait to go to that party again!

    • Erin

      Naughty by Nature was there because a year ago when BSB first joined NKOTB on stage at Radio City Treach was there with his daughter and got called on stage and did hip hop horray. So in honor of the NBN joined them on tour

  • mlb

    I saw them in Baltimore a few weeks ago and had a blast. I was a New Kids fan in high school, but haven’t followed them since the early 90s. And I knew the popular BSB songs, but was never a huge fan (I liked ‘N Sync more, JT is still awesome). I don’t know if they do the same show, but Donnie Wahlberg was the one who ripped his shirt in half at my show, and might I say he and his brother must now go to the same gym :-)

  • Cygnus

    Havent seen that much leather since The Village People and Judas Priest.

  • Erin

    I was lucky enough to catch the show at Fenway the night before the Jersey show and it was by far one of the best concerts I have ever been to! Jordin Sparks was a great opener and I left liking Backstreet more than I did before but Donnie and NKOTB will always have my heart!! I’m trying to go to the AC show in July!!

  • Tina

    I was there too, and it was a great concert. I was also a little confused with Naughty by Nature’s appearance. I thought, however, that it was Donnie Walberg who ripped his tank in half.

  • Julie

    I am going to the concert on Friday in Chicago. I am so excited. I went to see New kids 2 years ago when they started their reunion tour. I have been a huge NKOTB fan for years but was never able to to get tickets. It was a great show and am very excited to see this show. I do like BSB (also a bigger Nsync fan) and will be excited to see them perform live.

  • Trish

    I was at my 1st of 4 NKOTBSB shows at Fenway Park on saturday flying in from California, and i have to say it was the best concert ive ever been to! the fact that it was absolutely pouring made it better!! as to the Naughty By Nature connection it was great to see them back with NKOTB after preforming with them in NY at Radio City Music Hall last year. next up for me is the show at Staples Center!

  • ash

    i was there too and loved every second of it!!!…i am totally a loyal backstreet girl (i havent missed a tour yet) but i too left the show loving the new kids more than when i went into it…im so happy i have tickets for 2 more shows later this summer!!!
    and yes it was definitely donnie who ripped his shirt off

  • Ap

    I thought Naughty by Nature was there because this was in Jersey. I always see Vinnie and KG at the ShopRite.

    I didn’t think Wahlberg was doing this anymore b/c of Blue Bloods….that’s a pretty good show

  • 24yanks

    I was at the Sunday iZod show and it was so much fun. A huge NKOTB fan growing up and then also a fan of BSB music, I thought this was a smart collaboration. I hadn’t heard about fan wars in the other tour stops but I thought that everyone got along well here. I wasn’t able to go to the concerts growing up so now, some 20 years later, it was great to FINALLY be able to see them live!

    • DB

      Hey. Do you happen to have any pictures/video of BSB’s I’ll Never Break Your Heart serenade from the June 12, 2011 NKOTBSB show?

  • steph

    Ugh I LOVE 10,000 Promises! Why I didn’t go to this show I’ll never understand.

  • kevibo75

    i went to see them in DC and there was no fan wars. my friend chad and i thought everyone liked each group with equal affection. personally i thought BSB was the better act vocally while NKOTB was better in choreography. best part for me was when BSB came down the audience .. i got to touch NICK and BRIAN it was awesome!!! i think it was only time i gayed out but the gay guy behind me started to cry . i think this tour is selling out becuz as much as i love the music of today it doesnt resonate with me like when i first heard I WANT IT THAT WAY or danced with all my middle school friends to YOU GOT IT THE RIGHT STUFF .at least for awhile we dont have to think of politics recession woes or how dreary our lives have become…GOOD TIMES BABY!!!

  • Jenny

    I am one of the few NKOTB and BSB fans. Went to the first show in Chicago and it was AWESOME! Total boy band heaven for me. Loved how they went back and forth between both groups so it never felt like it was one groups show over the other.

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