Boston's New Edition announces Las Vegas residency dates

The Grammy-nominated sextet announced Monday that New Edition: Las Vegas will kick off Feb. 28

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R&B group New Edition will bring their New Jack Swing tunes to Las Vegas early next year.

The Grammy-nominated sextet announced Monday that New Edition: Las Vegas will kick off Feb. 28. The group confirmed six residency shows at the Wynn Las Vegas’ Encore Theater, where acts like Diana Ross, Duran Duran, Lionel Richie and Brad Paisley have taken the stage.

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“We just caught lightning in a bottle,” said Ronnie DeVoe, a founding New Edition member— which includes Michael Bivins, Bobby Brown, Johnny Gill, Ralph Tresvant and Ricky Bell. Monday's announcement came after days after the group performed a tightly-choreographed tribute to the Spinners at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in New York City.

DeVoe said the band heard fans countless requests — particularly through social media — for them to perform in Sin City. “We're looking to touch that stage and continue on with the legacy,” he said.

After two consecutive North American tours, New Edition has planned for a more intimate setting at Encore, which seats 1,480.

“This is going to more theatrical than our Legacy and Culture tours,” Brown said. “This will be a lot more intimate. We wanted it to be up, close and personal for our fans.”

New Edition was founded as childhood friends in a Boston housing projects and became one of the originators of the modern-day boy band. The group released their debut album “Candy Girl” in 1983 and rejuvenated the teen music scene in the mold of The Jackson Five with hit singles like “Candy Girl,” “Mr. Telephone Man” and “Cool It Now.”

The group maintained success after puberty and laid the foundation for groups such as New Kids on the Block, the Backstreet Boys and Boyz II Men.

But then, New Edition faced plenty of conflict — which included Brown’s erratic behavior during a concert tour that resulted in him being kicked out the group. Tensions grew after Brown was replaced by Gill.

Brown found success as a solo artist with the 1988 hit “Don’t Be Cruel.” Gill and Tresvant had their own solo careers, while Bell, Bivins and DeVoe created their own group, Bell Biv Devoe, and soared with their 1990 debut album, “Poison,” which went quadruple platinum.

But eventually, all six members reconciled and reunited for their sixth studio album “Home Again” in 1996. The group has toured the past couple of years.

Bell said the tours helped build cohesiveness and created more of an opportunity to appreciate each other. He's grateful for the group's longevity, saying “We have each other, we have our health, we have our families. Everybody’s still here."

Bivins said the same authentic brotherhood shown during New Edition’s recent tours will be on display in Las Vegas.

“Our audience got a chance to see growth, bond, brotherhood," he said. "Sometimes that’s bigger than any record because people come to look for separation. But I think we’ll give them the glue.”

Roxbury native and R&B star Bobby Brown talks to Kwani Lunis about his time at the 20th annual Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival (MVAAFF) and why his new documentary is so important to him.

New Edition hasn't released an album since 2004, but DeVoe said there's a good chance the group will release new music leading up to their residency stint.

“It makes sense," he said. “I think it'll be a great time to get in the studio and put our vocals on something new and fresh, so we can deliver that to our fans in anticipation of their residency.”

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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