Give the New Kids on the Block this — they can put on a show and they know exactly who that show is for.
That would be the female fans who turned the boy band into the biggest pop act going three decades ago — who made up at least 3/4ths of the 10,000-plus at Pinnacle Bank Arena on Saturday.
“Thirty years strong and all the so-called experts said a boy band could never last that long,” Donnie Wahlberg said while standing in the crowd midway through the show. “Guess what, they were wrong.
“They were right about us. They were wrong about you. They thought you were a bunch of crazy, screaming girls who didn’t know nothin’ about nothin’. They didn’t know you’d grow up to be mothers, doctors, lawyers, governors and someday the president of the United States.”
That led to screams. But so did most everything NKOTB did during the 2-hour-plus “The Mixtape Tour” show.
And it truly was a mix tape — opening with 35 minutes of New Kids, capped by a pose striking “You Got It (The Right Stuff).”
Then out came Tiffany for an extended version of her biggest hit “I Think We’re Alone” and a medley from Debbie Gibson, who came back an hour or so later for an impressive turn on piano on “Foolish Beat” and a killer duet with Joey McIntyre on “Lost In Your Eyes” — the night’s musical highlight.
The rest of the show was sung to a track. The key word there is sung. Unlike many contemporary pop acts, these late-40s/early-50 somethings sang everything.
That meant some bum notes and flat spots. But McIntyre, Jordan Knight and Gibson can still really bring it vocally.
And Salt-N-Pepa have got it too — as they demonstrated on commanding performances of “Whatta Man,” “Let’s Talk About Sex” and “Shoop” — hip-hop hits that still hold up.
The show was smartly presented with two stages — the main stage even looked like a cassette tape — pyro, flames, confetti and streamers all in the first 40 minutes, and multiple trips through the crowd. It also featured sharp choreography and multiple costume changes.
Unquestionably a nostalgic trip — the only new songs were the opener, "The Way You Should Be Loved," “Boys in the Band,” in which NKOTB embraced the boy band heritage with an assist from the Husker dance team, and the group closer “80s Baby.”
But that’s just what the crowd wanted and what NKOTB and friends delivered to screams all show long.