Old school music and unity were the theme on Saturday September 29th at the Eaglebank Arena in Fairfax, VA. Concertgoers partied all night when the newest branch of New Edition’s musical family tree, RBRM, stopped in for a performance. RBRM is comprised of Ronnie Devoe, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell and Michael Bivins. Known for their work in the legendary group New Edition, as well as their groundbreaking solo careers. After forty years of performing together, Ronnie Devoe, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell and Michael Bivins can still command a stage as if it was second nature.
Dressed in matching sweat suits, the group graced the stage and instantly set the stage on fire. The show opened with Bobby Brown’s signature song “My Prerogative”, with assistance from Ronnie Devoe who sang portions with his signature smooth swagger.
Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Do Me” was up next, which featured Brown singing portions of the song with confident gusto. The group then took breaks for some solo spots, where Brown performed “That’s The Way Love Is” from his vastly underrated 1992 Bobby album. Then it was BBD’s chance to shine as they performed “B.B.D I Thought It Was Me” to thunderous applause from the audience.
The highlight for any New Edition related concert for me is always the ballad portion, and while fellow NE members Ralph Tresvant & Johnny Gill were not present, RBRM made up for their absence. Brown & Bell sounded great on the New Edition catalog staples “Jealous Girl” and “Mr. Telephone Man”. Brown & Bell also performed some of their signature ballads from their solo careers, with Brown singing “Roni” with a matured nuance that highlighted his improving vocals.
While Bell is only causally known in the music industries for his vocal abilities, he impressed with “Something In Your Eyes” and “When I Will See You Smile Again”. The night ended with a one two punch of Brown’s “Every Little Step” & Bell Biv DeVoe’s iconic “Poison.”
Like any legendary artists there is always going to be songs you do not get a chance to hear. My only complaint with the show was the short set run time for the headliners. While the opening acts 702, Tamia and BlackStreet all performed decent, none of the acts were actually needed, as RBRM has enough material for a full concert on their own.
If you are expecting a New Edition knockoff show, then you are in for a surprise, as the RBRM concert stands on its own. The show is trip back to when R&B ruled the airwaves and worth checking out. Ronnie Devoe, Bobby Brown, Ricky Bell and Michael Bivins may have begun their careers in New Edition; however, each man is a talented artist in their own right. Until New Edition fully reunites, RBRM will suffice.
Final Grade A-