Step 10 - Block Party: Episode 4 - Kara, Krista, Danielle, and Lesley
Are you ready for some amazing New Kids on the Block fan stories? Welcome to the Block Party - a New Kids on the Block (NKOTB) segment of the My So-Called Whatever Podcast. In this episode we hear from Kara who shares an amazing PPV kiss with the ONE AND ONLY Donnie Wahlberg, Krista a forever blockhead who loves to cruise, and Lesley who has MULTIPLE Joey McIntyre encounters as well as a possible Chicken Pox encounter with Danny Wood!
Listen to our podcast episode below then use the images and content below to follow along! As we talk about in the podcast, you're gonna want to watch the video below before you hear Kara's story...so if you haven't started yet, watch the video :)
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When I saw your article about seeing Donnie on his motor cycle at Lake Compounce in Bristol CT back in the early 90's it all came back to me. I don't even believe that we had a camera to capture it! But we did and probably developed it at the local Fotomat!
I would like to open by saying I have been an OG fan of the New Kids since they started in the late 80's. I graduated high school in '89 and it was the beginning of my college years that we (my sister and friend) discovered that Boston wasn't too far from Connecticut. I remember going to a local promo stop at KC 101 in Connecticut and Jordan and Danny were telling people where they lived... even Donnie. We decided it would be fun to try to meet the boys up in Boston. We actually figued out it wasn't just us who could find their homes- Jon and Jordan were in Dorchester as well as Danny and they lived about five minutes from each other. Donnie lived in Braintree and wasn't far either. If they were not on tour, they were home and you just needed to be patient and wait close by. Donnie was the most accessible. I can remember him driving a red Saab convertible, a BMW and Mercedes and a white Corvette convertible and of course, the motorcycle. On one occasion we were getting gas at a station near his home in Braintree and he rode up to the pump on his motorcycle. What a moment, to see Donnie pull up at a pump and pump his own gas! We got out of the car and ran up to say hi (why couldn't camera phones have been invented?) and he was so sweet and friendly. Donnie is always nice and never arrogant, always happy to talk to fans. It's a quality about him that makes you just love him because he is so genuine! I had many other occasions where I ran into Donnie and he invited me to hang out on occasions get many pictures over the years. On one of my adventures when I told my mom I would be sleeping over at a friends house nearby, I was photographed screaming for the guys and on the cover of the Boston Globe. Recently the NKOTB Instagram featured the picture! I had another crazy experience being on a 1991 pay per view concerts and Donnie called me up for a kiss! See video link!
Lake Compounce was one of many encounters- we were driving to the concert and saw a motorcycle pass us on the high way and seeing the skull and crossbones leather jacket that we had seen a few months before, we went nuts- OMG Donnie on a highway in CT on a motorcycle! Is this possible? Why isn't he on the tour bus? What did we just see? We sped up to catch another look and we saw those "Wahlberg eyes" through the helmet. He saw us and we followed him off the highway and straight to the road where you can enter the Lake Compounce theme park. He pulled over and stopped. When he signaled, we all jumped out of the car and ran up to him (still surprised that we even had a camera) and I was able to take a picture with him. He again was so nice and happy to stop for the picture. I remember it being an outdoor concert and it was so hot, but the music was great and I was on such a high from meeting him again that I couldn't see straight. I have the picture of myself and Donnie on the motorcycle and the last tour, have had the opportunity to show him and I love to see his reaction to "old photos".
Last month I celebrated my 2 year recovery from heart failure during open heart surgery. My sister promised me while I was in a coma that if I lived we would go to the Total Package Tour and we did! We also took my 17 and 20 year old daughters!
Here is a link to the original Boston Globe Photo: See the original Boston Globe Photo
Nikki and Brooke,
Hi! I discovered your podcast recently when Donnie posted about one of your episodes with fan experiences on Facebook. I've been enjoying all of them, especially the Block Party ones about NKOTB.
My sister and I are pretty big Blockheads and I wanted to share some of my photos of memorabilia with you. We were big fans back in the day and we even managed to convince our parents to bring us to one show during the Magic Summer Tour in 1990. Since they have gotten back together, we have gone to a show during every tour (and we even did two shows this tour- the last stops in Tampa and Hollywood, Florida). We have done the group meet and greets (which I agree, can be nerve wracking and stressful) and we were lucky enough to do an ultimate meet and greet during The Main Event Tour. We will also be going on our 4th cruise this year. The first one was supposed to be a special, once-in-a-lifetime trip for my 35th birthday but we keep going back every year. We have made friends from all over the country and even internationally through the cruises and social media groups so it's greatto meet up once a year in person to spend time together.
Anyway, here are the photos I wanted to share with you. I'm loving your podcast so keep up the great work!
Just wanted to share these with you since I know you are looking for photos and stories for your podcast.
Looking forward to the next one!
P.S.- As a Joey girl, I really envied as well as enjoyed your story about him singing to Nikki during If You Go Away during this tour!
Now that I think about it, the New Kids have always been there. They're the big brothers of the music world, always looking out for each other and for us fans, their "sisters". They've certainly been a guiding force for me, with good music to lean on and good principles and words of wisdom to live by, in recent times. I'll never forget the encounters I've had with them in pop culture over the years, from seeing Joe perform with Britney Spears on the Disney Channel (He was the first band-member I ever saw on t. v. I was eight years old.), to seeing Jordan describe how he'd been the one to come up with the idea for the "Right Stuff" dance moves (I think that was "100 Greatest Songs of the 80s), to Donnie's sure-to-be-iconic role as New York's coolest detective. Their charm, determination, kindness, humor, and humility make them role-models beyond their incredible songs and slick choreography. I know I'll teach my eight-year-old godson, and my own children when I eventually have them, with the same values as the New Kids hold dear. It bothers me when misunderstanding people make snide comments, whenever one of the guys does something nice. It's like they're trying to devalue a good deed simply because it becomes public, and it's sad that they can't believe some in today's world can actually be that generous and sensitive. I'm one of the rare Blockheads who doesn't have a "favorite" in the group. Among the girls who do, you can usually guess their personality by their chosen guy. I see too much of myself in each of them to do that. I can be shy sometimes and often have issues with anxiety--my parallel to the Knight brothers. I've had two relatives touched by cancer, my godmother who survived and an aunt by marriage who didn't--my parallel to Danny. I watched another relative (my maternal grandmother) slowly succumb to dementia and eventually pass away--my parallel to Joe. I'm a very fun-loving person. I also remember the difficulties my mother faced in raising me alone, how we struggled financially and often had to beg for help--my parallels with Donnie, issues which he's been very open about. That's another reason why I love this band: their honesty. They're not ashamed to talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly in their lives, which only makes us feel even more connected to them. They've accepted us into their fold, and we've accepted them into ours. However long this journey goes on for, we will be right there with them to walk its road together.
We had responded to Danielle via email and really wanted to share her response:
I was a little nervous about your reaction to my e-mail, since I was going on a bit of a leap of faith with it. I carry my loved ones with me every day, whether it's through a passed-down food recipe, a piece of jewelry I wear, or a particular charity I've chosen to support. I also happen to share a parallel with Donnie's stepson, Evan. I, too, am autistic, and I received my diagnosis when I was eleven (don't know what they call it now, but it used to be called Asperger's Syndrome). It's gotten easier to understand and deal with as I've gotten older, but certain things are still a struggle. And of course, you have my permission to share my original e-mail on a future episode. I hope at least one listener connects with it.
Ok lets get in the way back machine….
It started in 1988 when I first heard Tiffany’s music and I loved it!! Had her album and yes vinyl album with the big pull out poster and all. My dad worked at the local concert venue so he got us tickets to see her in concert. I honestly can not remember nor can find information on if NKOTB opened for her that show but I don’t think so. I can just remember screaming so loud I hurt my mothers ears.
Shortly after that circa 1989 I was at my best friend Tara’s house and her sister (who was two years older than us) had recorded these guys and showed us. I want to say it was the Apollo show but I may be wrong. It was a long time ago. We immediately fell in love and our obsession soon surpassed her sisters. Maybe it was because we were in 7th grade and she was in high school but these five guys soon took over our lives.
I was originally a Jordan girl but so was Tara and we all know best friends can not have the same favorite so after a dream I had about Joey in the commercial for the official tour jacket (that I got as an 8th grade graduation gift, yes I still have it) and his mop of curly hair I transitioned to a Joey girl. It’s odd because in real life I tend to go for dark hair and eyes and Tara for light hair and eyes but whatever the reason those were our guys. I am still a Joey girl today bit with EXTREME Donnie tendencies.
We did attend a couple of concert back then. One show we were to the side of the stage and Mark and Joe’s dad were a few rows ahead of us. I did not approach them. I remember we were wearing white because Tara’s sister said it would be easier for them to see us in the crowd (and therefore marry us) if we were wearing white. LOL and I will swear to this day Jon waved at me. Do you remember at the end of the show Donnie would take off his sweaty white tshirt and throw it into the crowd? Why did he think that was a good idea? Someone was gonna get killed!! Well it came right at us and the girls behind us dove onto us to grab it. We tried to rip it but couldn’t and the security guard ended up taking it from us before we killed each other. I’m still mad to this day. We ended up getting a piece of a towel he had used but it wasn’t the same.
I never got to meet any of the guys back then and not for a lack of trying and begging etc. It just never worked out.
The closest we got was 1992. We took a drive into Boston (we only live an hour outside of the city) to see if we could find Joey. We somehow knew both his house in JP and Brookline address tho I could not tell you how. We first went to his Brookline house (the one that was on cribs). The house is surrounded by a huge fence and gate but the gate was open so we walked thru and up to the front door and rang the bell. The way the house is set up there is a big glass wall to the left? Of the door and up walks Joey. OMFG!!!!! We wait and wait and finally Tom (Joe’s brother) comes to the door and says Joe is not home. UMMM we just saw him!!! He told us that their mom was not well and that they were not taking any visitors and asked how we got in. We said the gate was open. Oops. Joe never came to see us and we left. We then went straight to his JP house. I grabbed some leaves from the front yard ( see pics I still have them) and while we were standing there Joe’s dad pulls up. He had just got home from the bar it was freezing out so he asked us inside. Holy crap I’m inside Joey McIntyres house!!! He took some pics with us and we went on our way.
Once in high school it wasn’t cool to like NKOTB so we hid our obsession and moved on to real life boys.
Fast forward to College 1994. I’m from MA so it wasn’t a surprise I went to college in Boston. I met a girl there and I can’t remember her name but she had been a huge fan and lived in Boston so she knew where all the guys lived. OMG are you serious!! Get a car we are going right now!!
Now keep in mind I’m a 17 yr old college freshman and I’m stalking NKOTB houses like I’m 12… whatever
So we pull up to Danny’s house and OMG there it is in real life just like the pictures!!! I had the camera and pen and paper all ready for this moment I had been waiting sooo long for. We go up to the door. Ring the bell. A little girl answers. Now remember I’m there with my best friend Tara who is very quiet I’m the loud one and always take the lead. I have no idea who asked but one of us managed to squeak out “is Danny home??”. Yup hold on. What!! He’s here? like actually going to come to the door!!!! I couldn’t move couldn’t breathe I just stood there in utter shock. He came to the door told us he was home because he had the chicken pox. I have no idea if that was true (maybe I’ll ask him someday). Tara hit me and said you have the camera and paper. Oh shit yes paper, autograph, picture. I somehow fumbled out the items. We got his autograph and picture and went on our way after thanking him 100 times. That was my first NKOTB meeting and I’m really glad it was Danny because I think I would be dead right now if it had been anyone else.
Next meeting 1998, the local radio station Kiss 108 had frequent live shows on Friday mornings. The host was friends with Joe and frequently golfed with him. It was announced that Joe would be the special guest at an upcoming live show. This was my chance to meet him!! I applied for tickets to the live show and got them. Was this real? Was I really going to finally meet Joey after 10 years of waiting??
Yup! He came out did the show, there he was just feet from us. At some point during the show there was a contest of sorts and the crowd all went to the side to watch. I felt someone’s hand on my back/hip moving me to the side and saying excuse me to get thru the crowd. I look, it’s Joe. Joe, Joe just touched me and talked to me!!! I’m dying but trying to keep my shit together. Keep calm Lesley don’t act like an idiot. He finished the show and after stayed to take pictures and autographs with fans. There were not a ton of us there so it was pretty calm. I have zero recollection of what I said to him. I’m sure it was stupid.
That story is worth mentioning. We were frequent patrons of the club The Roxy in Boston. If you have ever seen “ The Heat” with Sandra Bullock that’s the club. Well we ALWAYS went on Saturday nights and had special Gold cards to get in free and cut the line. This was a Friday. As we pulled into the garage we always parked in I see Joe walking out. I start screaming omg omg that’s Joey McIntyre!!! My friend who I was with thought I meant someone that looked like him. No no that’s actually him!!! And there he goes….. we park and go to the door of the club. Our cards don’t work on Friday. UGH!! So we put our name on a list because we knew people that worked there but we had to wait so we went downstairs to a different bar that had a band playing. And guess who’s friend was in the band….. This is real life not a meet and greet not a cd signing just two people in their 20’s at the bar.
Now I’m def going to marry him! LOL My friend is the most outgoing person you will ever meet and was NOT a blockhead so she was like let’s go talk to him, um what? No! yes no!
She starts walking, oh god this is happening!!! We approach Joe and his friends. I lock eyes with his friend. What are you doing Lesley? Joey McIntyre is standing right there!! We talked for a bit again I don’t remember about what but it was more relaxed, I think I was pretty cool this time around, it was typical bar chat about the band his friend etc and my friend had the lead so I could relax. We took our pic with him and went back to our friends. A little bit later the host of the show comes up to my friend who was wearing a crazy pair of pants (typical club wear circa 2000) and parades her around the dance floor and there is Joey screaming for her. Joey is screaming for my friend. Isn’t it supposed to be the other way around?? Shortly after that we could get in the club upstairs and left. Why did I leave?? Something was wrong with me. Again to this day I’m mad at myself.
Ok who’s next? Jon….
1999. Hampton Beach casino NH. Joey concert. We get to the show have incredible seats!! This venue is set up with table and such so you are watching the show sitting down having drinks. So nice!! We see a bustle of activity up front and realize it’s Jon. Jon is there at the show. We have to get to him, but how there are people surrounding him. When the show let out everyone poured out the back doors to where the busses were parked all trying to see Joe. I looked at Tara as we were standing in the mass of people and said Why would Jon come out this way?? He’s going to go out the way we came in where no one is. So we high tailed it around the building and out to the front. There was maybe a handful of fans waiting there. And guess who was right!! Out walks Jon with a few friends in tow. We calmly walked up to him asked him for a pic. He gave us his signature hug, signed an autograph and was super sweet but quiet. This is my all time favorite pic with a New Kid. I actually look good unlike my unfortunate outfit in the Danny meeting.
This brings us to 2000 and Jordan.
Now let me remind you that Tara is a Jordan girl as is her sister. We had tickets to see Janet Jackson in Boston but the traffic was horrible so we were late getting to the show and when we got there we were starving so we stopped at the dunkin donuts in the Garden to get some food before we went into the show. So we are standing there eating. If you have ever been to the garden you can imagine where we are. Near the doors between the dunkins and the box office windows. (Nikki this is the spot we met!!)
So I look over and you have got to be shitting me but that is Jordan Knight in the will call line. I freak the fuck out (sorry kids) Tara can’t move or breathe. I’m screaming to her sister to give me her Dunkins bag so I have something for him to sign. I grab Tara and we run up to him. Like idiots, again, why can I not pull my shit together when meeting them?? So me in all my genius say to him “You’re Jordan Knight!!”. I’m sure he needed to be told that… and why this is the one conversation I can remember word for word I have no idea, maybe because it was the worst?
So I say “don’t lie to me I know who you are!” really Lesley really!!! His friend says “dude we can’t take you anywhere”. So I ask for his autograph and he obliges and gives it to me and walks away. Tara has still yet to say a word I think. As soon as he is out of ear shot she breaks down crying (I’m the cryer not her) and says she can die now. We did not have a camera so we don’t have a picture from this ☹
She cried thru the entire Janet concert and I think for a good month after saying her life was complete and she was prepared to die. Never change Tara I love you!
So that concludes my pre reunion NKOTB adventures. There are a LOT more post 2008 I will work on for next time.
Podcasts we talked about:
And That's Why We Drink (Nikki totally butchered the name!): https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/and-thats-why-we-drink/id1204570053?mt=2