The MixTape Tour 2022 at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, IL

New Kids on the Block, En Vogue, Rick Astley, and Salt-N-Pepa put on a show to remember at the first of a two-night engagement at the Allstate Arena.

Before the show had even started, the screams were already at almost deafening levels. This was the first of a two-night engagement for the MixTape Tour, featuring some of the biggest artists from the late-eighties/early-nineties – Rick Astley, Salt-N-Pepa, En Vogue, and New Kids on the Block. This tour sees the artists alternate performing throughout the night, which certainly keeps you on your toes. It was a jam-packed show, with over two-and-a-half hours of each of the artists alternating every few songs meaning there wasn’t a single lull in the entire show.

Strangely, considering they were the top-billed band of the tour, NKOTB was the first to take to the stage. They transported the audience back to yesteryear as they performed a large number of their hits from back in the day such as “You Got It (The Right Stuff),” “Hangin’ Tough,” “My Favorite Girl,” and “Cover Girl.” The five-piece looked in their element as they performed choreographed dances while singing their hits, all while smiling and laughing with each other and the numerous fans who were lucky enough to get up close to their idols. The audience was kept on their toes all night as one minute they would be performing on the huge main stage, and the next they’d be on the smaller B-stage at the back of the arena, followed by them splitting up and stationing throughout the audience. From the looks on their faces, they seemed to be enjoying themselves almost as much as the fans were. 

You’d be excused for forgetting this five-piece is now in their late forties/early fifties. If anything, their voices have improved over the years. There were two key highlights of the evening vocally. The first was Joey McIntyre’s impressive and captivating performance of “Please Don’t Go Girl,” a song that he originally sang when he was just a teenager. The second highlight was Jordan Knight’s vocals during “I’ll Be Loving (Forever)” as he put on an impassioned performance. He demonstrated his extensive vocal range throughout this song. 

The MixTape Tour includes not one, but four artists from the 80s and 90s. After NKOTB, it was time for En Vogue to hit the stage. Only two of the three members of En Vogue were present for this show. While there was no mention as to why this was the case, it is likely something to do with the fact that Cindy has recently been sporting a support boot due to breaking her foot during the tour. 

Their performance included hits such as “Free Your Mind,” “Don’t Let Go,” and “My Lovin’ (You Never Gonna Get It)” as well as a joint performance with Salt-N-Pepa for “Whatta Man.” Every single song they performed showed their vocal prowess as they effortlessly sang each song so perfectly, it could almost have been a recording. If your colleague at work has lost their voice this week, chances are they were at this show as it was a non-stop singalong fest from the beginning to the very end.

Next up, it was time to be Rickrolled as British singer Rick Astley joined the proceedings. Again, Astley was yet another artist on the lineup whose voice has stood the test of time and sounded good enough to be an actual recording. He is one of those artists where you know way more songs of his than you realize. Of course, he had to sing “Never Gonna Give You Up,” which every single person on this planet knows every word to. The strange thing about him performing this song was that it made not just one appearance during the show, but popped up again during the encore when all of the artists took to the stage together to sing it. 

Last but most certainly not least were the feisty duo, Salt-N-Pepa. The raunchy hip-hop artists have paved the way for so many female artists behind them, you have to take a moment and appreciate the legacy. Their songs sounded as fresh today as they did when they were first released back in the day. They sang their mega-hits “Push It,” “Let’s Talk About Sex,” and “None of Your Business,” all while grooving along with their dancers.

The show was rounded out by all the performers singing their collective song, “Bring Back the Time,” before Rickrolling the audience one last time. This show saw possibly the most confetti, costume changes, and crotch-grabbing than any other show out there. The performances by all of the artists on the lineup were high-energy and made the two-and-a-half hours plus fly by. The voices of the crowd might be croaky and ears ringing from the screaming for the next few days, but we’re pretty sure they’ll see that as the sign of a good night. There was no scrimping on this tour. It was a full-stage production with fans getting plenty of bang for their buck. 

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
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EN VOGUE
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RICK ASTLEY
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SALT-N-PEPA
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ALLSTATE ARENA
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About Kirstine Walton 329 Articles
Kirstine moved from the UK to Chicago in 2011, and has fallen in love with the city and its music scene. She enjoys combining her two biggest passions – music and photography. If there is a band with a guitar playing, chances are she’ll be there…camera in hand. Kirstine went to her first live concert at 7 years old, and hasn’t looked back since!