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New Edition

With Urban Mystic. Friday, November 5, at the Odeon.

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A sixth mic is being kept open just in case, but don't count on Bobby Brown humpin' around on New Edition's comeback tour. Whitney Houston's husband-/sparring partner has his hands full developing -- what else? -- an upcoming reality series, while dodging various legal woes. But the rest of New Edition -- Michael Bivins, Ricky Bell, Ronnie DeVoe, and Ralph Tresvant, along with Brown's frequent fill-in, Johnny Gill -- who dominated the charts individually and collectively from the '80s through the new jack/swing era, will be on hand for one of the most hit-filled R&B shows of the year.

Besides songs like "Candy Girl" and "Cool It Now," which rocketed the teenage quintet out of Boston as the next Jackson Five, expect a generous helping of new jack anthems from the splinter group Bell Biv DeVoe and, of course, material from New Edition's first album since 1996, due in early November on P. Diddy's Bad Boy label. One Love -- which will benefit from both the production skills of the venerable Jam and Lewis and a rising tide of '90s nostalgia -- seems likely to cap this resurrection successfully, whatever Bobby's prerogative might be.

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