Call it what you want, baby, but I still call it love.
Last night the recently reunited New Kids on the Block played Madison Square Garden in New York City. I personally did not attend; one New Kids show at Alpine Valley in 1989 was enough for me. My sister, however, bought tickets the moment they went on sale six months ago, snuck out of work and caught most of their set.
Most people will probably scoff, roll their eyes or ironically titter at the thought of NKOTB reuniting to tour the world. These guys, after all, are not only has beens, but also New Edition rip-offs, the Elvis to Bobby Brown’s Chuck Berry, who preceded the Boy Band craze of the ’90s. What New Kids on the Block and bands reuniting represent, however, is something more than music, something more emotionally powerful and far more compelling as a lucrative commercial tool. They represent the lure of Nostalgia.
Listening to NKOTB and seeing them perform live in concert isn’t about the now, it’s about the then. Feeling what you felt at the age of 12, lip-syncing the Right Stuff into a flashlight as your microphone, honing the dance, running shoulder to shoulder with a crowd in search of lawn seats at an open outdoor amphitheater. How were the New Kids last night? It doesn’t matter since everyone in the sold-out Garden saw what they wanted to see – a flashback to their adolescence when time and markets didn’t matter. There are no glasses rosier than the bifocals of nostalgia. NKOTB is your fat girlfriend, the one only you can love.