New kids, old moves, and songs best blocked out
New Kids on the Block
The O2, Dublin
With the honourable exception of Take That, boyband reunions haven't exactly set the world on fire. The back tiers of the cavernous O2 are curtained off for appearances, yet the turnout still looks poor.
Partly to blame is the fact that even at the peak of their 80 million unit selling fame, Europe was decidedly non-plussed about NKOTB, even though they were megastars in the US. The intro video footage attempts to inject some melodrama, "15 years ago they walked away. Tonight the Block is back." After the customary razzmatazz and lift to the stage, they launch into their debut hit from 1986 'Be My Girl'.
Pop and R'n'B has come a long, long way since then, and NKOTB sound horribly dated. 'My Favourite Girl' doesn't fare much better and it's not until 'The Right Stuff' that the show really comes alive.
At least they make an effort to actually play live with a band, which considering a lip-synch controversy in 1992 is pretty impressive.
However, it matters little when you've got material this bad. Justin Timberlake and scores of his contemporaries boast production and presentation values that show this up for the hammy cabaret it is.
Monster hits like 'Step by Step' and 'Hangin' Tough' do little to redeem this and a new song entitled 'Dirty Dancing' is so bad it should be banned.
When NKOTB tour the States later this spring they'll probably get the capacity crowds they need.
With a bit of luck they'll stay there.