Concert Review: New‎ Kids‎ on‎ The‎ Block‎ Mixtape‎ Tour – Amway Center, Orlando FL

When‎ we‎ heard‎ New‎ Kids‎ were‎ touring‎ with‎ the‎ likes‎ of‎ Salt-N-Pepa,‎ Debbie‎ Gibson,‎ Tiffany‎ and‎ Naughty‎ By‎ Nature,‎ we‎ just‎ new‎ we‎ had‎ to‎ be‎ there!‎ This‎ was‎ the‎ show‎ that‎ all‎ girls,‎ and‎ boys,‎ who‎ grew‎ up‎ in‎ the‎ 80s,‎ only‎ dreamed‎ about!‎ The Amway Center in Orlando, FL was hopping and all of the performers were on fire and the energy was just unbelievable. This‎ show‎ did‎ not‎ disappoint!

Illtown‎ Sluggaz‎ made‎ sure‎ the‎ crowd‎ was‎ pumped‎ as‎ they‎ played‎ a‎ set‎ of‎ songs‎ every‎ person‎ at‎ Amway‎ could‎ sing‎ and‎ dance‎ along‎ to!‎ When‎ New‎ Kids‎ came‎ out,‎ they‎ kept‎ that‎ energy‎ going‎ until‎ their‎ final‎ bow! New‎ Kids‎ set‎ included‎ hits‎ like:‎ “Dirty‎ Dancing,”‎ “Hangin’‎ Tough,”‎ “Remix,”‎ and‎ “Block‎ Party.”‎ Throughout their‎ sets,‎ Debbie‎ Gibson‎ and‎ Tiffany‎ took‎ to‎ stages‎ A‎ and‎ B‎ and‎ each‎ took‎ turns‎ singing‎ their‎ hits.‎ Salt-N-Pepa‎ came‎ out‎ and‎ absolutely‎ brought‎ the‎ house‎ down‎ with‎ their‎ hits‎ :‎ “Push‎ It,”‎ “Whatta‎ Man,”‎ “Let’s‎ Talk‎ About‎ Sex,”‎ and‎ “Shoop.”‎ Naughty‎ By‎ Nature‎ got‎ the‎ crowd‎ hyped‎ with‎ “O.P.P,”‎ “Jump‎ Around,”‎ and‎ “Hip‎ Hop‎ Hooray.”‎ 

The‎ entire‎ tour‎ came‎ out‎ at‎ the‎ end‎ to‎ sing‎ along‎ to‎ “80s‎ Baby”‎ and‎ man‎ it‎ was‎ fun‎ watching‎ this‎ group‎ enjoy‎ being‎ on‎ stage‎ together!‎ The‎ concert‎ was‎ great‎ as‎ every‎ act‎ sang‎ throughout‎ the‎ entire‎ show.‎ The‎ energy‎ levels‎ never‎ dropped‎ and‎ the‎ fun‎ never‎ stopped!‎ This‎ concert‎ was‎ incredible!‎ Here’s‎ to‎ many‎ more‎ mixtape‎ tours!!

New Kids on the Block Announce The Mixtape Tour With Very Special Guests Salt-n-Pepa, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson and Naughty by Nature

RELEASE NEW TRACK
80s BABY
FEATURING ALL TOUR ACTS:
SALT-N-PEPA, NAUGHTY BY NATURE, DEBBIE GIBSON & TIFFANY

Tickets On Sale to the General Public Starting Friday, October 12
American Express® Presale Begins Tomorrow

NEW YORK, NY (October 8, 2018) – Today New Kids On The Block, the multiplatinum selling pop super-group, unveiled an epic lineup for their highly anticipated 2019 tour. NKOTB took to the Today Show plaza to reveal The MixTape Tour with very special guests Salt-N-Pepa, Tiffany, Debbie Gibson and Naughty by Nature. The five iconic pop and hip-hop acts will hit the road together for the first time ever on a 53-city tour across North America next summer.

Tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, October 12th at Ticketmaster.com. American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public beginning Tuesday, October 9th at 10am local time through Thursday, October 11th at 10pm local time.

To celebrate the event, NKOTB surprised fans by dropping an epic, throwback track, “80s Baby” featuring their new touring partners, Salt-N-Pepa, Naughty By Nature, Debbie Gibson and Tiffany. The track takes listeners on a nostalgic yet refreshingly modern and fun ride through 80s song references and fresh verses- just a small glimpse into the party that will be The MixTape Tour. Stream the song HERE.

With over 100 million combined records sold worldwide, NKOTB, Salt-N-Pepa, Naughty by Nature, Tiffany and Debbie Gibson will fill arenas with hit after hit when they take to the stage next summer. Always upping the ante, NKOTB have packaged the ultimate lineup for a once in a lifetime live show experience. The group will return to the stage after 2018’s touring hiatus to perform fan favorite number one hits like “Hangin’ Tough,” “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever),” and “Step By Step”. When tour mates Salt-N-Pepa, Debbie Gibson, Tiffany and Naughty by Nature hit the stage, they bring with them top chart hits and legendary catalogues to keep fans out of their seats all night. The tour is sure to be one of the can’t miss events of the summer featuring an unforgettable night full of smashes spanning across generations.

NKOTB made the announcement on the heels of their SOLD OUT Apollo Theater show celebrating the 30th anniversary of their hit packed, breakout album Hangin’ Tough. The special one night only engagement sold out within minutes of onsale and saw NKOTB gracing Harlem’s famed Apollo stage for the first time since they debuted “Please Don’t Go Girl” at the Apollo’s notoriously tough amateur night. The career defining album, Hangin’ Tough produced hits like “Please Don’t Go Girl,” “You Got It (The Right Stuff)”, “I’ll Be Loving You (Forever)”, and “Cover Girl.” The crowd erupted when the band confirmed on stage that Hangin’ Tough will get a special anniversary re-issue in early 2019 with new, never been released music.

Produced by Live Nation, The MixTape Tour will embark on its three month journey beginning May 2nd in Cincinnati, OH and make stops in Nashville, Dallas, Los Angeles, Atlanta and more, before wrapping July 14th in Hollywood, FL. See full itinerary below.

THE MIXTAPE TOUR DATES:

DATE CITY VENUE
Thursday, May 2, 2019 Cincinnati, OH U.S. Bank Arena
Saturday, May 4, 2019 Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena
Sunday, May 5, 2019 Indianapolis, IN Bankers Life Fieldhouse
Tuesday, May 7, 2019 Kansas City, MO Sprint Center
Wednesday, May 8, 2019 St. Louis, MO Enterprise Center
Thursday, May 9, 2019 Nashville, TN Bridgestone Arena
Friday, May 10, 2019 Memphis, TN FedEx Forum
Saturday, May 11, 2019 New Orleans, LA Smoothie King Center
Monday, May 13, 2019 Corpus Christi, TX American Bank Center
Wednesday, May 15, 2019 Houston, TX Toyota Center
Thursday, May 16, 2019 San Antonio, TX AT&T Center
Friday, May 17, 2019 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
Saturday, May 18, 2019 Oklahoma City, OK Chesapeake Energy Arena
Tuesday, May 21, 2019 El Paso, TX UTEP Don Haskins Center
Wednesday, May 22, 2019 Phoenix, AZ Talking Stick Resort Arena
Thursday, May 23, 2019 San Diego, CA Viejas Arena
Friday, May 24, 2019 Anaheim, CA Honda Center
Saturday, May 25, 2019 Las Vegas, NV Mandalay Bay Events Center
Sunday, May 26, 2019 Los Angeles, CA Hollywood Bowl
Tuesday, May 28, 2019 Bakersfield, CA Rabobank Arena
Wednesday, May 29, 2019 San Jose, CA SAP Center
Thursday, May 30, 2019 Sacramento, CA Golden 1 Center
Saturday, June 1, 2019 Tacoma, WA Tacoma Dome
Sunday, June 2, 2019 Portland, OR Moda Center
Tuesday, June 4, 2019 Boise, ID Taco Bell Arena
Thursday, June 6, 2019 Salt Lake City, UT Vivint Smart Home Arena
Friday, June 7, 2019 Denver, CO Pepsi Center
Saturday, June 8, 2019 Lincoln, NE Pinnacle Bank Arena
Sunday, June 9, 2019 Des Moines, IA Wells Fargo Arena
Tuesday, June 11, 2019 St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center
Wednesday, June 12, 2019 Milwaukee, WI Fiserv Forum
Thursday, June 13, 2019 Grand Rapids, MI Van Andel Arena
Friday, June 14, 2019 Rosemont, IL Allstate Arena
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 Detroit, MI Little Caesars Arena
Wednesday, June 19, 2019 Toronto, ON Scotiabank Arena
Friday, June 21, 2019 Buffalo, NY KeyBank Center
Saturday, June 22, 2019 Columbus, OH Schottenstein Center
Sunday, June 23, 2019 Pittsburgh, PA PPG Paints Arena
Tuesday, June 25, 2019 Washington, D.C. Capital One Arena
Thursday, June 27, 2019 Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center
Friday, June 28, 2019 Boston, MA TD Garden
Sunday, June 30, 2019 Uniondale, NY NYCB, Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Tuesday, July 2, 2019 Newark, NJ Prudential Center
Wednesday, July 3, 2019 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
Friday, July 5, 2019 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa
Saturday, July 6, 2019 Hershey, PA Hersheypark Stadium
Sunday, July 7, 2019 Raleigh, NC PNC Arena
Tuesday, July 9, 2019 Charlotte, NC Spectrum Center
Wednesday, July 10, 2019 Greenville, SC Bon Secours Wellness Arena
Thursday, July 11, 2019 Atlanta, GA State Farm Arena (Philips)
Friday, July 12, 2019 Jacksonville, FL Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena
Saturday, July 13, 2019 Orlando, FL Amway Center
Sunday, July 14, 2019 Hollywood, FL Hard Rock Event Center** This show will go onsale at a later, to be announced, date.

 

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VITAL Emcee discusses his newest mixtape ‘F.A.G.’ (Free of All Guilt)

From California to China to Australia, VITAL Emcee has been crossing oceans to bring literacy and integrity to the hip hop community. Having been putting out albums since the early 2000’s with various projects: Seekret Socyetee’s ‘The Il2 Word’ (2002), 2 Drunk’n Poets ‘Blurry Wisdom’ (2003), he dropped his first solo record in 2006 with ‘The Secrets of the Invisible Man’; followed by ‘Versus-Verses’ in 2010.

The Spring of 2015 has seen the release of his newest mixtape ‘F.A.G.’ (Free of All Guilt). VITAL recently spoke with me about the impetus of this album, and how he finds ways to mix samples of Elton John, Adele, and Pink Floyd with his unrelenting and raw lyrics about sex, strength, bigotry, and the boogeyman.

BCA: How long ago did you first conceive this project? And what was the one major element that was preventing you from starting it?
VE: ‘Free of All Guilt’ was a concept initially envisioned by the Optimist (my producer at the time) back in early 2010. He had said that if anyone can do it and make waves it would be me. He had offered me his full attention within writing and recording in order to put the project out. I jumped on it as I agreed with him, but therein started my own personal internal struggle. I was already out of the closet to my friends and family, but it started to worry me regarding how it would affect my professional life, i.e. VITAL Emcee. I neither wanted to alienate myself or my fan-base so it brought me to a creative stifle. I recorded a few songs for the project but they didn’t seem as genuine as they could be. Looking back on that time, the songs were genuine, I was just still unsure of myself in the position of “gay rapper.” It took blankets of time and experience to finally reconcile my own personal issues to get me back to my “I-don’t-give-a-fuck-punk-rock” mind-state. Everything in due time I guess.

BCA: When compared to your previous two releases, ‘The Secrets of the Invisible Man’, and ‘Versus-Verses’; ‘Free of All Guilt’ undoubtedly has the most pop appeal, and has the ability to reach a wider audience. Yet, the overall theme of ‘F.A.G.’ could be very shocking. Was this intentional? Or was it just a natural progression of your music?
VE: It definitely is an intentional thing. Given the subject matter, I wanted to make it more palatable by mainstream standards, while bridging it with my underground hip hop/punk rock type of mentality. I knew it would kick up a stink and I had to figure how best to present it as a professional artist. I do care about the listener at the end of the day, but I had to do for me. My tastes and convictions have grown since ‘Invisible Man’ and I think there is an adequate reflection of that inherent in this project. In the future, I’ll revisit some of my old themes that I still would like to reinvestigate, but the point being is I was angry during ‘Invisible Man’, searching in ‘VERSUS’ and now here I am full circle with a more solidified renewal of self. Plus, the part of myself that wants to be a star was satiated on this mix-tape. And it will be as the future becomes more tangible.

BCA: Religion, and especially religious imagery, has always been a constant reference in your writings. Is it just you being poetic, or has religion and faith been a big influence in your life?
VE: Religion is a big part of who I am. It’s not something I preach or even genuinely back, but it is a huge part of my foundation as a person. For the record, I despise religion or anything that would make certain “biases” law. Any side of religion has never done any good for anyone. I don’t judge those who find solace in it, I just ask them not to judge me either. We all have our own paths and are entitled to our own opinions. Matter of fact, I really don’t fault the deities in any given religion, it’s the zealots who refuse to study history and act on things with blind faith that I have issues with. There’s no such thing as a greater good, as labels like this strip humanity from the human race and place destiny in the clay palms of a myth. The imagery however has always piqued my interests, just in the way that horror films and certain other elements of pop culture does. I’ve always been intrigued with the dark side of human nature, and being raised as a devout Christian, it permeates my writing. These days, however, I am more into shining a light on those things which make me happy. Those things that make me feel human and make me fight for a lifetime worth living.

BCA: Have you found there to be a regular pattern as to how a track emerges? A lyric first, or a beat, a sample you want to use? Or does it change with each song?
VE: Each track is its own entity and so can come about in its own way. During the embryonic state, I could have an idea I want to explore, or I could just have a line I want to elaborate on and it evolves into a verse and an entire song thereafter. There can be a beat that I’m feeling and I write to that when the mood strikes. I know every artist has their own way about how they do things, but for my workflow, it’s just what approach is deemed best for each particular situation. Obviously with ‘F.A.G.’ the whole concept was decided on before the writing process began, but each song still remained important as a standalone while the skeletal structure for the mix-tape was being put together.

BCA: On ‘F.A.G.’ you use bits of Elton John, Adele, and Pink Floyd; and in previous albums you have made a reference to Iron Maiden. Your taste in music seems to be rather eclectic. Whom in your life do you credit for getting you first interested in music?
VE: Michael Jackson: plain and simple. I don’t think anyone in my generation would answer differently.

BCA: I understand the acknowledgement to Michael Jackson; but is there anyone in your family, or a childhood friend, that inspired you to follow your dreams of writing and making music, or perhaps turned you on to a certain genre of music?
VE: As far as my childhood goes, I was always naturally gravitated toward music. Instead of toys, I would ask my mom for records and tapes. This could have been anything from Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me” to Wham! to the LA Dream Team. My older cousin Gary always turned me on to good stuff when I was 6-7 too. He put me onto things like Prince, Morris Day and the Time, Midnight Star and that funky shit that which I still love to this day. Hip-Hop came to me in the form of DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. When I first heard “Parents Just Don’t Understand” it changed my life… ‘cuz at 7 years old, those were the truest words I had ever heard. I started paying more attention to Hip Hop music from then on getting into N.W.A. and 2 Live Crew and those things I wasn’t supposed to listen to. Digital Underground comes to mind. That being said though, I also loved the metal music that was introduced to me through my stepfather. That’s why I’m still a fan of guys like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. All of these different ingredients kept brewing into one whole recipe in my later years. As a teenager it was Pac, Quik, OutKast, and Bone Thugs along with countless Bay Area cats. It was Sublime, Pink Floyd and Wu-Tang with the more than occasional catchy pop tune thrown into the mix. Pantera and the Misfits entered the playlist as did bands like AFI and Soilwork. When I met Matt Embree (RX Bandits) and we did the Seekret Socyetee record back in 2002 that was the dude who made me see music as tangible and pursuable. Consequently, he is also the first person I ever came out to, aside from my mother.

BCA: Touching back, you said you were angry during ‘Invisible Man’, and searching during ‘VERSUS’? Where did your anger come from? Who were you angry at? Your own self? And what do you think you were searching for?
VE: Honestly my anger came from insecurity. I was gay and I felt out of place in Hip Hop because of it. No one ever put me on blast or anything like that as it became more and more known within the local scene, but just within my own shoes, I felt different. I had friends and family, but the part of me that had issues as a fledgeling gay man (even though I was out) felt isolated. I had no gay friends and thought I’d be seen as too effeminate in Hip Hop as well as too “straight” for a gay audience. That sounds funny in hindsight, but at the time it was my whole world. That’s why ‘Invisible Man’ was so dark in its exploration of the existence I lived. On top of it all, there was a situation of unrequited love (if you could call it that), and my drug use at the time had gotten out of hand. This all combined into a perfect storm of angst that went into making that record… and I still love that those moments were captured because it was one of the realest and most vivid moments to put that album together. I fancied myself as a modern day Arthur Rimbaud looking for his Verlaine. I wish someone would have told me then to be careful for that wish. When it came time to record ‘VERSUS’, I had found my counterpart and counterpoint and went through all the ups and downs of an unhealthy relationship, eventually ending up in jail for domestic abuse (which was bullshit to no end, but remember this is two men–not a man battering a woman) and ultimately ending the relationship. It tore me apart but I honestly was more complete in my self so I wasn’t as angry as I was with ‘Invisible Man.’ I was emancipated if you will and it made me free to approach ‘VERSUS’ from any angle. It was a renewal, hence the resurrection in the first track. I think I may have been a little too scattered with that record, even though I still think it is well made and well put together. The only direction I had was to assert myself even further as a Hip Hop heavyweight and lyrical legend… two concepts I could give a shit about now, as I’m just me and that’s all I’m able to give. The search brought me to this place inside…and now I’m stronger than ever.

BCA: Final question. Are the gloves off?
VE: The gloves are off and the knuckles are bleeding.

‘F.A.G.’ is available for free at: www.vitalemceeonline.com

 

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