I’m in the 4th grade and in absolute L-O-V-E with New Edition.
Their posters line the walls – and ceiling – of my bedroom.
I was – and still am – a true fanatic when it comes to NE.
Every morning, I would wake to the smiling faces of Ronnie DeVoe, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins and Ralph Tresvant (Johnny Gill wasn’t in the group yet).
It’s now 30 years later, and the fanaticism has not waned.
Not a single bit.
I spent my birthday with them in June 2012 in Los Angeles.
I still have the program from the first time I saw them in 1989 in Denver.
Now, with all the love and devotion I have for these men of Boston, Mass. and Washington D.C., I was shocked when they hit the stage at the Oracle Arena in Oakland on Aug. 2 and started singing a song I didn’t know.
(Once home, I looked for the song on iTunes and learned it’s called Once in a Lifetime Groove. It is not on any album they’ve released that I own, and I happen to have them all, except those “greatest hits.”)
That is the only time I was caught slipping the entire night.
After NE Heartbreak, it was BBD’s turn to amp up the crowd and get their fast-paced songs out of the way early.
I figured this was because they (and the fans that have been riding with them since day one) are all older, and also because the dance moves are an integral part of the show, it only makes sense to use all your energy up in the beginning so you won’t be ready to pass out at the end.
Next up was (former?) bad boy Bobby Brown.
I became doubly shocked to see even see him on stage.
In case you missed it (click here), while in Southaven, Miss., Bobby apparently couldn’t keep up with rigorous routine NE is known for, and he eventually just walks off stage.
He did not return.
Subsequently, Bobby ended up missing many more tour dates. As was reported by essence.com, he apparently pulled out for medical reasons, so to see him up there dancing in the city where he was kicked out of the group in 1986 was fantastic.
I almost felt like B. Brown was out to prove that he could still hang.
And he did – although it was apparent he was struggling. He did his best while running through On Our Own (from the Ghostbuster’s soundtrack), Good Enough and Roni.
Bobby ended his set the only appropriate way for him – by shouting “I’m Bobby Brown bitches!”
Ralph, then Johnny followed, and both touched on a few of their solo hits including Sensitivity and Fairweather Friend.
Sidenote: Not sure why Johnny did not sing My, My, My. That’s like New Edition not doing Can You Stand The Rain.
Of course I spent the rest of the show on my feet, dancing while the group pulled me back to my pre-teen and teen life.
The highlight for me was singing along to Lost In Love and With You All The Way. Those two songs took me right back to that bedroom with my NE covered walls, where I dreamed of one day meeting the best group ever (in particular Ralph, who was always the one I was going to marry).
Listening to Mr. Telephone Man, this thought ran through my mind, “There are some young ones in this audience who have no idea what they are talking about when they sing, ‘When I dial my baby’s number, I get a click every time.’ “
I am officially like my parents.
Bobby and Johnny tag-teaming Stevie Wonder’s classic All In Love Is Fair was definitely a show highlight. While Johnny has a much stronger singing voice, if they were competing on NBC’s The Voice I would have given it to Bobby, because he held his own.
I could have done without the video tribute of various celebrities giving NE their props. I know it was a time killer, but they could have fit another song or two into the set.
The second time killer was the DJ; however, he created a great club atmosphere and prepared us for BBD’s Poison (always a guaranteed party starter) and NE’s If It Isn’t Love.
This concert solidified for me once and for all that New Edition has, and always will hold a special place in my heart.
Finally: Joe opened for the group and his voice is undeniable as sensual live as it is on his albums. I think he may have regretted venturing into the audience though, because at one point it appeared a fan became just a bit too aggressive and you could tell from his tone that he was not pleased.