When last we spoke, I had recounted the story of being hopped up on Sudafed and vodka for two days. In the midst of my (entirely LEGAL) drug-induced stupor, I managed to meet Jon Knight and Joey McIntyre (click linky's for the pix). Something that I didn't stress enough in my first recap (because I was still pretty mortified about the whole yoga pants/onion breath thing), is that I was ELATED. I have loved New Kids since I was 13 years old.
I'm an accountant, so I'll do the math for you. That is TWENTY years, my friends. I never fell off. I can't say that I'm some crazy groupie who follows them around the universe and knows the name of every bodyguard and producer on their staff, but that's because I have a job and a life. If I was independently wealthy with no necessity for a 9 to 5er, I would be following the New Kids around like the Dead Heads did Jerry Garcia.
There's no shame in my game.
Meeting two of the guys on Thursday night was literally like a dream. Kari and I kept asking each other if we were going to wake up. I know that for those who have never been crazy in love with a celebrity, this sounds like a foreign language. For me, this has been my one fanatic obsession since I was 13. I mean seriously...I'm an accountant. I'm more likely to worship my spreadsheets than I am to worship Brad Pitt, but NKOTB is just something that I never let go of.
After two nights of being up WAY past my bedtime, it was very difficult to wake up on Saturday. Like, as in, if I hadn't spent a bazillion dollars on the I Love All Access 5 Star Package, I might have slept until the the end of all eternity. I am not a person who functions well on less than 7 hours of sleep, and coupled with the fact that I had been infected with some crazy coughing-sneezing-stuffy head-fever-tickling nose-watering eyes-disease (which I was sure that I was going to die from), I was a very unhappy camper.
But, I knew that the show must go on.
I dragged my sick ass out of bed around noon, we grabbed a bite to eat, and from that point until 3PM, we were on a mission to become as beautiful as humanly possible. My challenge was especially difficult, considering my aforementioned illness, which had also caused every bit of fluid in my body to take up residence in my head. And my nose had been blown more times in the previous 72 hours than...well...use your own analogy on that one.
Before I left for the trip, I was really excited when I found these Coach sandals on uber sale at Nordstrom's.
I was not, however, very excited about the state of my feet after having worn them for about 20 hours straight on Friday, which included dancing my ass off to DJ Cheapshot in them for 3 hours.
(...new shoes + dancing = always a bad idea).
When I chose my dress for Saturday night, I had originally planned on wearing these:
After having these shoes on my feet for approximately 4.2 seconds, I opted for these--slightly less sexy, but a helluva lot more comfortable.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want you to understand that this was one of the last good decisions that I made for the remainder of the night.
We stood in line to wait for our All Access party and Meet & Greet for a little over an hour, and then everyone filed upstairs into the area outside of the concert auditorium. Then, we lined up again to pick up our All Access lanyards. We made friends with a group of 5 girls behind us in line, and when we reached the table where the lanyards were being given out, Kari and I were supposed to tell the woman that we had a party of 7.
The reason for this is because when going in to the room to meet 'da boys, you're herded in groups of 10. When you get in the room, you literally have moments to pseudo-mingle, then take a spot next to the man of your choice. At that point, two pictures are taken to commemorate the moment. If you happen to end up in a ranky group of 10 girls that you don't know, you're liable to have to fight your way over to Donnie (or the man of your choice), and you might not get a great picture. This is how the scenario was explained to Kari and I. We were newbs, so we had no idea what the hell was going on.
When we reached the table of lanyards, we told the woman that we had two in our party. Two. Not seven. Not purposely, just because we were overwhelmed. Fortunately, this turned out to be a good decision. We ended up being in Group A. The first group to enter the room, and the first group to get in line for a spot in front of the stage. This, my friends, was THE last good decision of the night.
The meet and greet was fast but fun. We ended up with an awesome group of girls, and the plan was that we would go into the room and say our initial hello to all of the guys, and then cuddle Danny for the first picture. After the first picture was taken, one of the girls in the group (Vanessa), would yell "SWITCH!", and we would go over and snuggle Donnie.
It went off without a hitch.
I was too chicken that I would get kicked out, so I kept my initial mingling to a minimum. The people from I Love All Access who run the meet and greet were very bossy, and I tend to respond when people yell at me loudly. I went over and said something to Danny. I think I told him I love his Tweets or something queer.
I loved him, and he was cute and short.
Kari and I scurried over to Donnie...the man I came for.
I think I immediately started sweating profusely and telling him how much I loved him. He gave me a kiss and a huge hug, and then I started blabbering about how much fun I had at Club Mixx the previous night. He said he was so glad, and told me to make sure that we went after the show that night again. I told him I wouldn't miss it. I think he kissed and hugged Kari in the midst of that, but I was focused on him. He could have made out with her and I would've never known. He had his arm around my waist, and friends, all was right in my world. I reached back and held onto his hand as the picture was taken.
Leaving that room, I was sappy. Sad because I was leaving one of the most ridiculous experiences of my life, and happy because I had just met the men who had framed my universe when I was young. I know, I know. You either get it or you don't...but this was a huge check mark on my bucket list.
We left the room elated, and quickly picked up our goodie bags and the camera that we had to check before going inside the room, and then stepped to the front of the line outside of the auditorium doors. I was pretty sure that this spot in line would insure that we would get front row for the show, but there were no guarantees. The guys who were working security for the show told us that if they caught us running when they opened the doors, we would be sent to the back of the line. That would've been lame, so I did what any sensible human would. I removed my wedge sandals and prepared for the most important power walk of my life.
Sh!t...I practically power walked an entire marathon. I could certainly power walk 200 yards to the front row of an NKOTB show!
From the moment we got to the front row, we were chatting up everyone around us. There were so many nice people near us, and I actually met the cutest little gal named Jenny. Have you ever met someone who you just instantly click with, and the conversation flows so naturally that before you realize it, you've told that (poor) person your entire life story? That was me with Jenny.
Hopefully I can hang with little Jenny sometime again soon. The beautiful thing about technology is that she now reads my blog (HI JENNY!), and we are connected through Twitter as well. And Jenny, I promise I don't tell everyone my life story within the first 15 minutes.
All of my incessant chatting made the time before the show pass very quickly. Next thing I knew, the show had started, I had my shoes off, and I was dancing as much as I could in the packed front row.
You guys...we were close. I swear I kept pinching myself.
For that entire hour-ish long show, I rested my arms on the barrier that kept us from rushing the stage (believe me...it kept us from rushing the stage). Today (even nearly a week later), I cannot rest my arms on anything, lest I cry out in utter pain. There are no visible bruises, but there is definitely some sort of strange internal NKOTB concert barrier bruising. Warning.
During this little diddy that included several guitars and all of the boys lined up on stage, Donnie smiled at me. ME. Yes, I'm positive it was a smile specifically for me because he loves me. And only me. (Just go with it, OK)?
At this point in the show, I made the observation that Joe was wearing eyeliner. He did a very cool cover of "Sweet Dreams" by the Eurythmics, which rolled into the newish NKOTB song "Twisted". As a result, this mashup has been stuck in my head for 5 days.
I didn't take any videos because I'm chicken, and their big bodyguard (Earl) was walking around checking people's cameras, but here is one that I found from this show on Youtube of Donnie singing "Dirty Dancing"
Kari and I made a deal that we would leave before the show was over so that we could go to Club Mixx and get in line. We knew it was going to be swarmed, and thought this would make it easier to get in. We left somewhere around Step By Step/Hangin' Tough. This was mistake #1. We got to Club Mixx, and despite the fact that we left EARLY from the show, the line was huge. The doors hadn't opened yet, but there were a bazillion people there. We decided to wait it out, and we actually ended up running into some of the girls from the original "Party of 7 That Never Was" group. They asked us to get in line with them, but then they all disappeared.
We finally got inside after waiting for about an hour, and it was crazy packed already. We were kind of bummed, so we did what we do best. Had some Lemondrop shots and various liquor-laced drinks. After some time, we ran into Vanessa (who was the girl who yelled "SWITCH" in our A group at the meet & greet). We really liked Vanessa, and ended up going to the upstairs bar with her and her friend. By that time, the guys had arrived at the club, and they were also upstairs...but they were about 500 security guards away from us. We couldn't even see them.
Everything was absolute insanity. Since all of the guys were there (instead of just Joe and Donnie like the previous night), it was total pandemonium. By the time that one of us finally got close enough to a railing in order to be able to see over to where the guys were, we had got completely distracted and lost Vanessa et al. Mistake #2.
Gazing across the club to where the guys were, Kari spotted Vanessa. Standing directly next to Danny. Chatting him up. We lost all of our peeps, and it turned out that when everything was done and over with, practically all of them had ended up hanging out with the guys that night. With only the knowledge that the place was packed, we had lost all of our new friends, and that we weren't getting anywhere, Kari and I jumped on the elevator and left the joint.
Then, we did what any other drunk, crazed, disappointed fan would do. We went to the food court, got Chinese food, and cried in our fried rice. It was assuredly the most ridiculous moment of the entire trip, but we were feeling emotional (and drunk). So we just let it out.
(I'm literally laughing right now. I hope you are too. Even THAT part is ridiculous to me.)
But hey...we were sad. I think that it was a combination of everything, including the fact that we knew that our fun weekend was coming to a close. After we regained our composure, we decided to go out and gamble away some of our money. You know...just to add insult to injury. However, it was at that point that the night began to look up.
While I was spending my $15 voucher in one of the slot machines, Kari started chatting up some Amish guy sitting next to her gambling. Yes, I said Amish guy.
However, it turns out that he wasn't a real Amish guy. He was just a poser, and he was part of a band called The Amish Outlaws (they're on facebook, it's legit). He told us that he was on a break, but that his band was playing at The Gypsy bar around the corner. We decided to go for it.
We had so much fun. This definitely livened up the night, and made us feel much better. After we had fully experienced the Amish Outlaws, we were hungry again (no idea what all of the drunk hunger was about), and we went back to our trusty Borgata cafeteria. As soon as we had sat down, Jon Knight walked in to get a burger. It was very ironic after the night that we had, and sort of made things a little less sad.
This week, I can't get the experience out of my mind. I feel so lucky to have been able to have such an incredible weekend with the guys. I'm amazed by how nice they are to their fans, even after all of these years. I am still in love with Donnie, and I probably always will be. I'm already stalking any updates that come out for the NKOTB cruise next May. Apparently the tickets go on sale in August. I'll totally be there.
By then, I'll be another year older and wiser. For the cruise, I intend to wear sensible shoes, I won't mix liquor with wine, and I'll try not to cry in my fried rice.
But I can't really make any promises on that last one.