Concert Review: Bell Biv Devoe at Showcase Live

If time warps exist, that would explain the events at a sold-out Showcase Live last night.

JAM’N 94.5 DJ Hustle Simmons spun a series of classic disco, funk, r & b and hip-hop tracks to open the show.

Boston rap legend Edo G popped onstage for a live rendition of his old school hit “I Got To Have It.”

And Boston’s own Bell Biv DeVoe delivered a 70-minute set that transplanted the early ’90s into 2010.

It’s rare that a DJ shouts out ages 25 and over, but such was the case on Saturday, a night when the old school reigned supreme and fans had some reprieve from modern-day mediocrity.

BBD have been cruising below the mainstream radar, but they appeared jovial, spirited and well-rehearsed onstage, effortlessly channeling the fun-loving, edgy fusion of rap and r & b that made them post-New Edition stars.

The group has fared well over time, maintaining taut physiques, solid skills and easy chemistry.

Ricky Bell brought smooth r & b vocals, while Michael Bivins and Ronnie DeVoe interjected with racy raps.

The threesome sported matching outfits — red vests, white t-shirts and khakis — and synchronized dance moves, often leading the crowd in old school choreography with the enthusiasm of New Jack Swing aerobics instructors.

One new song made the set list, the Southern-influenced “Hello” – same message, different backdrop – but BBD kept the focus on their older material.

The majority of songs came off their smash debut “Poison,” including “She’s Dope,” “I Thought It Was Me” and “Do Me.”

“Yall know we got this other group called New Edition, right?” Bell asked. Silly question.

An interlude dedicated to the group that spawned BBD included “Cool It Now,” “Candy Girl” and a verse from “Mr. Telephone Man.”

Mid-set, slow jams and extended serenades such as “I Do Need You” and “When Will I See You Smile Again” took over.

Crowd participation was an important part of the show, never moreso than on the show-closer and most recognizable hit, “Poison,” when BBD called up a flock of females to try out as extra backup dancers. It’s safe to say none of the auditions will lead to a full-time job, but it was a great excuse to keep the song — and the show — from ending. (originally published in the Boston Herald, July 19, 2010).

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