Gig review: New Kids On The Block @ Manchester Apollo
How do you top young upstarts One Direction performing to 60,000 screaming teens at the Etihad Stadium?
Easy, by performing a 26 year back catalogue of classic boyband hits and then some.
The American five-piece New Kids on the Block opened strongly with Crash, which wouldn’t sound out of place on a David Guetta album and the Bruno Mars-alike Remix.
Manchester Blockheads showed their devotion by booing the mere mention of their British pop successors by original ‘cute one’ Joey McIntyre, who wisely changed his mind about crooning a 1D song.
“Really? You’re 40 and you’re booing a boyband?” he laughed incredulously, prompting yet more boos.
But the crowd here knew what they wanted.
The Boston heartthrobs had hands waving and pulses racing along to their reggae-tinged comeback song Summertime before bringing out the big gun early with their signature smash (You Got It) The Right Stuff.
Those who saw New Kids in concert back in the day delighted in a medley of their romantic favourites Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time), Valentine Girl followed and The Jackson 5’s I’ll Be There.
Nostalgia seekers will recall that Joey and Danny performed this together at the band’s 1990 Long Island concert, immortalised on their Step by Step VHS. I adored this so much I had two copies just in case I ever lost one. And just when we thought it was all too much they made a surprise appearance in the top circle, causing mass hysteria and chair climbing to get to them. One girl got so carried away, she got carried away by security.
They paid homage to other boy bands with covers of Backstreet Boys’ I Want It That Way, Take That’s Back For Good and Robbie Williams’ Rock DJ. George Michael’s Careless Whisper and Prince’s Kiss also got the NKOTB treatment, Joey in particular showing off his fine Broadway-honed vocals to give them a new flavour.
Then we were back with a return to a collection of the New Kids’ best songs Please Don’t Go Girl, Step By Step, Cover Girl, Games and I’ll Be Loving You Forever.
And we finished Boston-style with a stomping rendition of Hangin’ Tough.
They may have had competition from One Direction down the road but for us 30 and 40-somethings, the original modern boyband will always be the best.