One thing New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys have down pat is the perfect formula for how to execute a concert with two bona fide headliners.
Such shows usually consist of the separate acts performing together in the beginning and end, with their own sets sandwiched in between. But these former boy-band powerhouses rolled it out differently at their packed concert in front of 11,000 fans Tuesday night at Scottrade Center.
The guys met up at the beginning and end, certainly. But in between, the acts went back and forth, almost dizzyingly so, throughout the 2½-hour show that was as full of confetti, pyrotechnics and crotch-grabbing as it was actual performance.
A painfully bloated intro, with triumphant music blaring, displayed endless photos identifying Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter, A.J. McLean, Brian Littrell and Howie Dorough, followed by New Kids on the Block's Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre, Danny Wood and Donnie Wahlberg, not that it was necessary for this crowd of screaming female fans who stood all night.
Finally, the groups were revealed, posing on raised pedestals, one on the main stage and the other on a connecting stage in the audience, separated by a long, wide catwalk.
The opening mash-up of New Kids on the Block's "Single" and Backstreet Boys' "The One," set to the tune of Coldplay's "Viva La Vida," felt "Glee"-inspired but served as an appropriately rousing starter.
The energy remained high with a fast-moving string of upbeat yet cornball songs such as "You Got It (The Right Stuff)," "Larger Than Life," "Step By Step" and "Shape of My Heart."
Separate ballad suites showcased New Kids on the Block's lineup of "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind)," "If You Go Away" and "Please Don't Go Girl," which easily topped Backstreet Boys' "Show Me the Meaning of Lonely," "Incomplete" and "I'll Never Break Your Heart."
This felt like New Kids on the Block's night, and it was this group that featured the show's star, Wahlberg. During "Cover Girl," Wahlberg, now acting on TV's "Blue Bloods," ripped off his shirt, rubbed it over his body and threw it into the crowd. "Cover Girl" was followed by a version of "My Favorite Girl" that incorporated urban jams "Poison" and "This is How We Do It."
After talking about how hot the weather was, New Kids on the Block teased with Nelly's "Hot in Herre."
After more requisite songs from the groups such as "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" and "I Want It That Way," the band joined forces for joint new song "Don't Turn Out the Lights," and an encore with separate and mash-up versions of "Hangin' Tough" and "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)."
"Glee" star Matthew Morrison's opening set was probably what one should expect from a "Glee" star in concert, which was no big whoop. Morrison might have fared better if he'd decided to stick to his own headlining tour, which was the original plan until he canceled it (including a Fox Theatre show) to join NKOTBSB.