Watch New Edition and New Kids on the Block at the Civic Auditorium

Fans were moved to tears when boybands New Edition and New Kids on the Block toured together in the mid-1990s

Twenty years ago this week, three American boybands broke up to begin a new era – along with two of their songwriting partners, Ricky Bell and Michael Bivins, who left the group for various reasons.

Together they went on to headline the MTV Video Music Awards, but their careers were short-lived. New Edition, led by Bobby Brown, broke up in 2000, before the pair reformed in 2013. New Kids on the Block’s final tour came nearly a decade later.

Little did we know that the New Edition and New Kids on the Block nostalgia tour was just the warm-up act. Perhaps too warm.

On 9 July 1990, New Edition took to the stage at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in California, singing hits including Just My Imagination, Can You Stand the Rain, A Girl Like You and, of course, Steal Your Girl. It was the second of their three 90s tours, ending in 2004.

The concert was watched by a braying crowd, something of an old-fashioned American sporting tradition. Some 50,000 people braved the rain to help ensure that the live show never went to the five members’ heads.

Watch footage of the New Edition and New Kids on the Block concert as it happened:

Those were simpler times – living vicariously through boybands on the TV, dreaming of huge, false promises that your lucky star was the one walking the red carpet.

Boybands sold easily and more quickly than bands designed to be critically loved. The height of boybanddom was in the early to mid-90s, as Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds was doing his thing, as was the pop overseer, LA Reid. The lovable American Idol judges are a natural step in the tribute route, which the boys of New Edition and New Kids on the Block find a fun and invigorating ride.

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