New Kids on the Block, Let's Rock!

Tuesday, July 9th, I attended my 17th New Kids on the Block concert. I’m sure many of you think if you’ve seen one show, you’ve seen them all, but for me, each show has had a unique flair.

This would be my third concert where I had a meet and greet before the show, and it was my first since I regained my voice and began walking with my walker.

That morning, I was still a bit concerned. I had talked to the VIP host and emailed the week before about access to the meet and greet room. It was down a set of stairs that I obviously couldn’t get down with my walker. The VIP host told me to contact the arena. The person at the arena told me to contact the VIP host because they couldn’t give out that information. Finally, a half an hour before we were supposed to meet with the VIP host, I asked to speak with someone on the Tacoma Dome staff. I explained my situation, and he couldn’t help. Five people later, and finally, someone was escorting me to the other side of the building. Yes, the other side of the building had stairs leading to the parking lot, but no one could tell me how easy it was to just enter on the other side of the building!

Once we had our group together we went to check in. I told the first person we would need extra time because I walked as slowly as I did. She told me to tell someone else. So, anyone who had the VIP host’s logo was told that I needed extra time. I wasn’t about to let them take the picture when I was still trying to hug a guy or worse when I was trying to walk behind the curtain. Word finally got to Earl, BMOC and the New Kids’ goto security guard. He told me he would make sure I had plenty of time.

We had some time before the meet and greet, so the nine of us sat down and enjoyed our drinks. I saw Dan Wood (Danny’s Dad) and asked if I could have a picture. He said yes. He told us that his daughter lives here, and that’s why he was hanging out in the meet and greet area. I had forgotten that his daughter was a cancer survivor, but as soon as he told me, I remembered my friend Mandy was also a cancer survivor. In fact July 9, 2013 marked the 4th anniversary of her being cancer free. I asked Dan if he would meet her, and he said he would love to! So, I found Mandy and hooked them up. Mandy told me afterward that Dan and she spoke briefly, but he mainly wanted to introduce her to his daughter.

Shortly after my picture with Dan, I had turned from the table to talk to a friend. Suddenly, everyone was screaming. I thought okay, the guys were walking behind the curtain, but I was wrong. I turned around to see legs on my table. I look up, and it’s Donnie. He had jumped on our table to say hi and do a little hip grinding. I was shocked. This was typical Donnie behavior, but he was on my table. I just sat there stunned. That did mark the arrival of the guys though, so we started lining up.

When we walked behind the curtain, the first man I saw was Danny. He’s my favorite. I gave him a hug and told him I was a Danny girl. He smiled. I told him that I’d never had a picture with Jonathan, so even though I was a Danny girl, I was going to get my picture with him. He said don’t worry about it.

Next up was Jordan. Now, I was telling each guy, “let me sit down on my walker before I hug you so I don’t fall”. I turned around to sit down on my walker to hug Jordan, and he immediately thought I was falling. He reached out his arms to catch me, and security walked up behind me before I could tell him I’m okay. This was now the second time I’ve scared the piss out of Jordan! His face was priceless!

Next was Donnie. For some reason I told him and not Danny about my seizures and not being able to walk and talk and how excited I was to be able to walk and sing tonight. He told me I looked amazing. I gave him a hug and said I would be the loudest singer and screamer in the room that night.

And, then it was Jon. I told him I was taking my picture with him because he was the only New Kid I didn’t have a picture with. He gave me a hug, and then the photographer said ok, it’s time for pictures. I asked Jon, “how should I do this? Should I sit down, or should I cling to you for dear life?” He told me, “You can hang on to me”. So my picture looks like I’m hugging the left side of his body, but I’m standing. I had pushed back my walker, and I heard afterward that Donnie asked the girl next to me, “What’s poking my ass?”

Last person was Joe. I gave him a hug too, and he said “God bless you”. Weird, but okay.

This was actually a strange line-up for the guys. At my last two meet and greets, Jon stood next to Danny, and I was really wanting to get a picture in between them, but this time they weren’t standing together. Oh well, I got my Jon picture, and I was very happy.

Next stop? Finding my seat. There were two stages in the arena – a rectangular one where the band played and the group sometimes sang, and a round one in front of it where the group sang most of their songs. I was right in between those two stages. The chairs were facing the round stage, and I was right on the aisle, so technically, I was front row of the walk way between the stages. It took me forever to walk there though, and once I did, I was determined to stay put until the concert was over. That meant that I needed to have someone buy me a t-shirt and someone else buy me a drink! Luckily the two people I chose did exactly as I asked and didn’t run off with the money!

I asked the security guard if I could put my walker against the railing and lean against it, and he said sure. He told me he wasn’t sure if he’d catch me if I fell, but he’d be sure to call 911. That was good enough for me, so that’s where I stood/kneeled for most of the night.

Boyz II Men were the first group to perform. I’d never seen them perform live before, but I knew their songs and some of their moves. They were very entertaining, but I wish they would have had longer to perform. They really engaged the audience, probably more than they should have given their limited time on stage, but that’s what performers do, I guess. They sang their classics, showered fake rose petals on us from the ceiling, and handed out real roses to select fans in the audience. And, then, they were gone.

98 Degrees was second. I really couldn’t care about their performance. They weren’t one of my favorite bands, but they weren’t the worst either. I knew their songs and sang along, but I sat down in my seat for their performance. I’m glad I did. A mom came up with her daughter who couldn’t be more than 10 years old. She wanted her daughter to get as close to the railing as possible, so I offered my walker. I had left it against the railing so no one would take my spot when NKOTB performed. She thanked me, and her little girl climbed up on my walker. She was absolutely thrilled! When the group walked from one stage to another, one of the guys touched her hand, and she shrieked and smiled. I was happy I could give her that moment. When they sang, “The Hardest Thing”, all I could think was Nick probably dedicated this to Jessica Simpson! Their performance was okay, but the one thing I didn’t like was when they stripped down to wife-beater shirts. Unlike New Kids on the Block, these boys were not toned. No one wanted to see these guys in tight sleeveless shirts. In a word, it was gross! This is not to say that the guys had completely let themselves go. Three of them were height-weight proportionate, but they really weren’t showing off anything!

Finally after the two opening performances and a ten minute intermission, New Kids on the Block came out to perform. I climbed back onto my walker and “stood” on my knees. The plan was to skype my friend in Malaysia for the opening song, but I couldn’t get my phone to work. I finally decided to turn my phone off and on again, and when I did, skype miraculously started to work. So, my friend in Malaysia got to see the guys’ performance of Block Party and Summertime. It was the first time I had heard Block Party as it was a bonus song on an album I didn’t purchase, and I had stayed away from any spoilers before my show.

The rest of the show was fairly standard – some classics, some songs from the Block, their 2008 release, and some songs from their newest release, 10. Then there were the solos. Jordan sang Tender Love, and Joey sang Faith. When Donnie sang Cover Girl, the guys were his back up dancers – only they were up on the back stage. I had more fun watching them than I had watching Donnie. Danny did his obligatory break dancing, and it was just all fun! I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

And then NKOTB surprised us. Donnie said he wanted to hear how Seattle Tacoma sounded, and out walks Sir Mix-A-Lot with his female entourage. He sang "I Like Big Butts" while the girls danced around him. The guys initially sat and watched, but then, Donnie jumped up and began grinding on one of the girls. After the show, Sir Mix-A-Lot tweeted, "@DonnieWahlberg after watching y'all tonight I gotta hit the gym harder.  I was a keg in a world of 6 packs".

During Tonight, after Joey's almost 6 year-old son started "remember when we said girl please don't go", as the guys were moving from one stage to the others, two girls rushed the railing and practically knocked me over. I immediately felt dizzy and weak. I looked back at the girls, and they acted like nothing had happened. The two girls who had been with me throughout the concert helped me to sit down in my seat. The security guard asked if he needed to call a medic. I shook my head. I just needed to sit and close my eyes and just breathe. From that point forward, the show was over for me. Fortunately, they only had two songs left.

Once the concert was over, I sat there a bit longer until the girls – Jolyne and Margarita - who were giving me a ride home walked over to me. I told them what happened, and they said they’d walk behind me as we walked out of the building. They guided me to their car, and we started to head home. But first, we had to go to Denny’s.

As we were driving, I mentioned to Jolyne that I had interviewed Jeff Timmons from 98 degrees when I worked with NK Airplay. She said she used to listen to that all the time, and she said that’s where I know your voice from! You’re the cofounder right? You’re “Emalea” on twitter? I laughed. I hadn’t used “Emalea” as my twitter handle since 2009! But I didn’t meet Jolyne until this year, first on facebook, and then in person. It was crazy that she remembered me from NK Airplay! We talked a bit about the station until we got to Denny’s. Then, after Denny’s, they dropped me off at home!

And that was my night…. I got to bed around 2am.
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