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MUSIC REVIEW

McKnight, New Edition double fans' pleasure

While R&B crooner Brian McKnight made the ladies swoon with his smooth, sexed-up set at the Bank of America Pavilion on Wednesday, the crowd and the night belonged to hometown heroes New Edition. Their high-energy performance showcased 20 years of sweet pop confections and had the audience in a frenzy.

During his short, seamless set, McKnight -- who also has nearly two decades of material to draw on -- clearly relished the extremely vocal devotion of his female fans. Promising to reveal the secrets of the recently divorced, 30-something, successful black male, he flirted and teased his way through his performance. A female audience member was invited onstage for flowers and a provocative rendition of ''Love of My Life," with McKnight playing keyboards and revealing his dramatic vocal range. McKnight and his four-piece backing band strutted through his favorite covers, including the Bee Gees' ''How Deep Is Your Love" and Prince's ''Kiss." The hopeless romantic turned randy tomcat during a costume change that cast a suggestive shadow on the stage's video screen. From his racy post-divorce album, ''Gemini," set closer ''What We Do Here" had him singing suggestively over a flirtatious groove.

The members of New Edition harmonized their way through a tightly choreographed set and exuded old-school class. How could they not with white risers emblazoned with their initials (which held their four-piece backing band) and sharp cream-colored suits? From the beat box-propelled ''N.E. Heart Break" to the voluminous harmonies of ''Boys to Men," the band moved easily between upbeat pop and heartfelt R&B. A medley of early hits included ''Candy Girl," with its Jackson 5-flavored vocals, and the lovelorn ''Mr. Telephone Man," which was dedicated to Bobby Brown -- the only original member missing from the lineup. The audience gleefully sang every word of set closer ''Poison," as the band members tossed multicolored confetti.

Opener Raheem DeVaughn and his six-piece backing band charmed a small audience of early arrivals with his theatrical R&B set.

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