Like Being 15 Again…

About 15 years ago, or maybe a little longer than that, a young girl wrote a 4 page letter, double sided and in five different colors and sent it to the Rosemont Horizon. That letter was addressed to the New Kids on the Block, and each of the colors in the letter was for each member of the group - Joey, Jordan, Jonathan, Donnie and my assigned favorite, Danny. Assigned? you ask? Well, my sisters and cousins were fans, too, so each of us had a favorite. Jonathan Knight was Melanie’s favorite. Donnie Wahlberg was Claudine’s. Jordan Knight was Marian’s. Joey McIntyre was Fatima’s. So I was left with Danny Wood. Not that there was anything wrong with Danny…he definitely was cute. But I think if it was left up to me, I would have picked Jordan or Jonathan. Nevertheless, I was a good fan to Danny. We hung their posters on our walls. We got their albums as soon as they came out (cassettes, of course). We sang their songs together. We watched their videos. We were hoping that one day, we’d be their “Covergirl”s. (I’m rolling my eyes at myself for even typing that last sentence) At night I would lay my head on my pillow, nuzzling my face on my NKOTB pillow case.

Aaaanyway…I don’t really remember what I wrote in that letter - probably that I loved them…I only know that I had written to them and sent it to the Rosemont Horizon because I was going to their concert later that week and a little bit of me was hoping that I could bypass writing a letter to their official fanclub and risk it getting lost among thousands of other letters, and they would get it when they landed in Chicago and that during their concert they would say, “Christine, we got your letter…come up on stage!”

Alas, it never happened.

Since that letter, a lot has happened in my life. Had my first boyfriend. Graduated high school. Went to college. Graduated from college. Got married. Had a kid. Every now and then I would get reminders of them - Joey’s solo hit, Donnie’s appearance in “Sixth Sense”, Jordan’s one solo hit, and the pale, pudgy, creepy Jordan in the Surreal Life. Outside of that, life had moved on after NKOTB spurned me in my youth.

Until earlier this year, when I found out about the New Kids on the Block reunion, and saw their publicity photo, realizing that they had aged pretty well.

Then I found out that they were having a reunion tour. Didn’t really think much of it since I’m not a concert going person anymore. However, I believe it was my cousin Kathy that brought up coming to Chicago to watch the concert with the gals. How could I say no to a visit from my favorite Texan?

I was surprised that the Chicago concert sold out in several days - they had even added a second show. I didn’t think that people still cared. Truthfully, I was looking forward to a fun night with the girls, and to reminisce on a long gone time of my life. I wasn’t really expecting a lot from the concert.

But I’ll be the first to admit that it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to. When we got there (security made me return my DSLR camera to the car - there was no security check when we went to the American Idol concert) there was a massive line for t-shirts…it took about an hour just to get to the front of the line. Also, the average age was about 30, and there was about 100 females to every male. It was fun to see what people were wearing, from t-shirts and jeans to some skankalicious club tops and high heels to the 40 year old women wearing New Kids shirts from 15 years ago (admittedly, I would have worn mine if a) I could find it and b) I’d fit it).

The opening act was RnB star Colby O’Donis (who? yeah, that’s what I said, too) who sang his only hit as the last song of his act, and that’s when I was like, “Oh, ok…he’s the guy who sings THAT song…” The second opening act was a treat - Natasha Bedingfield. She was definitely incredible. Her voice (which was obviously live) was strong and she sang all her hits. It’s great to hear someone sing live well. Anytime the opening acts would mention “New Kids on the Block” the arena would erupt into high pitched screams - but what I would realize later was only a mere fraction of the ear shattering sound it would reach later than night.

Before the show, the screens next to the stage asked people to text messages to a number to get moved up to the front row and get backstage passes. During the intermission after Natasha’s set, it was fun to read the messages that people sent in, because they put them on the big screens. “This time the concert isn’t after my bedtime” and “It’s been 15 years since I went to your last concert and my seats are no better now than they were then” and “I wish you had Debbie Gibson as your opening act!” and “I still fit into the NKOTB shirt I had when I was 12!”.

Finally, the lights went out, and the stadium went crazy. After several fake-outs by the band, the New Kids finally came on stage, and let me tell you, the audience went apeshit out of their minds. I was thinking my eardrums would pop out! Of course, I was screaming too, because it was just so crazy. They started off with one of their new songs, but later segued to “My Favorite Girl”, a song that I totally forgot but the lyrics came back to me quickly, which was something that happened often throughout the night. They had a good mix of old songs and new songs, and we all sang along with the ones we remembered, which was a lot. By “we” I mean the 18,000 fans that were there, shouting out the lyrics. There’s a weird thing that happens when you’re singing along to “The Right Stuff” with an arena full of estrogen screaming at five men in their mid-thirties. It became like a timewarp, and we were all giddy 15 year olds at our first concerts, who had begged our parents to let us go, who came their with our best friends and saved our money for months to pay for tickets, a t-shirt and program. We screamed, we looked at each other and giggled, I even waved my hands in the air during “Hanging Tough”…

Melanie’s awesome video (can you hear everyone singing?)

So yes, it was one of the best concerts I have ever been to. I was with the best people possible - Melanie, Kathy, Claudine, Fatima and Kim, who were also transformed into squealing fangirls. There were definitely some highlights in the show, and I’d have to say that the most surprising thing was….and if you don’t want spoilers you may want to skip down to the next paragraph…the most surprising thing was Jordan Knight, coming up in a white button down shirt, unbuttoning it to reveal some INCREDIBLE abs (click here for proof). Those of you who watched the Surreal Life may remember him as pudgy and a little creepy, but man, it was incredible. I was giggling and screaming at the same time and just about lost my mind. We were transported to a time when we didn’t care about work, our kids, paying bills, the economy, or the election - a time when we were happy and didn’t have a care in the world.

One of Mel’s pics

What also made the concert so great was how the guys have matured. They’ve all aged pretty well - to me, Danny probably aged the best - he’s got this hard edge to him now and has grown into his strong facial features (and incredible biceps). Jordan is no longer a pretty boy, he’s just plain hot now…not sure what happened to the fangs he used to have before. The rest of them look pretty good - makes me laugh that Donnie’s still wearing hats on stage. There was some swearing during the concert and definitely a lot more crotch grabbing than I remembered from 15 years ago. The guys (except for Jonathan, but he gets a pass) seemed a lot more at ease on stage, a lot more confident and dare I say sexy. They’re no longer babies - they’ve been around the block, and it was obvious by their charisma and how they played to the crowd. They seemed just as amazed as we were at our reactions.

Anyway, it was a great time. At the end of the night, Donnie thanked the audience, because their comeback tour would have been really crappy if no one bought any tickets. I think it was a surprise to everyone how quickly the tickets sold. In the end, though I have to thank the New Kids (it makes me laugh to say that because come on, they’re not kids) for giving all of us a carefree night with 18,000 of my best friends, singing my heart out without a care in the world.

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2008-10-08 18:16:37

The other Tara says

Thank you for the recap. You guys look like you had such a great time!! I’ve been trying to convince my 15 yo daughter to go to their concert when they’re here, but she considers them old people… I can’t seem to convince her that she’d be the envy of her friends (LOL)

2008-10-09 07:24:13

Yano says

She may not be the envy of her friends, but I think it’ll bring you closer together. She’ll see you and thousands of people like you enjoying the Jonas Brothers of your time. She’ll get a good laugh out of it.

2008-10-08 21:24:20

daysies says

that was a GREAT recap! when i saw that they were coming to Chicago the day before my birthday i thought of you girls first. how else would i spend my birthday except with my best girls! :) i wish you could’ve taken your camera - i think you would’ve gotten GREAT pics, too. thank you for screaming, singing, and dancing along with me! i’ll never forget that night - and i’m sure Fata’s ear is still ringing. LOL

to the other Tara: your daughter was just a toddler when they stopped touring! LOL of course they’re old to her! but if she would, she would be the envy of all her friends’ moms! HAHA!

2008-10-09 07:26:12

Yano says

I was so happy that you came! It was really so much fun, it’s hard to fully describe how great it was.

2008-10-10 09:48:23

bumblebootie says

it was WAY too much fun reliving our youth together… can’t wait for the next comeback tour… who’s next? Menudo maybe? pwhahaha! =P

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2008-10-10 10:25:49

Yano says

Didn’t we see Robby Rosa when we were at Downtown Disney? It’s no fun when you’re seeing individual members singing - they all must be together!

2008-10-13 16:48:40

The other Tara says

Ok, if Menudo got back together, and I’m talking the Ricky Martin years, I’ll fly up there to go with you… Funny that you would recognize Robby Rosa, not many people remember him. I shamefully admit to seeing his movie, Salsa, at least 6 times in the theater. I know that he still has a singing career now, that is much darker than his previous life with Menudo.

2008-10-08 21:25:10

daysies says

and yes, with me & my sisters & friends, we all had our “assigned” New Kid, too. how funny! :D

2008-10-09 00:20:04

suzie says

Thank you for blogging about this. I can only hope that the Kids will swing by Malaysia so I can also go to their concert. I’m already saving up for two tickets (me and my husband) *lol*. Thank god he’s also a fan. His favourite song is Tonight :-P

2008-10-09 07:28:45

Yano says

I think that their North America tour has been successful enough to launch a world tour, because hey, they were worldwide sensation back in the day, too. I don’t think their going to have much success with their latest album (just being realistic, fans are going to hear their old songs, not their new ones) so a world tour would be the way to be able to make more cash. :-P

2008-10-09 08:26:05

daysies says

i could tell that once they sang the songs that haven’t been played on the radio yet (like 2 in the Morning, Dirty Dancing, Twisted, and one other), the sing-a-long died down a bit… i know i didn’t know the words! LOL but Summertime, Single, and Click Click Click has had some airplay for a while.

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2008-10-09 21:54:04

Dina says

Yay! I been waiting on your recap, b/c I’m going TOMORROW!!!! I’m so excited. I want to bring a camera but I’m scared of it getting taken away. We’re CLOSE to the stage. I had a feeling there would be some skanktacular wimmins there. LMAO. I’m so excited!!!!

2008-10-10 10:24:37

Yano says

You should bring your camera (if it’s a small one). Tons of people had their digital cameras. The only reason mine was taken away was because it was a big one. What’s the worst that could happen? They make you take it back to the car.

2008-10-10 07:41:57

Marie says

I really wish that I had gone to a concert or something when I was in high school. Unfortunately, the only person I was a big fan of during those years was Aaliyah. But maybe if someone ever holds an anniversary concert for her like what was done with Selena, I would go.

One of my friends was a fan of NSync during their years. I’m going to send her this link and tell her this is what’ll happen if/when they get back together for a reunion tour.

2008-10-14 12:55:22

Bobbie says

OMG, I am sitting here getting goosebumps while reading your post…LOL I was SOOOOO in love with them back then. My favorite was Jordan and Donnie (have to have a Bad Boy in there somewhere)! I am SO jealous. I live in Oklahoma and they are going to be in Dallas, TX this coming weekend. I so wish I was going to be there. I guess, rockin out to the greatest hits CD will have to be enough for me for know…LOL
Have a great day!!!


2008-10-18 05:37:48

Pineapple Man says

Wow. That sounded awesome. Yeah Debbie Gibson would have been a great opening act.

2008-10-24 13:13:56

Lynn says

my sister forwarded me your site, and i’m so excited for the concert tonight. i’m dragging my poor boyfriend, so hopefully he will enjoy it somewhat.

2008-10-25 10:32:16

Yano says

I’m thinking your boyfriend will have more fun watching the reaction of the audience than the actual concert itself. Seeing 30 year olds losing their minds during a concert would be pretty entertaining.


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