Review: The Total Package Tour 2017

Last night my neighbor (and beta/swag/wine kitty), Laura, went to go see the Total Package 2017 tour featuring Boyz II Men, Paula Abdul, and NKOTB.

**Disclaimer: Neither Laura and I were there for NKOTB. Although we grew up with them, we were never really fans. Both of us wanted to see the other two acts. We were in a very clear minority. In fact, I think we were the only ones.**

We got to the show a little late thanks to my GPS being less than helpful and telling me to turn right ten feet before I needed to make the turn, with four lanes of traffic to cross to do so. I ended up circling the block, finally finding a parking garage that cost twenty dollars (that was almost as much as my damn ticket!). We found the row our seats were on at just the right time, because just as I was looking for the seat numbers, the lights went out.

It was almost like Boyz II Men were waiting for us to show. (Shut up. It’s my story, and that’s what I choose to believe.)

All three acts were quite different, so I’ll address them one at a time.

Boyz II Men

My friend Jennifer got me into the Boyz back in high school. I was so excited to get the chance to see them, even if my seats were up in the nosebleeds (hell, Jen has met them, but I digress). Actually, I bitch about the seats, but save for being high up and missing out on when NKOTB was in the audience, they had an excellent view. Can’t complain.

These three guys, just wow. Shawn had a little issue with the sound, and redid the final note from “On Bended Knee” three times before he was satisfied.

Truth be told, the sound was all kinds of jacked up. You really couldn’t understand many of the lyrics because of the way they had the sound. Someone needs to be let go from their job because of that travesty.

There was one point where we were all singing along, and it was obvious that the vast majority of the crowd was female. (I mean, of course it was, it was an NKOTB show, after all.) But for some reason I found it humorous.

Of course they sang, “I’ll Make Love To You” and it was so mind-numbingly hot. Just these three guys wandering the stage with roses in their hands, handing them to audience members, while the stage was all lit with red lights. I mean, the song is crazy hot to start with, but that just made it an extra level of sizzle that I swear to you will end up in a future book. Watch.

Their set was too short for my liking, but reference the disclaimer at the beginning of this post. I was more there for them, so they could have done an hour and a half and I’d have been happy.

Paula Abdul

First of all, if you didn’t know Paula Abdul is crazy short, you haven’t been paying attention. It was easy to lose her among the backup dancers if you weren’t paying attention.

She had several costume changes, which meant a bit of downtime between songs. Eh. No biggie really. It more just built up the hype of, “what’s she going to wear now?”

I’m 99.9 percent sure that she was lip-syncing. I mean, come on, look at how she dances at the shows, it makes sense. At one point she tried to engage the audience and the mic was just not right at all and you could barely make out her mousy voice (yet it came through the songs just fine). Hence my deduction.

The real winner of this part of the show was Paula’s videographer. The video screen was so well-integrated into her performance, to the point that before “Opposites Attract” she was doing a little “Singing in the Rain” number, and her “prop” umbrella was actually on the screen. And, of course, so was Scat Cat. He was really who I was there to see. Haha.

She only sang the few hit singles she had, no real surprises. But dear Lord, the woman is in her fifties and still looks amazing and moves with grace. Kudos.

New Kids On The Block

I’ve heard Taylor Swift in interviews talking about how she tries to write songs that she won’t be embarrassed to sing twenty years from now.

Let’s just say, NKOTB, they’re in that phase where they look back on those early songs and realize just how stupid they were. At the end of the show, we got a complete montage where they went through each of the albums, putting up pics from back in the day and they just had fun with it. Embarrassing or no, they rolled with it, and I applaud them for being able to make fun of themselves along the line.

The montage even included a song from the Christmas album, to which one of the guys—it was a J guy, so Jordan, Joey, or Jon, I’m not sure which because I’m not a fan—forgot the words and they picked on him for the whole song.

The funniest part of the night was they sang “Happy Birthday” and brought a girl out on stage and Donnie said, “Now we’re going to do something that in the history of the world has never been done. Jordan Knight is going to sing to a girl.”

The guys are all well-built now, as opposed to what they looked like as scraggly teens. As such, they know exactly what the women in the audience wanted and there were several instances of abs on display. New Strippers on the Block. That’s it. They need a residency in Vegas, and that’s what they’ll call it.

Overall, it was a decent set, despite the fact I didn’t know the words to most of the songs. All we wanted was “Hangin’ Tough” and dear Lord did it seem to take forever to get there. But the girls who were teenagers in the nineties that surrounded me didn’t seem to mind one bit.



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