Many adjectives can be used to describe the collective known as New Edition. Consisting of Johnny Gill, Ronnie DeVoe, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ralph Tresvant, and Bobby Brown this quintet has a career spanning 40 years, selling over 20 million records worldwide. (I asked Google ‘how high is 20 million records literally” and Google responded “too damn high to measure girl” lol).
To the post GenX readers these names may not ring a bell, but their influence on American culture is unprecedented. These Boston boys built the map modern boy bands framed themselves upon: New Kids on the Block (fellow Boston boys), Boyz II Men, N’Sync, Backstreet Boys, Another Bad Creation, 112, and One Direction. Influenced the solo careers of Johnny Gill and Bobby Brown. And pushed Bell Biv DeVoe to pop takeover success with their debut single, "Poison," released in 1990. Helped usher in the New Jack Swing era alongside co-creator and mega producer Teddy Riley. Simply put, New Jack Swing starts with a base “sound” and then incorporates ingredients of a pre-existing recording. This can include a sound, a rhythm, a melody, vocal, speech. Basically any “noise” that can be manipulated, edited, rearranged, looped, or chopped up in pieces. It's like using your very favorite flavors, mixing them, then baking the lushest, most melt-in-your-mouth cake of your life.
Beyond music, New Edition influenced pop culture, music videos and dedication of the hustle ($1.87 paycheck after a debut tour will motivate to create). And a very six degrees of separation with the Ghostbusters franchise. Ray Parker, Jr., who sang and wrote the theme song for 1984’s “Ghostbusters”, also wrote “Mr. Telephone Man” which was a hit single for New Edition. Fast forward to 1989 (shoutout Jared) and Bobby Brown’s song, “On Our Own” is featured on the Ghostbusters 2 soundtrack. If you’re a “Real Housewives of Atlanta” fan (shameless fan plug and heyyy Kandi Burruss) Ronnie DeVoe’s wife, Shamari, was a cast member during the show’s eleventh season. Lots of parallelograms and curvatures of time and space and rad information for your next dinner party.
With all the background avenues mapped out, I was not about to miss New Edition’s “Legacy Tour,” especially after their massively successful 2022 tour. Knowing “The Lover in Me” would make her way out, Air Force One’s, a sleeveless black top, and crackled leather leggings was my uniform of choice, essential pieces for me to drop it like it’s hot. Walking into the Heritage Bank Center, the vibe was high and the air was thick with nostalgia and concertgoers were dressed to impress (I see you Gucci tracksuit with the Air Jordans). Everybody was dancing as they walked, eyes connecting and grins shared. Even some fun flirtation (nice to meet you, Ryan).
Johnny, Ronnie, Ricky, Mike, Ralph, and Bobby Brown did not disappoint. Impeccably dressed with Temptations-like choreography hits like “Candy Girl,” “Mr. Telephone Man,” “Cool It Down,” and “Can You Stand the Rain” were performed alongside the hottest, hype dancers who brought that sexy element to the show. DJ Shakim, the official DJ/Turntablist for Bell Biv Devoe and New Edition, was absolutely incredible at bringing the crowd together (definitely worth a visit to his Instagram page @djshakim). Other notable hits performed include “Rub You the Right Way,” “Do Me,” “Every Little Step,” “I Want Her,” and “Don't Be Cruel.” I danced my heart out to every song,
Needless to say, New Edition’s “Legacy Tour” is one of my favorite concerts I’ve attended. The crowd was so fun. I danced my heart out and loved every minute. I am lucky to have had the opportunity to be a part of such a special night. It was an absolute honor.
As the sun rises this morning I will be listening to New Edition and reminiscing.