What’s that, you say? It’s been about a billion Fridays (ok, more like 4) since I’ve posted? I’m well aware…but it just hasn’t been doable lately. And it’s not that I haven’t wanted to, I truly have…but I’ve been a busy bee, a tired bee, a possibly poisoned by pesticides bee (no, but I’ve felt like it again…no writing, no exercise either — boo on me)…basically the beginning of the school year has kicked my tush. I am more than ready for another vacation and thank heavens I had the forethought to plan one for just after summer school ends. This coming week will be my last week at work and then I am off for what is going to be 12 days of glorious staycation (more on that in a few weeks.)
I don’t know about you, but being an adult, I’ve found can be a royal pain in the ass…and I’m the type of person that feels that every once in a while, you have to indulge your inner child in order to put up with the nonsense that is real life. I have several ways of doing this, but a few Friday nights ago (actually the first reason why I didn’t do a Friday night post…and then I just fell off the wagon) I did it in one of my favorite ways – venturing back to my teens via a NKOTB concert with my sister and a few girlfriends. Yes, I said it…NKOTB. Blockhead 4 EVA.
Let me give you a little (or a lotta…) background…these dudes came up in 1988, when I was 12 going on 13. Hormones were just beginning to rage, and I was in a home environment where I was not allowed to date until I was 35. And that was actually pretty close to the truth sadly – my Dad was a police officer and I knew better than to screw with his (antiquated, misogynistic, typically Latino) rules…at least until I discovered the 5 boys from Boston.
I spent whatever money I had on Teen Beat (or Bop, Big Bopper, 16 or Tiger Beat) with pictures of them in it, cassette tapes (the horror!) with their music on it, buttons with their faces displayed so I could decorate my backpack and whatever else I could pin them to, and ..yes, concert tickets for these boys. While I had my share of junior high crushes, they were nothing compared to the “feelings” I had for Jonathan, Jordan, Joey Joe, Donnie and Danny. I literally made wallpaper out of pages from the teen magazines so that I could look at their faces from baseboard to ceiling. My sister and I had larger posters of them on the wall behind our television. Anywhere we looked in our room, there they were. I was partial to the Knight brothers, and she was a Donnie girl even though she was only 8 (she still is to this day…and he’s moved up in my favorite list too, I have to admit).
I went to my first NKOTB show on June 25, 1989. It was at the Universal Amphitheater (now known as the Gibson Amphitheater) and Tiffany was the opener. I was more than a little sad when I heard that it was being torn down after 40 years given how many good memories I have from there, though the fact that it is making room for the new Harry Potter world made it sting a little less. While at that show (which was all I dreamed of and more, even from way up in the mezzanine), I discovered at the box office, that they had another 2 shows coming up in December (with Dino and the Cover Girls as openers…pure late 80s cheese). Without asking my parents, I bought a coveted pit seat (with what money? I still don’t remember) and prayed they would let me go. Well, I knew my Mom would. My Dad was the problem. I had to pretend like I hadn’t already bought them and beg him to let me go. He said yes eventually, but not until he made fun of them and made me feel like I had to jump through his hoops to be allowed to…I don’t know… be a teenage girl? You have to understand – I was 13, pretty much got straight As in school, was obedient, did not hang with bad kids, didn’t go out with boys, but that was never good enough. I had to sleep over friend’s houses to do anything that wasn’t sitting with my hands crossed and waiting for his next directive. Thank God I was allowed to do that or my social-emotional growth would have been stunted more than it already was. Ok, I’ve gotten a bit off track here – but more to the point – these boys were the escape from all of that. I could fantasize about them being the perfect boy for me and not worry about having to incur my father’s wrath if I dated them in my head. Singing to me…dancing with and for me (oh, and boy could they dance)…accepting me for what I was, what I liked, who I was. And being super cute all at the same time. What more could a girl ask for?
The December show was one of my favorite experiences of my childhood. So much my favorite that I still have the outfit I wore (yes, I’m sentimental). I’m pretty sure I lost 5 lbs that night because I screamed and jumped up and down the entire time. Joey Joe slapped my hand at the end as they were leaving the stage — I’m pretty sure I didn’t wash it for days. It was bliss. At least for a 13-year old.
I continued to see them as time went on, and was incredibly sad when they stopped putting out music, even though it was clear that they weren’t as into it (see, I still can’t admit they broke up.) I was beyond excited when they got back together - for their fans it was really a dream come true because I don’t think many of us ever stopped loving them.
As an adult, with income, I now chose to spend my money on different things…but the concert tickets for them were still (and always will be) on the list. I saw them twice with Lady Gaga as an opener (yes, SHE opened for THEM...and they were better…though she did grow on me a bit.) I saw them at the Jimmy Kimmel show (thanks to my STBX for that one) and even got to hang out with them in the green room. Hanging out is a term I use loosely because what I really did was down a glass of white wine and have many little heart attacks while I tried to wrap my brain around being in the same room with them. Then, when I was 3 months pregnant with Maya, my friend Sonya and I decided it would be a great idea to plunk down several hundred dollars to do a meet and greet with them.
What I would have loved to do when I was 13 – but could never afford (and back then, you just had to stalk them to meet them…it wasn’t as organized as it is now). For $400, we got nearly front row seats at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater (formerly known as Irvine Meadows), a goodie bag including sunscreen and an outrageously small pair of underwear, and the chance to meet and greet them – for approximately 2 minutes. I’m not kidding. I dropped that kind of cash for 2 minutes and a photo op. This one to be exact:
While ridiculously expensive, it was worth every penny. We plotted as we stood in line, going off of advice we had gotten from previous ladies who had done this – “go to your favorite first, otherwise you might not get to them”, “this one’s friendlier than that one”…I decided to go to my initial favorite Jon, because he’s not as popular as the others (therefore I wouldn’t have to fight for his attention), and I’d heard he was really nice at these events . He was a doll. I made my way straight to him, he gave me a big hug, we had a brief conversation (the only time I find a Boston accent attractive is when it exits one of their mouths…and maybe Mark Wahlberg‘s) and then posed for the picture. Then we had another minute to run around and hug the rest of them. I promised my sister I would tell Donnie that she loved him. I went up to him, gave him a kiss on the cheek and told him that…and he said he loved her too. When I called her later and told her, she cried. I’m not kidding about that either. The concert was highly entertaining as always…and fulfilled that teenage fantasy of meeting my idols.
I skipped the NKOTBSB tour because I’m not a huge fan of Backstreet…but when I heard they were coming around with Boyz II Men, I knew I had to go again. So I rounded up my sister, Sonya and my sister’s BFF Liz-Ann and we had a girl’s night out – completely entertaining.
I said it before and I’ll say it again, Blockhead 4 EVA – thanks for the memories guys, then and now