The Wonder Twins have a confession to make: During a dark and confusing period that spanned sixth and seventh grade, D’Anne and Laura were huge New Kids On The Block fans. If a piece of NKOTB merchandise existed, we owned it
probably in multiples: T-shirts; buttons both large and small; magazines; books; sheets; posters; dolls; every release on vinyl and/or cassette
So when we heard that the New Kids were playing the Palace of Auburn Hills last Saturday night (October 25th), we knew it was essential to do a Wonder Twins review. However, the proper channels apparently disagreed. Although we tried the PR company, the concert promoter and the venue, all of them shut us down or ignored our requests. So as a last ditch effort, Laura posted a plea on MySpace begging for tickets. Lo and behold, Laura received a surprise phone call, which led to a pair of premium suite tickets left under a doormat in Hamtramck. Twenty years after seeing Danny, Donnie, Joe, John and Jordan open for Tiffany at Pine Knob, D’Anne and Laura were back on The Block.
D’Anne: So Laura, who was your favorite New Kid On The Block?
Laura: I never cared for them.
D: You are a liar. You cried when Donnie got arrested for setting that hotel carpet on fire, you said you would be waiting for him when he got out of prison.
L: I think you’re making that up. But even if that’s true, at least my favorite New Kid wasn’t Danny.
D: I am not ashamed of this fact. And I still resent people calling him the ugly New Kid. He was cute back then.
L: Well, you’ve apparently always had a thing for monkeys.
D: My current fondness for monkeys and my adolescent thing for Danny are not related.
L: Whatever you say. So mad props to Angela for getting us tickets to the show.
D: Yes. She is our New Kids angel.
L: I would have settled for nosebleed seats. Little did I know that we would end up in some fancy VIP suite right next to the stage.
D: With free soda, bottled water, popcorn and stale cookies. Oh, and a private bathroom. I hate having to pee with the commoners.
L: That whole set up just added to an already surreal evening, from the moment we got into the parking lot...
D: Which costs $15 dollars to park in. For that price, I want my oil changed while I’m at the show. Or at least a tire rotation. Anyway, as you were saying
L: As soon as I saw all of the mini vans plastered with “NKOTB” graffiti and women decked out in paraphernalia, I realized that although we were coming at this from sort of an ironic nostalgia angle, these people were not fucking around. These ladies meant it.
D: Exactly. These were the hardcore fans from 20 years ago, only now a lot of them smoke and can drink legally and have kids and divorces under their belts.
L: One of my biggest burning questions was immediately answered as we walked in the door and saw the merchandise table: Will they be bringing the giant New Kids button back?
D: Indeed. For $10. you could pin on a dessert-plate-sized picture of your favorite New Kid.
L: I was astounded at the number of people who had on several of those, both ones they’d just purchased and from their old collection.
D: A lot of ladies were rocking the early ‘90s look. For most, it was an unfortunate choice.
L: Agreed. I think some of them were just desperate to prove that they could still fit into their old New Kids On The Block shirts. Many of them were fooling only themselves!
D: That’s mean. True. But mean.
L: So the Palace was packed. It had to be close to sold out.
D: I was surprised. It’s kind of hard to understand how there can be enough NKOTB fans in the world to fill the Palace, let alone in Michigan.
L: Well clearly we are operating in a parallel universe than the rest of the population.
D: The screaming when the group came onstage was insane. It was orgiastic. I think it caused the thousands of women in the crowd to spontaneously ovulate.
L: Thank god they had free earplugs for us in our posh little suite.
D: I like how you handed me a pair and said, “We’re not going to go deaf listening to these bitches scream.”
L: The new song they opened with, “Single,” sounds exactly like that Coldplay song, “Vida la Vida.” It’s like the Creaky Boards are under attack.
D: The new New Kids stuff isn’t bad.
L: If you like generic over produced pop schlock, well, yeah.
D: I mean compared with the old stuff. They haven’t gotten any worse.
L: Well, Jordan’s voice has.
D: Yeah, that’s true. He was really reaching for those high notes, literally wincing during “Favorite Girl.” It was pretty clear when he was and was not lip-syncing.
L: So you call lip-syncing during the show?
D: Oh, no doubt. Jordan’s solo “Give It To You” was all lip-synch. And Donnie was definitely lip-syncing on “Grown Man.” Remember, the one where they sang, “Give you some grown man,” and pointed to their wieners?
L: I don’t remember that.
D: You don’t remember that? It was part of the dance routine. They did it like five times.
L: Was that when Donnie’s fly was seemingly purposefully unzipped?
D: I think so. Donnie’s voice was clearly all vocodered.
L: You know what song still sucks? “Cover Girl.”
D: True. Remember when it started and Donnie thought “Cover Girl” was an emo song for a second?
L: I almost wish he had kept that going because anything would have been better than the original. Talk about putting lipstick on a pig!
D: Sarah Palin was not at the concert.
L: Not that we know of.
D: True. She’s probably a fan. She would have liked Donnie’s excessive butt wiggling and how he told the ladies in the crowd to go home and fuck their husbands. Traditional family values at work.
L: Plus, with that goatee he does look a little like Todd Palin.
D: What was your favorite part of the show?
L: What was your favorite part of the show?
D: I asked you.
L: I really don’t know.
D: I’d say the crowd. Watching thousands of doughy white arms sway in unison along to “Hanging’ Tough” was pretty amazing. Kind of sad, too.
L: I would agree with that.
D: Way to think for yourself!
L: Just knowing that the New Kids are able to stir people up into such a frenzy and that people still like them was kind of an astonishing realization for me. Because I saw New Kids as sort of a gateway to getting into music. We didn’t have older siblings who had records we could steal. Most of the people I know that never got into New Kids had cool older siblings who said, “No, no, no. Don’t listen to that shit.”
D: For me, the New Kids were something safe to latch onto during that horrible self-hating adolescence period. Like a security blanket, kind of. And I don’t have any desire to go back to that time in my life. Not for anything. So either the Palace was full of women who still hate themselves or women who’ve managed to transcend that without developing good taste in music.
L: For the sake of humanity, I’m going to hope it’s the latter. Even though that doesn’t make me feel much better about humanity.
D: I think it is the latter. But I still don’t relate to 30 year olds with glow bracelets and puffy-painted “I’ll Be Loving Jordan Forever” T-shirts.
L: That’s probably because you don’t like boys.
D: Well, true. And neither do you. Maybe this music sounds really good to straight ladies.
L: If we don’t get hate mail for this review, I’m going to be so pissed. —D’Anne and Laura Witkowski
New Kids On The Block: No longer "new" or "kids"...
New Kids On The Block: No longer "new" or "kids"...