These days, when reminiscing about our childhood, we invariably reference an album. It might be by a prodigy too young to drive and attended by many, from Taylor Swift to Justin Bieber and Harry Styles. Maybe something like Frank Ocean’s “Channel Orange,” which offered a refreshing pop confection; maybe one of Demi Lovato’s saucy torch songs; maybe even a take on John Lennon’s inspirational “Imagine.”
But the stories that are most often evoked by music from childhood are often about moving beyond school or family to find a new place to belong. They exist in the genre of nostalgia, an insular world that offers platforms for sharing not just triumphs but bruises and disappointments.
Yesterday, in turn, nostalgic music took center stage at Madison Square Garden in New York. An A-list lineup of New Edition and New Kids on the Block hit the stage at the same time: N.K.B. and their enthusiastic fans represented the kids, and New Edition represented the adults. A beautiful harmony between generations was indeed born, and moved New Yorkers to tears. This iconic stadium show offered something no other concert has to offer: joy, or the simulacrum thereof.