The hashtag name of New Edition’s summer tour says it all: “#AllSix.”
All six members – Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Bobby Brown, Ronnie DeVoe, Johnny Gill and Ralph Tresvant – are lined up to perform for Northern California fans Friday night at Thunder Valley Casino Amphitheatre in Lincoln.
Fans of the big-in-the-’80s boy band from Boston will be relieved to learn that Brown is back on board for the tour. The 45-year-old vocalist said he’s returning for the last six shows, including the Thunder Valley stop. Two weeks ago, he withdrew from the tour, citing medical reasons. His first performance back was at a Detroit show on July 25.
The six singers plan to bring their smooth and soulful harmonies and synchronized choreography to the stage. Longtime fans will be treated to a “very emotional show” with some surprises, Bell said during a phone interview. There will be “some tears and some laughter” throughout the 90-minute performance.
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“They can expect a show that takes you on a journey from 1983, from when we got started,” Bell said. “There’s going to be some surprises from songs we haven’t done in 20 years together. The show is just a musical journey.”
Gill promises it’ll be one of the most entertaining shows this summer.
“We’ll go in and give them (the fans) what they know and really enjoy and want from it,” he said.
The sextet said they’ll perform fan favorites as well as later hits from the groups and solo careers that branched off of New Edition.
“We’ll definitely be doing all the New Edition favorites,” Bell said. “All the hits from ‘Candy Girl’ … to the ‘One Love’ album. I don’t want to give away any surprises, but we’ll be taking them down memory lane for sure.”
Despite the fact that the members are in their mid-40s, New Edition’s nostalgia-fueled performance will also feature original choreography from their 1980s classics like “Mr. Telephone Man,” “If It Isn’t Love” and “Candy Girl.”
“Of course, we’re not 18 anymore,” Bell said. “We learned a cool way to do it in our 40s and still make it look alright.”
Remembering decades-old dance moves is simple once muscle memory kicks in, he said. However, being in the physical condition to sing and move throughout the concert has been a bit more challenging.
“We’ve been doing these routines for a while, and of course you have to stretch a little more and take care of your body a little more,” Bell said. “Picking up the choreography is not much of a challenge as the endurance and just the pain that it takes on your muscle and bones.”
The tour’s name riffs on what the band thought would be the number one question asked by fans and the media, Bivins said. Would all six members – who have had their ups and downs with the music biz and with one another – appear on stage together?
“You don’t have to ask us that question because it’s in the title,” Bivins said of “#AllSix.”
The band hasn’t started working on new material, but plan to after the tour, Bell said. New Edition members’ goal is to release their first album together in 10 years during the 2015 holiday season.
The group has found success reuniting in recent years. The sextet played 70 shows together throughout 2011 and 2013, DeVoe said. The members also work and tour individually or with their side projects, Bell Biv DeVoe and Heads of State (featuring Brown, Gill and Tresvant).
“It was good to take a quick little break for half of a hot second,” DeVoe said. “We missed each other so much that we had to get back together. New Edition is the mothership of all things that we’ve done as individuals. It’s always good to come back and kind of keep it on the pedestal that we were on.”
“At the end of the day, it’s real love and true brotherhood for us,” Gill said. “We laugh together, cry together. We do it all, and will continue to.”