Step 144 - NKOTB Block Party #78: A Special Mixtape Story from Sarah, Carmen and the Jordan Knight Dress, Rachael’s Amazing New Kids on the Block Fan Letter
Join us this episode for our biweekly segment dedicated to New Kids on the Block and the amazing fan stories out there needing to be heard. This episode, you'll hear an amazing NKOTB Mixtape story full of #BHLove by Sarah, Carmen and her fantastic Jordan Knight dress (and his reaction), and Rachel's powerful New Kids on the Block fan letter.
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Sarah’s NKOTB Mixtape Tour in NOLA Experience
When the tickets for the Mixtape Tour went on sale I was not prepared. I had just moved to a new city, Boston, and rented a new apartment. Concert tickets were not in the budget for me at that time. During the last tour I had purchased meet and greet tickets a month before 2 different shows with no problem though, so I was not too worried.
By April I had a new job and was looking for tickets. I found a ticket on a Facebook group for selling New Kids tickets. It was front row in New Orleans for face value. I quickly contacted the seller, who was super sweet and helpful from the beginning. It takes a lot of trust to buy a ticket like that, but she was fantastic.
The day before the concert I went to the airport early. I got checked in and went through security only to find out my flight was delayed. An hour later it was delayed again. After another hour it was cancelled. I rushed out to the desk and was told there was no reason for the cancelled flight and they would not help me rebook. Thank you Spirit Airlines for your excellent customer service. As I was waiting for my refund I was looking for a new flight on my phone. Thankfully I was able to book one of the last flights out that day.
I had to walk to a different terminal and go back through security. It turned out ok because there is a Wahlburgers in that terminal at Boston Logan. It was worth it.
I finally got to NOLA about 5 hours later than expected.
The girl I had bought the ticket from had offered me a ride to the arena. Normally I wouldn’t have accepted, but I knew we were spending time together anyway because I had negotiated a Jordan photo spot out of the ticket deal. So I accepted the ride. When she pulled up to my hotel there were 4 other girls in the car with her.
I had been concerned about going to the concert by myself, but all of the sudden I found myself in a group of girls I quickly became friends with. Most of them had met through going to New Kids concerts or on the cruise. I fit right in!
We got to the venue early and completed our photo group very quickly. Somehow we were the second group to go in and got to wait inside in the air conditioning! It was 80 degrees and threatening rain outside, so we were super thankful to be inside.
Our meet and greet was a week before Jordan’s birthday and I wanted to give him something. Mostly I just wanted something to talk to him about, so I thought if I could give him something cool, I would have something to say. I brought him some M&Ms. They were special though, because I had his picture printed on them.
When we got inside the arena to get our tickets I gave the M&Ms to one of the girls from On the List and she assured me that she would give them to him.
There is so much waiting when you go to meet and greet, but this time it was fun having people to hang out with and get to know.
When it was finally our turn to meet the guys I was super nervous.
I said hi to Danny and gave him a hug. I feel bad for Danny because I am always in shock when I see the guys and he’s always first. I can never pull it together in time to say something to him.
Donnie was next. I gave him a hug and started talking to him while he was hugging me. I told him that I went to meet and greet 2 years ago and had told him that I was having a hard time then, that the past year had been really hard. He had looked at me and said it would get better and it did! He smiled at me. I told him I moved to Boston and everything is so much better now. He said he was proud of me and that things are going to continue to get even better.
I handed him a letter that I had snuck in and was planning on explaining that it was more of my story and asking him to read it if he had a moment. Before I could even say anything he took it and said he would read it right after meet and greet and gave me another hug.
Vic was pulling on my arm to move on as I was holding up the show. As I moved on to Jordan I got super, super nervous. I can talk to anyone else, but not him. I said hi very awkwardly and gave him a hug. I said “I brought you something.” But it was time for the picture before he could say anything.
After the pictures he looked at me and said “What did you bring me?”
I was looking around in the meet and greet area and didn’t see a table with gifts. So I said “I brought you some M&Ms, but I don’t see them.”
He said “I’m sure they’re here somewhere.”
I said “They are in a red bag, but you have to open them because they are really cool. They have your face on them!.”
He looked really excited and said “Really? That’s awesome!”
I said “I hope you get them. They said they would give them to you.”
He said “I’m sure they will. Thank you!”
Again I was holding up the show. As I went to give Joe a hug he said “Coconut what?” I said “No, I was telling Jordan I brought him some M&Ms with his face on them.” He said “Oh wow! That’s awesome!”
Jon was last. I gave him a hug and told him I couldn’t wait for his new show on HGTV. He said “thank you!”
When I came out of the meet and greet area I was super excited. The girl from On the List was there and asked me how it was. I told her it was amazing and that Jordan was excited about my M&Ms! I asked her where they were and she promised me again she would get them to him.
My new friends were also super excited. That makes the whole experience even more fun when you have people to share it with.
The concert was amazing! We had front row seats, not barstools, so really second row. But they were still amazing seats. We spent the whole concert waving at the guys and laughing and squealing every time one of them winked or pointed at us, which was quite a bit. At one point Jordan winked and pointed at me. I like to think he noticed my shirt that said “Just a Girl From Boston.” I think that Donnie noticed it too later.
The whole experience was amazing and I’m so glad that I went. As I told Donnie in my letter NKOTB has changed my life. As much as I love the guys, and it’s a lot, I love meeting new friends and making these memories a whole lot more. The guys are just the cherry on top!
Carmen’s Mixtape Tour Experience - and a Special Dress for Jordan
Hey ladies, here is my vip story from Chicago.
A couple years ago I had a dress made for the cruise with a picture of Jordan on it. Not just any picture, a picture I took on the last tour during Hard. It was a big hit of course. I decided to wear it for my meet and greet in Chicago because well, there aren’t a lot of occasions to wear a dress like that so you have to take advantage when you can.
Danny was first. I always seem to have extended awkward conversations with Danny as the line gets kinda backed up. In Milwaukee we talked about cheese. He had a lot of questions about how we eat our cheese in Wisconsin. So weird. Anyway, this time he looked at my dress and was like “there’s a lot going on there”. He kept feeling the material. I showed him the back which is covered with hot dogs and rocket ships and cucumbers and he was cracking up. I told him I could make him one if he wanted but he said he’d pass.
Donnie was next but he didn’t have much to say. Or maybe he did and I just didn’t hear because I knew Jordan was next. Then Jordan. He thought it was amazing. He liked it so much he had Marcello take a picture of just the two of us. I still can’t believe I actually had a conversation with Jordan Knight! 14 year old me was giddy. Who am I kidding? 42 year old me was giddy! Still is in fact.
Joe looked at me and then looked around like he just needed someone else to see what he was seeing. So he tapped Jordan on the shoulder and points to me like “did you see this?” He told me it was top-notch! Jon was hilarious. He covered his eyes and kept saying “no, that’s my brother!”
Afterward I texted my husband to tell him what happened and his only response was “I’ll pack my stuff, your life is complete”. He doesn’t understand it but he gets it.
Thank you ladies for this podcast and this community! Also, as I am writing this Jordan just added my picture to his instastory so my brain has officially stopped functioning.
Rachel’s 30 Year Old Fan Letter
It is interesting that this is something that I began writing in 1990. I found an old school folder filled with loose leaf paper and just a few lines scribbled on it but it was obvious that it was the start of a fan letter to you, New Kids on the Block. It started out saying “I’m heartbroken I won’t be able to see you at the Bradley Center January 10th. I had to sell my tickets. But that doesn’t mean I don’t still love you.” I remember the pain of having to sell those tickets and in my head I can still see the girl and her mom that bought them come to my house to pick them up. Oh the pain to a 15 year old blockhead.
But seeing this letter, seeing these words and recently seeing the Mixtape tour has compelled me to finish and add on to this letter almost 30 years later. My heart is filled with such joy and gratitude after finally attending my Milwaukee concert so many years later the other evening.
I never felt like I fit in when I was a teen. I spent the majority of my time studying and working to help support my family. The moments I felt like a teen and felt normal were listening to my tapes and cds of NKOTB, Debbie Gibson, and Tiffany. I would look forward to going to the drug store and picking up the latest Teen Beat magazine for new posters to decorate my spaces with. At one point my entire basement and stairway was NKOTB photos. I took piano lessons and would beg my piano instructor to get all of your music. Those were the weeks I would really practice my lessons :) I was pleasantly surprised to find that sheet music still in my possession all these years later.
I did finally get a chance to see you at Alpine Valley in Wisconsin during the summer of 1990. That made up for the Bradley Center disappointment but I remember we were sitting on the lawn and I could barely see you. But I was happy to be there and get my large pin and concert t-shirt to take home. I must have picked up from there writing the fan letter because the next line was “I was so glad to see you guys perform finally. I hope you heard me screaming for you. You were all amazing.” Silly girl. Like EVERYONE wasn’t screaming :)
I was very sad when you guys stopped recording together in the 90s. I spent a lot of time listening to your solo efforts and listening to all the old NKOTB music. You have never left my rotation and honestly never will. When I say “I’ll Be Loving You Forever”... I mean it.
Imagine my joy when I heard that you were reuniting in 2008. I was excited to finally be able to go to shows and see the band live. My friends and I were able to attend shows in Chicago and Green Bay. I enjoyed the new music and it quickly made it into frequent rotation in my work time playlists. And the job that I had at the time, I needed a joyful playlist just to get through each and every day.
I never realized until later in life that a lot of my awkwardness was due to overpowering anxiety disorder. When I heard that Jon had suffered from this for so very long silently, I felt an even stronger connection to the band. The support and love that you showed him made me feel better and less afraid to open up about anxiety that I feel. It wasn’t something to be embarrassed or ashamed of. Jon, you are an inspiration to all who suffer from this. The strength you show has inspired me to come out of my shell and live more. The support your brothers show is inspiring. Thank you for sharing this journey with us.
For many years I had a job that was less than healthy for me mentally. Without your music and inspiration, I don’t know if I would have made it through. When your song “Thankful” came out it almost became an anthem for me to stay strong and keep going at work. I would remind myself that I had things to be thankful for and that fun times were ahead with another tour to look forward to. I knew that for at least 3 hours I would have fun and forget about being an adult in this crazy world. And for that, I thank you. While it doesn’t seem like a lot, those 3 hours of fun and laughter could stay with me for weeks even, getting me through some really rough times. I always had the music to take me back to those fun times in my head.
I was able to finally get a better job in December and was eagerly anticipating the Mixtape Tour coming to Milwaukee in June. Finally, 30 years later I was going to get my Milwaukee concert moment. For someone who rarely leaves the 90s, the Mixtape Tour was like a dream come true. My friends were like someone made this tour just for you! My two friends and I were supposed to go together. Sadly, my one friend lost her mother days before the concert and was unable to attend. My friend Vickie and I went to the concert and were heading to our seats in the nosebleed section when a worker at the Fiserv asked us if we would like to sit closer. Of course we did. We like to think that Michelle’s mom upgraded us and was there with us in spirit. She is anxious for the next tour.
The concert was amazing. For 3 hours that night, I didn’t feel like a 44 year old. I felt like that 15 year old girl again without a care in the world. All the problems of the world, the anxiety I suffer was gone. Just singing and dancing with 15,000 friends. We all have things in our life but that brief moment in time, we just had the joy. And that is because of all of you.
The love and joy you radiate to those around you makes a person want to be a better human and pay attention to those around you. Live with kindness, love with an open heart, and never stop having fun. That is what I take from you.
I have never had the opportunity to personally thank you for what you have brought to my life. You have been a light in my darkest times getting me through to the other side, smiles in the happiest times, and my favorite band of all time. Maybe someday I can properly thank you. Until then, I hope that this reaches you and you know how very much you are appreciated and loved.
The closing to my original 1990 fan letter was “I may never be a Cover Girl but I hope I can be a Favorite Girl.” I think that still rings true today. Keep on smiling and keep being the best band on the planet.
Much love and admiration,
Rachel T. Thompson