Boy band crushes are a rite of passage for many teens; there's a whole generation who grew up in the late 1980s and early 1990s who swooned for classic groups like New Kids on the Block, 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men. With "The Package Tour," all three bands are hitting the road together this summer -- and on Friday they visited Rockefeller Plaza and TODAY to thrill grown fans and impress a whole new generation.
The groups aren't just close not just as musicians -- they're friends as well. As New Kids singer Donnie Wahlberg noted, Boyz II Men canceled a photo shoot to be able to join the New Kids in Boston for last night's Boston Strong concert at Boston's TD Garden.
"It's a mutual respect, a love for each other," said Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men. "It's no egos."
And the Boston Strong concert? "It was unlike anything we've ever done in our careers," said Wahlberg. "It was just overwhelming."
So what about trying to get into the act again after so long? For 98 Degrees' Nick Lachey, it's like riding a bike. "We definitely have grown up a little bit over the last 12 years, but when you get back together and you start singing together again it all falls back into place," he said.
And speaking of falling into place, all three bands got their time on the TODAY concert stage, with New Kids (Wahlberg, Danny Wood, Jordan Knight, Jonathan Knight, Joey McIntyre) kicking things off. Clad in white jackets, T-shirts and black pants (coordinated, like their dance moves), they did a medley of two of their biggest hits -- "Step By Step" from 1990 and "You Got It (The Right Stuff)" from 1988.
Later, 98 Degrees (Lachey, Justin Jeffre, Jeff Timmons, Drew Lachey) took the stage dressed like casual lounge singers, bow ties loose and collars open, and sang "The Hardest Thing," their No. 5 hit from 1999 -- a tune so catchy even TODAY's Natalie Morales could be spotted in the crowd singing along.
Boyz II Men (Nathan Morris, Wanya Morris, Stockman) wrapped up the initial sets -- also in matching outfits, but mainly in white shirts with rolled-up sleeves -- and launched into "Motownphilly," their No. 3 hit from 1991, the song that regularly checks the band's name. They got the crowd to sing along -- even some of the New Kids could be spotted getting funky with the tune.
Later on, the New Kids returned for another tune, "Hangin' Tough," their breakthrough hit from 1988. Quite a morning for fans of all ages!