Review: New Kids deliver old, new hits

A reunion 15 years in the making stopped in Charlotte Thursday night.

The New Kids on the Block delivered a solid two-hour set full of hits from the late '80s and early '90s while mixing in a few new songs off their 2008 album, “The Block.”

For loyal fans who have followed Donnie Wahlberg, Jordan and Jon Knight, Joe McIntyre and Danny Wood since their peak, they weren't disappointed.

The first half of the show was vintage NKOTB – the guys standing in a row, mike stands in hand, every lyric choreographed (and, no, Jon still can't dance. But he sure does try).

They kicked things off with a bang, quickly running through “Single” (2008), “My Favorite Girl” (1988) and “You Got It (The Right Stuff)” (1988), without pausing. Credit must also be given to their four-piece band, who packed a lot of sound into the arena and never left the stage.

The show's second half allowed the guys to move a bit more freely on stage and interact with the audience, each other and four female backup dancers.

Despite 15 years apart, the guys still mix together well while showing off their own personalities: Donnie's swagger, Jon's shyness, Danny's b-boy skills, Jordan's goofiness and Joe's flair for the dramatic.

And, while the guys may hover around 40, they can still hit the high notes as both Joe and Jordan proved on “Please Don't Go Girl” and “I'll Be Loving You (Forever).”

(Joe also gave an impressive performance of “Stay the Same,” a hit single from his 1999 solo album.)

Their ages may be catching up to them though – the second half of the show dragged a bit as the group took long breaks between songs. The energy of the crowd seemed to decrease during these pauses, but it didn't take much to get the overwhelmingly female audience screaming again.

Jordan's open-shirted performance of “I Believe in You” certainly got the crowd's attention – the 38-year-old has the body of a 21-year-old.

But the biggest ovations of the night were saved for the group's original hits: “Step by Step” and “Hangin' Tough,” performed during a rousing encore that included fireworks and streamers.

The New Kids – now men – were back, and the audience was thrilled to reminisce with them.