Paula Abdul, NKOTB, Boyz II Men will tour as latest shows evoking nostalgia

The group of acts will embark on a tour in 2017. Music groups that had hits in the 1990s and 2000s, such as 98 Degrees and O-Town, have all hit the road recently.

John Salangsang/Invision/AP
Paula Abdul attends the 29th Annual Gypsy Awards Luncheon held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 24, 2016, in Beverly Hills, Calif. Abdul will tour later this year.

Music acts including Paula Abdul, NKOTB (previously known as New Kids on the Block), and Boyz II Men will be embarking on a tour in 2017, the latest concert tour that may be meant to evoke nostalgia. 

NKOTB has previously toured with Boyz II Men, while this will be the first time Ms. Abdul has toured for almost three decades. The tour will begin in May.

Abdul released such hit albums as 1988’s “Forever Your Girl” and the 1991 album “Spellbound.” Meanwhile, NKOTB has released albums including the 1988 work “Hangin’ Tough” and, more recently, 2008’s “The Block” after the group reunited.

Boyz II Men was behind such albums as 1994’s “II,” and the group recently appeared on the Fox hit live musical “Grease: Live.” 

The upcoming tour is the latest to bring together various groups who first released hit music between the 1980s and early 2000s. 

The 1990s band Backstreet Boys toured with NKOTB in 2011, while the band 98 Degrees joined NKOTB and Boyz II Men when the two groups toured in 2013. 

“It seems like the nostalgia thing is becoming the in vogue way to tour these days,” Nick Lachey of 98 Degrees told the Los Angeles Times earlier this year, prior to beginning another tour. This past summer, 98 Degrees toured with acts including O-Town and Dream, both of which had hits in the same era as 98 Degrees.

Nostalgia is a feeling that may also have helped fuel recent TV revivals like “The X-Files,” “Full House,” and “Gilmore Girls.”

“Tours based on fond memories rather than current hits are no longer just the providence of boomers or Generation X,” LA Times writer Gerrick D. Kennedy wrote at the time of the tour involving 98 Degrees and others. Noting that Millennials are now the biggest generation in the U.S., Mr. Kennedy wrote, “Millennials are all grown up, and it’s never too early, apparently, to start looking back."

MTV writer Madeline Roth agrees that these tours are based on fond memories of past music. 

“The tour is fueled by a tidal wave of nostalgia with a murderer’s row of stars whose posters once adorned your walls and whose videos once topped the TRL countdown,” Ms. Roth wrote of the tour that included 98 Degrees, Dream, O-Town, and Mr. Cabrera.

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