Step 142 - NKOTB Block Party #77 : New Kids on the Block Fan Stories from Maggie, Becky, and Julie
Join us this week as we hear some amazing New Kids on the Block fan stories! Maggie tells us an amazing early NKOTB story that ended with a chance encounter with Donnie Wahlberg. Becky describes her New Kids on the Block journey which ends with meeting the New Kids this summer at the Mixtape Tour. Finally, Julie sends us her amazing Mixtape meet and greet story that involves "putting it into the universe and it can happen".
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Maggie’s Donnie Story from 1989
Hi Brooke & Nikki!
Hope you are both doing well. I want to start off by thanking you for your podcast. I am a little late to the game, as I just found it a few weeks ago, however, I'm addicted! I love everything about your podcast and of course love your Block Parties! I FINALLY feel as if I have found my people and a community that loves NKOTB and all things 80s and 90s as much as I do!! I thought I would share my NKOTB story with you. It's short and sweet but made me realize just how special Donnie was even at the young age of 20! I'll preface this by saying I'm a Jordan girl, but on this day and thereafter Donnie became tied with Jordan :)
Picture it, Harrisburg, PA Friday November 24, 1989 (and yes I just made a Golden Girls reference). It was the day after Thanksgiving and my best friend, Jenny, and I were at our local mall - back in the day when malls were amazing and very cool. We were depressed that afternoon because our favorite boys were playing in Hershey that night and sadly we were unable to get tickets :( All of our friends were going and as typical teenagers, we were envious and sad to be missing out on all the fun. We had also stayed up the entire night prior hoping a connection of Jenny's would catch the boys arriving in Hershey so we could go and meet them, but sadly we missed our chance. So like we always did back then, we perused the mall and of course hit the local bookstore for the latest issues of Teen Beat and Bop magazines. After leaving the bookstore, Jenny suggested that we walk down to the Gap, because she had read the boys like to shop there. Mind you we had zero expectations of them being there and were just trying to get our minds off of the pending concert, as we knew all of our friends were getting prepared for a fun night.
As we entered the Gap, we walked by three guys, one wearing a Northside Posse jacket. Of course being shy and naive we immediately walked out of the store to collect ourselves. Jordan, Joey and Donnie were literally right in front of us and we stood frozen!!! Donnie came out of the store and said that Jordan and Joey were just looking for some down time before that night's show. Knowing Jenny was a Donnie girl and that both of us were awkward and shy 14yr olds, I did something I NEVER thought I would do...I asked Donnie for a hug! He was so sweet and gave us both a big hug and proceeded to leave. We were shell shocked! Did Donnie Wahlberg just hug us????? Immediately mall security showed up and refused to let anyone into the store and when Jordan and Joey walked across the mall to the Foot Locker, we stood outside watching them try on shoes and eventually sign one of the signs in the store before being whisked away to Hershey.
Teenage years are hard for many kids, I'm no more special or important than anyone else, but that brief encounter with Donnie that night stayed with me for years to come. It's been 30 years and I still love the boys and even though I can't travel to as many shows as I would like, I do make an effort to see as many tours as I am able to - and each tour is better than the last. My BFF Jenny, who was with me that cold night in November, will be attending the Mixtape show with me in Hershey in a few weeks. We are so excited to attend a show together and after 30 years actually sit together at the show (that is a whole other story!) We missed out on VIP seats but we do not care! The last few years have been filled with heartache for both Jenny and I. First I lost my brother unexpectedly (who was like my second father) and just last summer Jenny's Dad passed away. We have been friends since we were 5 and have shared many good and not so good times together. NKOTB has always been one of those good memories. So after a few sad years we are ready for positive memories and great time with our favorite boy band!
Thank you again for all you have done and continue to do to bring together fans from all over the globe and give gals like me an opportunity to share my NKOTB love. You two are National Treasures ;)
All the best, Maggie
Becky’s NKOTB Journey
I was inspired to share my NKOTB story from the beginning after hearing you read Laurie’s experience. I was born and raised in New Mexico, about an hour south of Albuquerque in a town of about 9,000 people. I was a small town girl, growing up in a predominantly Hispanic town where Country music and Latin music were vastly more popular than pop. My parents listened to country, 50’s music and the classic crooners like Frank Sinatra and Nat King Cole. Pop was foreign territory in my life. My only exposure to pop music was through my friends and in dance class. I took classes in tap, ballet, jazz and hip-hop from the age of 4. In 1988 when Please Don’t Go Girl first started getting widespread radio play I was 8. I remember hearing Please Don’t Go Girl on the radio the first time and thinking to myself, “Who is THIS?” I was hooked immediately. So I saved up my allowance and convinced my parents to let me by the Hangin’ Tough cassette on our next trip to the mall in Albuquerque. I studied that cassette case like it was a subject in school. I learned EVERYTHING I could about those “5 Bad Brothers from the Beantown land.” I was hooked! The first time I saw a New Kids video I think was at a friend’s house …we didn’t have MTV or regular cable at my house and I was drawn to Jordan and Joe immediately. Jordan because of his dancing ability…HOLY COW can that man dance…even now. And someday I plan to tell him that to his face. And Joe, because …well…I don’t know…but why not…he was younger and closer to my age and when he sang…it gave me chills. And who wouldn’t love Joe. Pretty soon I was spending my allowance on any teenybopper magazine I could get my hands on and putting up as many posters in my room as my parents would allow. For Christmas and birthdays, I got New Kids stuff. I had the VHS, which like everyone else I watched more times than I can count. I also had a New Kids night shirt, a lunchbox, a fanny pack, several books, a puzzle and at least one of those gigantic buttons. My parents even allowed me to join the old school New Kids fan club. Sadly, all that memorabilia is gone now…some of it my parents got rid of and the rest I gave away or tossed during my “I need to grow up” phase. I’ve learned my lesson since then and have saved all my NSYNC stuff.
Fast forward to March 2, 1991…the Magic Summer Tour. Now, I was just a few months shy of turning 12. I don’t remember when exactly I found out, but I remember hearing on the radio that New Kids on the Block was coming to Albuquerque, New Mexico! I was OVER THE MOON! A family friend of my parents had agreed to take me and her oldest daughter, who was about a year younger than me to the show. Now this was back in the day before the Internet and cell phones. On the day tickets went on sale my friend’s mom jumped on the touch tone phone in her kitchen and dialed over and over again trying to get through to Ticketmaster. Tickets SOLD OUT in an HOUR!!! We were devastated! I remember moping for days after. It was the ONLY time New Kids on the Block played in New Mexico. In fact, most artists don’t play New Mexico. Even NSYNC was scheduled to play in New Mexico in 2001 during the Pop Odyssey tour and ended up cancelling the show at the last minute. I kept my love alive until 1994 when they announced they were disbanding. I was a Freshman in HS by then and when I heard the news I was devastated but I kinda sensed the end was near after Face the Music and Jon left the group. Although, that album STILL to this day has some of my FAVORITE New Kids songs on it. I cry EVERY time I hear “If You Go Away.” After High School I moved to Arizona college and in college I fell in love with NSYNC. I like Backstreet Boys too but not as much as I loved NSYNC. It helped that two of the members of NSYNC were MMC alum (which I was OBSESSED with in my middle school/High school years). And when Joe and Jordan both started popping up on the radio and TRL solo I was ecstatic! I even saw Jordan open for NSYNC. Talk about taking it full circle. I can only imagine what that must have felt like for both Jordan and NSYNC.
Over the years between 1994 and 2008 my love for New Kids on the Block was still there, just tucked into a part of my heart that I thought was long past. I tried to keep myself informed as to what they were doing as solo entities but I wasn’t as die hard as I had been during my youth. I knew about Jordan and Joe’s solo careers and that Donnie was acting. Can I tell you how utterly and completely shocked I was when I found out the guy who shot Bruce Willis in the Sixth Sense was Donnie Wahlberg! Wait?! What?!
Then in 2008, it happened. I don’t remember seeing the formal announcement that they were re-uniting on the Today Show like so many others did. I actually heard it from a friend. He and I had worked at a Virgin Mega store together just after I graduated college. I worked there for almost two years before I figured out that a career in PR at record label probably wasn’t in the cards for me. The store had closed years before and we’d both found different paths. I was now teaching and was engaged to be married. I remember seeing him one day and he said, “I have something for you.”
He still had ties to music and knew some label reps so I think he got a copy of “The Block” early. “What is it?” I asked.
“Just listen to it.” He told me.
So I popped into my car Cd player right then and there and as soon as the music started to play I nearly wet myself. “OMG!!!! What?! Is this who I think it is?!”
I am pretty sure he laughed at me and said, “Yup. It’s New Kids on the Block. They got back together. This is their new album.”
And the longer I listened the more I blushed. KIDS they were NOT, not anymore. Some of the tracks on that album STILL make me blush like a giddy school girl.
Then it was announced that they were going on tour, and they were coming to Phoenix. A friend of mine from college, Rebecca called me and said, “We’re going, right?”
The Full Service Tour- It was our birthday presents to each other. As I have said in a previous episode of “My So Called Whatever” at this point in my life I had only ever had nosebleed seats to a concert. I could never afford the good seats. Not on a teacher salary in Arizona. And I was newly married. We had a blast that night! Now, in doing my research for this story everything I could find said that first show we went to was at an outdoor arena …but I remember a much smaller indoor show…and I have bad pictures somewhere. I remember it because at one point during the opening acts my friend and I went to the bathroom and we met this girl in the bathroom who was handing out signs on neon pink printer paper. She was decked out in FULL 80’s gear and I remember her asking if we would take signs and hold them up when Jordan sang “I’ll Be Loving You Forever.” She said that she and her friends were basically following the tour and that Jordan responded to the signs at every stop. We politely refrained by saying that we had nosebleed seats and that he probably wouldn’t see them from that high up. On our way back to our seats my friend asked me, “How do people follow the tour? Do they not have lives or jobs or families? And how do they afford that?” We didn’t get it then, but I TOTALLY get it now. Fate must have been smiling on us that night because on our way back to our seats an usher stopped us and asked to see our tickets. He then traded our tickets for seats on the floor. The show was not sold out and they were trying to fill the lower level seats. It was the closest I have ever been at a concert. Mind you, I am 4’11 and still couldn’t see very well but at one point in true NKOTB fashion they came out into the crowd and Joe was just a few rows behind us. I was squealing like my giddy 8-year-old self would have. I think Donnie may have even crowd surfed at one point. Afterward, we got in BIG trouble with Rebecca’s younger sister, Melissa for not inviting her. I was friends with her too, and truthfully I had no idea she even liked New Kids. We were both HUGE NSYNC fans and had gone to their concerts together but she’d never said a word about liking the New Kids. So we promised the next time we would take her.
We missed out on the NKOTBSB tour. I don’t remember why. Probably because I couldn’t afford it.
July 14, 2013- The Package Tour- Glendale, AZ- This time Rebecca, Melissa and myself went to the show. It was an early birthday present to Melissa. Her birthday was the next day. Again, we had nosebleed seats but we didn’t care. We had dinner at a sushi place near the arena to celebrate beforehand. I remember seeing a VERY PREGNANT woman before the show wearing a shirt that said, “Donnie we NEED to talk!” and all of us bursting out laughing. If that was any of you listening I seriously thought that was probably the cleverest shirt I had ever seen! And if Donnie saw it I would love to hear his reaction. It was a MAGICAL night! We sang and danced and screamed like we didn’t have a care in the world.
May 12, 2015- The Main Event- Our threesome went to this show too and the two memories that stand out from this show was Donnie’s speech at the beginning. I was 3 months’ post-partum and 3 months post heart attack. He struck a chord and I was balling by the end of his speech. The other memory was seeing Joe do his infamous Sweet Dreams/Twisted mash up. As per usual we had nosebleed seats but even watching on the big screen I could feel my cheeks go warm and my heartbeat quicken. I was married woman but OMG was he SEXY! I am pretty sure my friend, Rebecca checked to make sure I was still breathing during this performance.
May 26, 2017- The Total Package Tour- This time my friend, Rebecca and a teacher friend of mine, Amanda went to the show. Melissa had other obligations. Amanda’s son and my daughter went to the same daycare so we knew each other pretty well. She was going more for Boyz 2 Men than New Kids. Rebecca was 7 months pregnant. This was would be baby Alexandria’s first concert and she was VERY active during the show. I didn’t know then that this would be my LAST New Kids concert with my partner in Boy Band Crime, Rebecca. We sang along and danced to EVERY song that night. It was FANTASTIC!
Fast forward to June 2018. My husband was offered a much better paying job in Texas and after doing some research on cost of living and teacher pay in Texas we decided to make the move. I now live in a town just 20 minutes East of Dallas. I didn’t know ANYONE when we moved here so on a whim and purely by accident I stumbled onto a NKOTB Facebook fan page. I hung out with a few people I met on the page but hadn’t really met my ride or die concert buddy yet. Then the Mixtape Tour was announced. And because of my involvement in the Facebook page I learned about a little thing called Barstool seats. Now I had a decision to make, save my pennies and get a plane ticket to Phoenix to go with my AZ friends OR save my pennies and splurge on a Barstool seat in Dallas and go solo. Did I mention that I’ve only ever had nosebleed seats and that I’m only 4’11? I decided that I needed to embrace the YOLO mantra and go for it. I bought a Barstool seat and then thanks to the Facebook page knew well enough to quickly jump on a Photo group and snagged a spot next to Joe. OF COURSE!
May 17, 2019- OMG! What a night! It’s been weeks and I am still smiling! I got there WAY TOO early but I had taken the day off work. There was NO WAY I was going to be able to teach a bunch of 2nd graders all day and be able to concentrate. Plus, I did NOT want to be late for check in. I wandered around the arena perimeter for several hours prior to check in and before meeting up with my group. I met some pretty cool BH fans, all of whom loved my signed shirt. The heart attack one that Joe had signed in NYC. A few ladies even gushed that they were jealous that I had Joe’s signature on it. Then I ran into some of the Naughty by Nature posse who also commented on my shirt but no New Kids sightings. However, I did see Lumpy come out with a handler to take a Potty break. There was a group of us gathered outside the venue and a woman came out with a dog that looked a LOT like Lumpy and we all started whispering about him…then I got brave and just flat out asked, “Is that Lumpy?” and the lady smiled and winked and said “Maybe.” As she guided him back inside. I had only met one person in my photo group once, otherwise I knew none of them aside from online but they were all very nice. As soon as we walked in there was Dan Wood. I got a picture with him and he was very sweet. EVERYONE I met that night was AMAZING. I met some people I hope I become lifelong friends with.
The Meet and Greet was a whirlwind. I was SO nervous. I met Danny first. He hugged me and I said, “Wow, you really do give great hugs.”
He chuckled and said, “I do alright.”
Then I wished him a belated birthday and moved on to Donnie.
OMG DONNIE! I am a Joey girl to my core but what Donnie said to me!!! I showed him my shirt and said, “My friend in Kansas City told you that you’d be seeing more of these.” There are several women across the country who have shirts similar to mine. We call ourselves the BLOCKHEAD CARDIAC crew…we ALL have heart issues. The woman I was speaking of had her heart attack at the soft opening of the Wahlburgers in Kansas City with Paul there. He smiled and said, “I know, I remember, I want to see them. ALL of them. It means you survived and I am proud of you…because it means you’re a fighter. But please…don’t have another one.” Then he gave me a big hug and I moved on to Joe. By the time I got to Joe they were positioning us for the photo so our conversation was from the side as he was putting his arm around me to pose. Now, I don’t know if he had the opportunity to read my shirt, if he recognized me from NYC or if he overheard what Donnie said. But as he put his arm around me he said, “Please don’t have another heart attack, ok?”
TO which I said, “Don’t worry…I won’t because then my daughter can’t marry your son.”
He snorted/laughed in response and I hugged him before asking him the question my daughter had asked me to ask him “Do you drink milk?”
He chuckled when I explained and said, “Not really, skim milk sometimes.”
Then it was onto to Jordan. Now I had instructions from my four-year-old to ask him the same question, “Do you drink milk?”
He was like, “Wait?! What?!”
Then I explained again, “My four-year-old daughter really wants to know if you drink milk.”
He grinned and said, “No, not really.”
Then I hugged him and wished him a happy birthday and moved on to Jon. By the time I got to Jon I was shaking so bad and I really don’t think I said a word to him, and they were hurrying us off the stage by then but I vowed in that moment that I was going to do Barstools again and I would bring my now four-year old the next time.
When I say that the women I met that night were all very nice, that really doesn’t do it justice. There were two women that went out of their way to tell me I looked beautiful. I’ve always been incredibly self-conscious so that meant the world to me. Then there was two women I had talked to at length online that made the effort to come find me at the show. And the two women sitting next to me at the show who danced with me, and one who bought me a drink when I lent her my portable charger to charge her phone. Those women made the fact that I went alone a non-issue. Although I did miss the gushing about the show on the drive back to my house afterwards.
They say that once you go Barstool you never go back…and I have to say that’s true in my case…IF there is a next time…a next tour…My 2nd Gen Blockhead will be right there beside me. And if I can snag them we will be doing individual upgrade. She was already upset with me for not taking her this time. She is just a much a Blockhead as I am. She’s a Joey girl with Jordan and Griffin tendencies.
Now I gotta save my pennies for that next time and to do the cruise. I’m gonna get on THAT boat…somehow.
Thank you ladies…for letting me share. Until the next adventure.
Julie’s NKOTB Mixtape Meet & Greet Story
Hi Brooke & Nikki,
I recently posted on the Facebook page thanking you both for your podcast playing an instrumental role in my dream coming true. Here is my story:
I've been an NKOTB fan since 89. Of course I had all the merchandise, shirts, posters, pins, videos. My first two concerts, I sat way in the back, but, who cares, these were the New Kids, I was lucky to have a ticket. I always had the teenage dream of growing up and marrying one(Jordan girl here). As I went to high school, the love may not have been as strong, but was always there. I went to see them in 1994, which I think was right before the end(Blockheads correct me if I'm wrong). It was the closest I'd ever been to them, I'll never forget, Joe opened a bottle of water and threw it onto the crowd. It splashed on me and I was like, "holy crap, that's close enough to touching them!"
Anyway, it was sad when they broke up, a part of my childhood was gone. When they reunited, I couldn't have been happier and was so excited to see them again. Every time I went to a concert, the show just got better and better, and each time we purchased tickets closer and closer. In 2017, we said, "that's it, next tour we're meeting them, YOLO!"
In October, my sister-in-law was able to get 5* and 4th row for The Mixtape Tour. I almost cried when I heard. Then, I started thinking, I really have to find a group that can help me out with this whole process. I wanted to know what I was getting into, so it would go well. That's when I found MSCW. I joined the group looking for guidance and found so much more. Other fans that want to talk about NKOTB, celebrate, and embrace this sisterhood, AND discuss 80's and 90's pop culture? I found my people!
So, these months before the actual concert have been spent asking questions, reading responses, listening to stories, and trying to put a photo group together. A crazy coincidence about the photo group... I found one, and asked if my friends and I could join, turns out the girl in charge of the group was friends with my sister in law throughout her school years, but they lost touch. Immediately we thought, NKOTB bringing Blockheads together again, how cool is that?
Brooke & Nikki, here's that part that leads to you...
I listened to the Donnie podcast episode and what really struck me was his "Put it out into the universe and it can happen" comment. I started thinking that way especially about the meet and greet.
The day of the concert I was so nervous. When we arrived, we had an incomplete group, it took a while, but we found the people we needed and I was even able to stand next to Jordan, which I wasn't sure would happen at first. As we waited for our turn, I enjoyed watching the reactions as others came out from behind the curtains. Some were smiling, shrieking, hugging each other, one girl was crying, I wondered what mine would be. Then it was our turn to get in line. I swear, as I stood there, flashes of my New Kids memories came back; buying pins in machines at the grocery store, going to MUSICLAND for posters, getting T shirts for Christmas, watching hours of video over and over. Then I almost cried but instead took a breath because it was our turn.
Danny was first, I said, "Hi Danny! Thanks for 30 years" He said," you're welcome". I was going to move on but we were stopped for a minute(Donnie was taking his time comforting a girl in our group that was crying). My friend starting chatting it up with Danny about t shirt tags (his was sticking out before we went in and someone tucked it in for him, lol) He said,"yeah I hate tags, they usually cut them out for us. I like the shirts without tags." I just nodded because I was thinking, um this is a normal conversation about shirts... but with a New Kid! Donnie was next and I said the same thing, "thanks for 30 years" and hugged him. He said, "Well,that's impossible you look like you're 29." I'm thinking, Here's my heart Donnie Wahlberg, you can have it. Then I said, "I put this moment out into the universe and it's happening now." He looked me in the eyes and said, "I'm proud of you", kissed me on the cheek, and hugged me again! National Freakin Treasure! My dream man was next, I said,"It is so nice to finally meet you after 30 years." I hugged him and stood next to him for the pic. When the photographer said, get ready, Jordan said,"okay, get in here" and pulled me a little closer. After the pic, he turned to me and said, "I hope you have a really fun time at the show tonight." I said, "I absolutely will, thank you." After I hugged Joe, he stopped me to read my shirt out loud, "Wife Mother Boyband Lover", but he didn't say the most important part, so I pointed to it and said," #Blockhead4Life." He said, "Oh" and nodded his head. Then I had to move onto Jon so I said, "Hi Jon, I hear you give the best hugs." He laughed, said," thank you" and proceeded to squeeze me so tight that, as he was doing so, I said,"oh, and you absolutely do, thank you so much!" As I left that room, I was in shock.I managed to say something to each one of them! My friends asked, "are you okay?" My response, "you guys, Donnie f'n Wahlberg kissed my cheek!" I got a little misty eyed momentarily but after that, the party was on! I danced all night and could not believe my luck with the seats. We even got to touch Donnie's hand again when he ran through to the B stage!
So there it is, I know some people have better stories, and maybe more interaction and that's awesome! Mine is just a little something that made me happy, makes me feel like I can do anything if I try, and most importantly, believe I can make it happen. This is why, if I never listened to that podcast, I wouldn't of taken the universe comment to heart and I wouldn't of had the courage to say it , which led to so much more than I ever envisioned.If I never joined the group, I wouldn't have had all the helpful hints and information I needed to prepare.
It's been a few days since the meeting and I have gone through so many emotions; nervousness, excitement, pure joy, sadness(because it's over for now), and then a full on ugly cry when I realized that dream came true. We are so lucky to be able to relive our teenage years again with the New Kids, it means so much more this time around. I am all in and never want it to end.(Next goals; barstools and a selfie, to be continued...)
Thanks for reading and all the inspiration!