The boy band craze of the late 1980s, '90s and 2000s may be over but for New Kids on the Block (affectionately known as NKOTB), 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men, the love is very much still felt. The supergroups and once teen heartthrobs, all grown up now however, continue to woo arenas full of screaming ladies with their soft, heartfelt ballads, catchy lyrics and gyrating moves.
More than 25 years after forming mega-group New Kids on the Block, the boy band that has sold more than 80 million records worldwide is headlining The Package Tour, which made a stop at Oklahoma City's Chesapeake Energy Arena on Saturday. NKOTB's new tour features the Grammy winning and record breaking R&B vocal group Boyz II Men, along with best-selling, pop/adult contemporary group 98 Degrees.
Brothers, Jordan and Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Donnie Wahlberg and Danny Wood took the stage last and pleased the crowd with classic NKOTB hits from their mega-stardom days of the late 1980s and early 1990s, including “Step By Step,” “Please Don't Go Girl, ” and “You Got it (The Right Stuff).” Songs from their new album 10, released in April, such as “Remix (I Like The)” garnered enthusiastic reactions from their fans, as well as their signature hip-thrusting and retro, falsetto vocals highlighted by choreographed, microphone-stand moves.
Originally a foursome, Boyz II Men is now a trio, featuring baritone Nathan Morris alongside tenors Wanya Morris and Shawn Stockman. The R&B vocal group best known for emotional ballads, a cappella harmonies and “hip hop doo wop” style sang many of their record breaking hits, like “The End of the Road,” “I'll Make Love to You,” “Water Runs Dry,” and “On Bended Knee.” “Motownphilly,” their 1991 debut single and the high-energy, signature early 90s dance moves were an instant crowd-pleaser. As Billboard's fourth most successful musical group of the 1990s, who still holds Hot 100 records, the reaction from the crowds was no less than expected.
Formed in 1997, boy band 98 Degrees has sold over 10 million records, and the Chesapeake Energy Arena audience enjoyed every minute of hits like Their debut single, “Invisible Man,” wedding themed “I Do (Cherish You),” sexy, Latin-beat “Give Me Just One Night (Una Noche)” and breakup song “The Hardest Thing.” The vocalizations and choreography of brothers Nick and Drew Lachey, Justin Jeffre and Jeff Timmons had the ladies on their feet and singing along throughout their set.
New Kids on the Block made special reference to Oklahoma's recent devastating storms, remarking on the strength and perseverance that the state is known for, eliciting an overwhelmingly positive reaction from the entire arena resulting in a deafening applause.
While the days of headlining sold-out tours, releasing record-breaking hit after record breaking hit, and being chased by teenage girls are long gone, NKOTB, Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees personify an era. However, many of those old enough to remember the years of the boy band craze remain devoted fans who still know every word to their songs, just Oklahoma City fans in the Chesapeake Energy Arena did Saturday night.