- GRAMMY Live
Welcome to The Set List. Here you'll find the latest concert recaps for many of your favorite, or maybe not so favorite, artists. Our bloggers will do their best to provide you with every detail of the show, from which songs were on the set list to what the artist was wearing to which out-of-control fan made a scene. Hey, it'll be like you were there. And if you like what you read, we'll even let you know where you can catch the artist on tour. Feel free to drop us a comment and let us know your concert experience. Oh, and rock on.
By Nick Krewen
You could feel the romance in the air — the light, confectionary kind — when New Kids On The Block, 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men took the stage June 7 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
It says something about the power of nostalgia when a trio of boy bands — all thought to have had a limited shelf life due to the seemingly throwaway nature of their music — manage to draw 14,000 screaming fans, 90 percent of them female, decades after their popularity first peaked.
Actually, Philadelphia's Boyz II Men aren't really considered a boy band per se, with a number of soulful hits that were popular in the '90s, including the GRAMMY-winning "End Of The Road."
They're down a member since those glory days, but the trio of Wanya Morris, Nathan Morris (no relation) and Shawn Stockman still manage to bring their magnificent harmonies to such hits as "I'll Make Love To You" and "On Bended Knee."
Dressed head-to-toe in white, the trio thrilled the crowd with a short six-song set that reminded fans why they are the R&B ballad kings, while handing out the first surefire prop designed to melt hearts: roses.
After performing their one up-tempo number of the night, "Motownphilly," Boyz II Men gave way to the Nick Lachey-led 98 Degrees, who offered light choreography and the second surefire heart-melting prop: the serenade, during which four women were selected from the audience and treated like princesses as each 98 Degrees member told her how they can't live without her, how she's the one and how they'd live happily ever after.
Recently releasing new music for the first time in 13 years, their well-performed set was split between selections from 2013's 2.0 and hits such as "Invisible Man" and "I Do (Cherish You)," the latter two written or co-written, funnily enough, by Canadians Sean Hosein, Dane DeViller and Dan Hill.
When Boston's New Kids On The Block took the stage, some of the education they garnered from their 2011 pairing with Backstreet Boys served them well.
The first lesson: go big. Lasers, confetti, streamers, and performing on a circular, hydraulic-equipped stage in the middle of the venue within easy grasp of their audience was a politically astute move, but none so much when they actually wandered into the crowd during "Tonight" to press the flesh with their faithful.
The second: continue to tease. NKOTB — Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg, and Danny Wood – endured five costume changes, and a few of them allowed the boys to flash enough beefcake to titillate the ladies in the audience. The pelvic dance thrusts didn't hurt either. And there were a few songs — namely, McIntyre during "Please Don't Go Girl" — where a pause inflicted the proper anticipation for high-octane screaming.
The third: invoke variety. NKOTB's choreography was not only classic, but also fresh and inventive, and gave the Kids a maturity that was missing during their younger years, probably when they didn't have as much artistic control over their performances and were still learning the ropes.
With a cavalcade of hits and a few well-chosen covers (including George Michael's "Faith" and Prince's "Kiss"), NKOTB delivered a dynamic two-hour show that was surprisingly better than one might have the right to expect, revealing that the band — 25 years old in 2013 — has more than a few years of vitality left, and plenty of fans willing to accommodate that journey.
Boyz II Men Set List:
"On Bended Knee"
"Water Runs Dry"
"I'll Make Love To You"
"It's So Hard To Say Goodbye To Yesterday"
"End Of The Road"
98 Degrees Set List:
"Girls Night Out"
"The Hardest Thing"
"Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)"
"I Do (Cherish You)"
"Because Of You"
New Kids On The Block Set List:
"We Own Tonight"
"You Got It (The Right Stuff)"
"Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)"/"Valentine Girl"/"If You Go Away"/"Please Don't Go Girl" (medley)
"Remix (I Like The)"
"Baby, I Believe In You"/"I Remember When"/"Tender Love"/"Click Click Click" (acoustic medley)
"Faith" (George Michael cover)/"Kiss" (Prince cover)/"Hot In Herre" (Nelly cover) (medley)
"Step By Step"
"Sweet Caroline" (Neil Diamond cover)
"I'll Be Loving You (Forever)"
To catch New Kids On The Block, 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men in a city near you, click here for tour dates.
(Nick Krewen is a Toronto-based journalist who has written for The Toronto Star, TV Guide, Billboard, Country Music and was a consultant for the National Film Board's music industry documentary Dream Machine.)