The R&B, soul and funk vibes were draped all over New York City on Saturday night (Feb. 26), when the New Edition: The Culture Tour with Charlie Wilson + Jodeci took over Madison Square Garden. In collaboration with the Black Promoters Collection, who organized the tour, R&B legends New Edition, Wilson and Jodeci intended to give fans a night to remember, and they did just that as concert-goers went home with more than they expected.
Fans of all ages filled up the iconic halls of MSG to get a feel of some vintage energy that was brought upon by some of the best R&B acts ever to grace the stage. Jodeci kicked things off right on time, running through their hits while Wilson blew the roof off the joint with songs by his old group The Gap Band and a healthy dose of solo records. The main event was just as spectacular, with the men of New Edition turning back the clock to a time where they reigned supreme over the R&B landscape in the ’80s and early ’90s.
The Culture Tour is only on its seventh show, and if the concert at Madison Square Garden was any indication of how electrifying this tour is, fans waiting in the 23 remaining cities such as Miami, Boston and Charlotte, N.C., are in for a special night.
Billboard compiled a list of the five best moments from The Culture Tour at New York’s MSG below. Check them out.
Jodeci Warmed New York City Up to the Point They Need Their Own Concert
Jodeci had a stranglehold on the R&B scene in the early ’90s, and one of the places that showed them tremendous amounts of love was the Big Apple. That love was brought back tenfold on Saturday as the “Bad Boys of R&B” warmed up the audience with a sexy opening set. Iconic tracks such as “Forever My Lady,” “Stay,” “Freek’n You” and others echoed throughout the building as fans were hitting body rolls all night. Towards the end, the band paused their set to remind fans that NYC is where their journey started, and the crowd didn’t forget as they roared with appreciation. As they walked off stage due to time constraints, someone from the band told the crowd, “We’ll be back again with our own s—!”
Uncle Charlie Wilson Showed His Younger Peers How It’s Done
Wilson has been performing for 50 years, so he knows a thing or two about putting on a hell of a show. Uncle Charlie didn’t show a lick of his ripe 69 years of age on Saturday when he tore down the house at The World’s Most Famous Arena. From the start, the former Gap Band lead singer told the NYC crowd he’s here to party and went right into the 1982 classic “Early In The Morning.”
Equipped with a raucous band and vibrant backup dancers, Wilson had New York City in the palm of his hands for what felt like an hour of pure hits. He ran through electrifying renditions of “My Love Is All I Have,” “Charlie, Last Name Wilson,” “There Goes My Baby,” “I Wanna Be Your Man” and more while the crowd kept feeding him energy to keep going. At one point, the singer revealed he’s fresh off back and knee surgeries, but would’ve come to New York without either just to feel the crowd’s electrifying vibe.
Intermissions Are Just as Important as the Actual Show
The Culture Tour was an eventful show, but the intermissions throughout the night were just as entertaining. The DJs spinning records on Saturday night would make sure no one would be sitting down through the intermissions. Fans in their forties, thirties and twenties were well-represented, with songs from their respective eras blasting through the speakers at MSG. It was a marvelous sight to see the waves of people moving their bodies and dancing with each other to the DJs mixing, especially with the pandemic keeping us, more or less, separated from one another.
Members of New Edition Have Solo Hits Too
New Edition found astronomical success as a group, but the same is said about the members’ individual careers. Guests of the Culture Tour were treated to a plethora of solo hits from Johnny Gill (“My, My, My”) Bobby Brown (“Every Little Step,” “Roni,” “My Prerogative”) Bell Biv Devoe (“Do Me!” and “Poison”) and Ralph Tresvant (“Sensitivity). Each of those records had the crowd going and was a testament to how extensive the New Edition catalog is outside of the group.
New Edition Proves They’re One of the Greatest R&B Groups of All Time
Fans were still gathering themselves from exciting performances by Jodeci and Charlie Wilson when the lights went out, and the legendary New Edition appeared onstage in matching outfits. The crowd erupted in cheers as the men got right to work performing timeless hits such as “Candy Girl,” “Mr. Telephone Man,” “Cool It Now” and others. The energy in the air felt like New York City was back in the ’80s as Ralph, Ronnie, Bobby, Ricky, Mike and Johnny hit every single note with precision.
The event was turned up to another level when New Edition busted out their trademark dance routines to classics such as “If It Isn’t Love,” “You’re Not My Kind Of Girl” and “Count Me Out,” proving they can still put on a hell of a show. The classic act closed the night out with a passionate rendition of its 1988 smash single “Can You Stand the Rain” before the NYC faithful sent the boys home with resounding farewell cheers.