The “Total Package Tour” with three of the top pop acts of the 1990’s rolled into the Key Bank Center in Buffalo NY last Friday and it was a throwback to 30 years ago. New Kids on the Block, Paula Abdul, and Boyz II Men filled the arena with a songbook of hits and some brand new tunes sure to please long-time fans. The arena was full of middle-aged moms introducing their daughters to their heroes. Young fans back in the 80’s are now grown with families and the night was a trip back to their youth.

Boyz II Men opened the show with a hit list of songs that ruled the charts in the early 90’s. “Thank You/Motownphilly” had the crowd on their feet early. The Boyz have not lost a beat since they made these recordings. Lead vocals swung from Nathan Morris to Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman. The fourth original member, Michael McCary, left the group in the 90’s due to health problems. Hits like “Down on Bended Knee” and I’ll Make Love to You” saw the crowd swooning and singing along with the band. Dance routines accompanied every song. While they were a bit slower than intheir youth, fans did not seem to care. A show highlight was the tribute song “Mama”. Wanya took the lead with his crooner style singing that delighted the crowd. They ended their set with the appropriate “End of the Road” which left the crowd screaming for more.

Next up was Paula Abdul. Her set relied heavy on the tech and special effects during her whole show. This gave it the feel of a big production music video. Large video screens showed images of Paula from early in her career blended with her on stage with her dance crew. Every song was like this which included synchronized dancing and lighting. Paula was in fine form, strutting and dancing like she was young again. Opening with “The Way That You Love Me” elicited ooh’s and aah’s from the crowd as Paula appeared and sang and danced her way across the stage. “Singin’ in the Rain” was a tribute to Gene Kelly who was her inspiration as a young girl. The number featured a video that Paula danced to that duplicated the famous scene of Kelly dancing in the rain. Closing the show with the hits “Straight Up” and “Forever Your Girl” had the crowd on their feet dancing along with Paula.Being her first tour in over 20 years, Paula seemed to have no trouble performing some difficult dance routines.

Headliner New Kids on the Block had the original line up of Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Joe McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, and Danny Wood. The “Kids” are now grown men with families. Thirty years after their massive success, they are back onstage, promoting a new EP album, “Thankful” whose title tune video is a tribute to their super-loyal fans who have accepted them back into popularity. Opening the show with “One More Night,” it was clear from the start NKOTB still had it. Their voices were clear and strong.

A huge setlist followed, with 3 “Acts” spanning their entire career from their first hits to their new EP. Crowd interaction was heightened with secondary stages on the floor where fans could literally reach out and touch them. Each took turns in the spotlight with crowd favorites Jordan and Joe getting the loudest reaction. Their hit “This One’s For The Children” off their 1987 Christmas album, saw the guys get a big reaction as the crowd stood and sang along. Closing with a trio of their biggest hits “Step by Step,” “I’ll Be Loving You Forever” and “Hangin’ Tough” NKOTB stood tall among the screaming crowd while pouring their heart into the dancing and singing. The crowd erupted with an extra long send-off of more screams and applause.

The night  was a replay for the older audience and an introduction for the younger fans who will certainly remember this show for what performers NKOTB have become.

 

New Kids On The Block Setlist:

Act 1 The Beginning:

 

One More Night

Favorite Girl

Dirty Dancing

Right Stuff

Block Party

Tonight

Summertime

Cover Girl

Whisper

 

Act 2 Storytellers:

Stop It Girl

Be My Girl

I Wanna Be Loved By You

Didn’t I Blow Your Mind (Delfonics Song)

Call It What You Want

Valentine Girl

Happy Birthday

You Got The Flavor

Dirty Dawg

Never Let You Go

If You Go Away

Peace To The World

This One’s For The Children

Still Sounds Good To Me

Hard

Single

Please Don’t Go Girl

 

Act 3 The Close

Step By Step

I’ll Be Loving You Forever

Hangin’ Tough

 

Paula Abdul Setlist:

The Way That You Love Me

Cold Hearted Snake

Singin’ In The Rain (Gene Kelly song)

Opposites Attract

Promise of a New Day

Rush, Rush

Vibeology

Straight Up

Forever Your Girl

Boyz II Men Setlist:

Thank You/MotownPhilly

Down On Bended Knee

It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye

Water Runs Dry

Are You Going My Way

AmericanWoman (Guess Who song)

Locked Out Of Heaven

I’ll Make Love To You

In The Still Of The Night (The Five Satins song)

Mama

One Sweet Day

End of the Road

Photo Gallery

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j.saccomanno@backstageaxxess.com'

About The Author Joseph Saccomanno