Saturday, January 19, 2008
LEGENDARY GROUP'S LIVE DVD HAS FAMILY AND INTIMATE FEELING
R&B Legends New Edition has been making an impact on music for the past twenty-five years with their singing, rapping, classy and hip wardrobe and their slick and smooth choreography. They’ve also became the first male group to achieve success as a group and with their solo projects, paving the way for Boyz II Men, B2K and Destiny’s Child, who would follow in the legendary group’s career footsteps, but while the two latter group’s have broken up, the Bad boys from Boston are still playing to sold out shows around the world, and their current and long awaited DVD “Spend The Night With New Edition” proves that they still have what it takes to maintain longevity.
The DVD which was filmed at the University of South Carolina isn’t just the typical DVD which shows the concert footage, it has a historic and family feel that has viewers feeling that they’re at the concert with the group thanks to the interviews with fans and entertainers Guy Torrey, Anthony Anderson, Monica, Arsenio Hall, Cedric The Entertainer, Elise Neal and Shawn Stockman from Boyz II Men between the group‘s performances.
The DVD opens with a mini movie of two guys traveling through the streets of Boston looking to purchase some merchandise which turns out to be copies of their DVD, followed by a preview of their upcoming mini-series, featuring a group of young kids portraying the original line-up, riding their bicycles to meet with their chorographer and current manager Brook Payne for rehearsal where he comes up with their name and routines. Then they clips of the group rehearsing is shown, leading to Ronnie De Voe, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell, Mike Bivins, & Ralph Tresvant appearing at a press conference speaking about their foundation and plans to help underprivileged families. The concert finally begins with current member Johnny Gill singing “Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky Mike, Ralph, Johnny too,” and without missing a beat, they appear on stage wearing white suits with red handkerchiefs performing their 1991 pre-reunion hit “Word To The Mutah” with Gill singing Brown’s part, followed by “Crucial”, and “You’re Not My Kind of Girl”, which features smooth vocals by Tresvant, Gill and Bell and funky live breaks from their four-piece band, playing in synch with their cheorgraphy. Especially at the end of the song when each members of the group bow individually. N.E. then takes the crowd down memory lane with a medley of their hits “Candy Girl,” “Popcorn Love” and “Jealous Girl” where Gill introduces Brown who walks down the stair case in the middle of the stage to sing lead, making the audience go crazy. What makes this performance the group harmony and vibe that shows the bond they have, further displayed while performing “Mr. Telephone Man” where the group stand behinds Bivins while he performs the famous spoken segment to the ladies in the front row.
They then launch into “Count Me Out” and “Cool It Now” where Ralph asks the crowd to sing the famous rap of ’Ronnie, Bobby Ricky and Mike. If I love the girl who cares who you like!” and compliments hem for who good they sound. They launch into “A Little Bit of Love (Is All It Takes) which has a Caribbean feel courtesy of the bass and their classic “Is This the End”, which features a call and response between Ralph and Ricky which earns the group a standing ovation.
While their DJ is setting up, Ronnie appears on stage wearing a Black fitted cap and introduces the group who receives loud rounds of applause and backs up him, Ricky and Mike who perform their sexy hit “Do Me” which has the audience out their seats. Especially when Mike performs the song’s famous line 'Move to the jacuzzi. Ooh that booty smack it up, flip it rub it down. Oh No!' Then Bobby takes center stage to perform his top charting anthem “My Prerogative” and in true Brown fashion, he changes the lyrics, and opens his shirt showing his muscular chest and belly, reminding the audience he’s still the bad boy of R&B. While the group is changing into black suits, Ralph appears on stage to perform his solo hit “Sensitivity” with an open shirt displaying his six pack, keeping the ladies attention during this intimate performance which features him performing in front of a silver curtain, ad-libbing the melody of the DNA/Suzanne Vega classic “Tom’s Diner” and jumping into the audience and dancing with the ladies including one of his biggest fans, before rejoining the group to perform their radio hit “Boys To Men” where Johnny adds Gospel flavor to the song ad-libbing ‘It’s alright throughout the performance and performing his trademark riff before the group launches into his solo hit “My, My My” which has smooth harmonizing and dancing from the group while Johnny has his divo moments by taking off his suit jacket, unbuttoning his shirt, scatting and hitting high and powerful notes, showing the audience that true singing comes from the heart.
The group then grabs the audience in their palm of their hands, while putting on their cowboy hats and performing their top charting ballad “Can You Stand the Rain” which has the audience in tears. Making this performance touching and sensual are the vocals, Belli singing falsetto, Bivin’s famous rap ‘Come on baby. Let’s get wet for New Edition” and a call and response between Tresvant and Gill, who later begins preaching and speaking about the power of God.
The group slows down the pace by sitting on stool and backing Ricky while he showcases his soulful and opera singing style on “Smile Again” as well as joking about how the ladies in Japan called him ‘Licky” during their Japanese tour. They perform their comeback hit “If It Isn’t Love” with Brown hyping the crowd from backstage. For the finale, the group performs BBD’s classic hit “Poison,” which has the audience wanting more.
New Edition’s DVD was hot. I liked how they included incorporated their solo hits along with their hits recorded as a group, but it would have been better if they would have performed “My Secret,” “I'm Leaving You Again" "Hit Me Off, “and “I’m Still In Love With You.” Those songs would have made the show complete, but the DVD was nice to watch, and it shows that Ronnie, Bobby Ricky, Mike, Ralph and Johnny still has the moves and voices that made them famous and transferred them from boys to men.