Step 60 - NKOTB Block Party #31: New Kids on the Block Fan Stories from the IBLYF Girls, Christina, Gabby, Jen, Rachel & Jade
Sorry (in advance) for all the sniffles, we were sick! Meet the IBLYF bridge girls (from the video) Hear amazing cruise stories from Gabby & Jen. Listen to Rachel's high school New Kids memories. Experience an NKOTB experience like no other when our friend, Jade, talks about being an fan from Australia . Last we'll here an important friendship story from Jamie that we can all learn from. Welcome to the BLOCK PARTY - we ain't leaving out NOBODY.
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Amelia, Terryann, Eileen, and Danielle - IBLYF
The scene: New York City. The Year: 1989. The Video: I'll Be Loving You Forever.
Amelia, Terryann, Eileen, and Danielle are from NYC - born and raised in the Lower East side of Manhattan.
Amelia and her sister, Terryann were shopping in New York City and went to get pizza on Clinton Street with their mom. All of a sudden they see Joe and Donnie walking in to order. Their eyes lit up and they couldn't believe that it was actually JOE and Donnie! Then they Joe and Donnie left.
Amelia and Terryann immediately went to get their friends Eileen and Danielle a few blocks away. Danielle and Eileen were reluctant at first and didn't believe the girls when they told them they had seen Joe and Donnie but when the group met back up with Amelia and Terryann's mom and godmother, they discovered that their mom and godmother had overheard where the guys were heading and informed the group that they were on the Williamsburg Bridge.
So, off to the Williamsburg Bridge they went. When they got there they were shocked to see that the guys were actually there as were some other girls that seemed to have the same idea. Some men yelled to the group that they were shooting but the guys started to make their way over to the small group of girls which is what you see in the beginning of the video. The girls had no idea that they were being recorded. After taking pictures and chatting with the guys, Danny went up to Danielle and asked what they were doing the next day - of course she replied "NOTHING!". Danny then said they would be filming the second part of the video at an all boys high school - Xavier High School - and that they should come!
Being able to see how a video was done was an amazing opportunity for these girls. When they got there however, they were surprised to see there were a bunch of girls that were already there because it had been announced on the radio! They had to wait outside for a bit and it was a little chilly. They remember the guys and their road manager (Johnny Wright!) coming in and out and at one point, Amelia followed Jon to the nearby bodega (grocery store).
The amount of girls grew to at least 200 which you see during the concert part of the video. Danielle even has a picture of the surprise on Jon's face!
The girls were there ALL day - it was really awesome to see how a video was filmed and how much time goes into taping. There was even a choreographer. At the end of it all the guys went into a room to unwind and then made their way out to the few of us that stayed behind. They were all very sweet and gracious enough to take tons of pictures and to chat with teh girls and sign autographs, posters, and jackets.
They ended up being able to meet them a few more times - one of the perks of living in New York City. These ladies are still best friends to this day.
Gabby and Jen's Cruise Story
Hi Nikki and Brooke
My name is Gabby and I wanted to share our first cruise experience. I already know this email is going be long as I can be a bit long winded, so I’m just going to try and hit the highlights of the story.
My BFF Jen and I have worked together for about 10 years, we were always friendly but NKOTB changed our work friendship to a full blown sister/BFF situation. Jen is a few years younger (33) and I’m 37, she was introduced to NKOTB at a very young age and attended her first concert when she was 4 with her mom and uncle. I’ve been a fan since I was about 8 years old and have been a Jordan girl ever since (Jen started off as a Jon girl, then Donnie and is now a Joey girl). I attended my first concert in 2008. Jen moved back to Detroit about 2 years ago and I’m still in Las Vegas. The distance hasn’t changed our friendship one bit and quite frankly it just means we get to travel more when the guys tour.
We have attended about 22 NKOTB concerts/events together including the walk of fame star ceremony and 3 cruises.
The story I want to share is our first cruise in 2014, it departed from New York and went to Bermuda. It was also the first cruise that had the Rock This Boat crew onboard. Veteran cruisers have said that the combination of the lido deck layout and tv cameras made it the “worst” cruise. Having been our first cruise, Jen and I loved (almost) every minute of it. We had no idea what to expect so everything was a shiny and new experience.
I should mention that when we made the decision to cruise we told each other it was a one time thing.
Fast forward to day one of the 2014 NKOTB cruise where we stood in what seemed like a never ending line in a hot cruise terminal. While we stood there, tired, hot and pretty miserable complaining about how our line wasn’t moving...Joey McIntyre walked by right next to us. And by that I mean about 2 or 3 rows away from the line we were in, but it was the closest either of us had ever been to a New kid and saying “right next to us” makes for a better story. That was the exact moment we both decided we would cruise again (and again and again and again.)
Day one on the ship was interesting, they start the sail away party immediately after the muster drill (which is another hot and miserable experience) so you end up running up the stairs from deck 3 to the lido on deck 9 with about 2500 other blockheads. I don’t know how we did it but Jen and I found ourselves pretty close to the main stage for sail away.
Donnie kicks things off with the oath, from there our senses are overloaded, there is so much going on and we don’t know what to focus on. Suddenly Donnie is walking right in front of us (this time it was actually right in front of us) as he heads towards one of the side stages. Jen and I can hardly contain our excitement!
I’m not sure how long the sail away party lasted but when there was no sign of the guys we decided to head to our cabin to freshen up for the game show and grab some dinner. That’s when we basically bumped into Danny. He was standing near the doorway taking pictures, we officially have our first pictures with a New Kid! How is this only a couple of hours into day one!
Night one was Masquerade night, although it was fun it was pretty uneventful for us.
Day 2, this was by far the best day on the ship for us. It was picture day for group A, we didn’t have a photo group so we headed to the “room of doom” to find a group. I of course wanted to stand with Jordan and Jen wanted to stand with Donnie, we knew this would be a long shot. We walked around the room where girls stood holding signs indicating what spots were free in their groups. Not a single Jordan or Donnie, the last girl we saw had a sign with Jordan and Danny on it. I look at Jen, she looks at me and says “fine, your lucky I like you”. We figured at least this way one of us would get to stand next to “her guy”. Truthfully, Jen was happy to stand next to Danny we both would have been happy standing next to any of the guys. But come on, I was not going to pass up a chance to stand next to Jordan. Don’t worry, Jen eventually got her Donnie photo.
Another never ending line, we stand for hours getting to know the other 8 members of our photo group who were all friends and have cruised before. When they find out it’s not just our first cruise but our first meet n greet they start trying to prepare us for what to expect which truthfully made us more nervous.
The butterflies were in full force when we made it into the room. There they were, all five New Kids just standing there and we were about to hug all of them!
Danny was first, even through the nerves I managed an awkward hug. Then Joey who I actually managed to say hi to. Then Jordan, I was standing with him for the photo so this is where I stopped, stopped moving, stopped breathing and basically lost the ability to speak. I managed and awkward side hug but couldn’t for the life of me look him in the face. I look terrified in our picture.
They snap two pictures and we quickly move on, Jon gives us each the biggest hug and makes you feel like he’s been your friend for years. Finally we get to Donnie, who has a way of making you feel like you’re the only person in the room and hugs you like he’s been waiting all day to see you. He kissed my cheek or forehead (I’m not sure which) and just hugged me. Jen who is adorably short got a “love you” from him while he rested his chin on her head.
There were two girls between Jen and I so I waited for her to finish getting through the line, when she got to me we managed to take about two steps before Jen could no longer contain her excitement anymore. She squealed and broke out into what we now call her “flash dance” right there in full view of all five New Kids, their security team and camera man. It’s was embarrassingly awesome.
Later in the day we are on the Lido deck where a crowd has formed, somehow we missed that there would be an afternoon deck party. I’m not sure how we managed it but we ended up standing against one of the back stages. While Donnie entertains the crowd from the main stage the rest of the guys scattered around for selfies and autographs. And there he was Joey McIntyre was sitting right in front of us. Jen and I each got a selfie and autograph, we wanted to make sure others got the same opportunity so we decided to move. This was easier said than done.
Trying to get away from the stage became impossible so we started helping other girls make their way up front for a selfie. It worked for a while, everyone was working with each other helping those in the back get to the front then helping them move over for the next girl. As expected there are always one or two girls that ruin it for everyone, in this case it was a girl who kept trying to give Joe a pair of panties. He wasn’t into it and decided to move to another stage.
The theme for night two was cowboy night. The best night on the cruise. We heard about people camping out and didn’t want to be “those girls”, after dinner we walked out to the lido for some drinks and noticed it was pretty quiet even though it was about 9pm. When we started to see that people were saving their spot by the main stage we decided it was a good idea to make our way over. We managed to stand directly in front of the main stage without camping out all day.
The guys came out in full cowboy gear and looked amazing. We couldn’t believe how close they were to us. I snapped so many pictures that night. At one point I was trying to take a selfie to show how close I was to the stage, while I fiddled with the lighting on my phone Joe sat down on the stage directly behind me to get in my picture. At some point in the night joe jumped into the pool in just is Calvin’s. This meant he left remnants of his clothes on various stages. Donnie ended up picking up Joes belt and wearing it for a while. Later he took it off and walked right up to me and handed it to me. Holy crap I now own a belt that both Donnie and Joe wore!
I think we were out until nearly 6am. The next day we were in port in Bermuda, we decided to stay on the ship to sleep. Looking back we both wish we would have gotten off the ship, after all when will we ever be in Bermuda again.
Night 3 was fun but not eventful for us. It rained so they closed the roof on the lido which made it incredibly hot and humid. I opted to turn in early but Jen stayed out for a while. Lucky for me nothing epic happened.
Day four, our last full day on the ship. Group B had their photo op so we knew the guys would be preoccupied for most of the morning. We walked the ship to check out the door decorations. When we got back to our cabin we couldn’t believe it, Danny had at some point found the time to sign our door decorations. What! Danny was at our door and we missed it!
That afternoon/evening Joey had Duets at Dusk and Donnie officiated a wedding which was part of Rock This Boat. He hung out on Lido afterwards and took about a million selfies, we now have our Donnie selfies!
The GPS party was amazing, we managed another selfie this time with Danny and we stayed on the lido deck with Donnie until after sunrise and watched as the ship cruised passed the Statue of Liberty. We knew sleep wasn’t happening since we had to be off the ship soon so we opted to grab breakfast in the buffet. As we sat there in a zombie like state Jen looks up from her pancakes and says “oh hey it’s Jon” I perk up and shriek “where” only to find that he is standing at the booth directly behind me. Jen is staring at him confused because he had a stuffed monkey in his front pocket. I on the other hand can’t believe she hasn’t taken a picture. Forget the monkey take a picture! Finally I ask her “are you just going to sit there or are you going to take a picture?”. She finally takes a picture, now I thought it was understood that I would be in the pic with Jon behind me, instead we have a picture of just Jon with a monkey in his pocket. Either way I love it.
Geez, could I have made this email any longer. Well maybe just a little. We cruised again in 2015 and 2016, we decided to skip 2017 so we could do multiple shows for the tour. Although the shows were awesome we both regret missing the cruise. There is no way we will miss 2018, I don’t think either of us could handle it. Anyway I hope you liked our story, if we could offer any advise for your first cruise it would be to go in with no expectations and to enjoy your time. Don’t dwell on getting a selfie or being next to the stage, this is an easy way to miss out on fun and meeting some pretty awesome people. We have met some pretty amazing people that we still keep in touch with and look forward to seeing at concerts or the cruise. Hopefully we get a chance to meet you girls and say hi in person on this years cruise.
Dear Brooke and Nikki,
Hi, I’m new! I found your podcast through RealiTV Pod. I love listening to lifelong friends talk about growing up in the 90s! After listening to a few episodes, I have been flooded with memories of being 14 years old and discovering New Kids on the Block. I hope it is okay to share my story. I first saw a Hangin Tough album poster in my small town Walmart in north Florida. (I say north FL because it is very different than south FL. Think Alabama.) I bought the Hangin Tough tape and VHS of all the music videos on the spot. This was the summer before I started high school and I felt like I had found my identity! In the land of Garth Brooks fans i was a New Kids on the Block fan! The first day of high school I learned that I had a class called Personal Clothing. (Basically, you learned to sew which turned out to be really useful.) Well, I noticed a few other girls in the class had New Kids gear. (We called them New Kids. Not sure if that is because I’m on the older end of fans or if it was a southern thing.) These girls were older than me. One was a Sophomore and one was a Senior. I was so excited to have girls to share my enthusiasm and thought we would be fast friends. Instead, I noticed that once they saw my Jon Knight book cover they refused to talk to me. Everyday they would look over at me and whisper to each other. I was a little confused about what I did wrong. I was trying very hard to be nice but was getting no where. One morning, the Sophomore says to the Senior, “Are you excited about the concert this weekend?”. The Senior responded, “Yeah, I cant wait to see New Kids Saturday night.” Being super naïve, I bought it. I went home and begged my dad to see if he could get tickets. My poor dad even actually tried to find tickets. After a day or two of asking around my dad said, “Honey, I have asked around and no one has any info about a New Kids on the Block concert. Is it possible that those girls were playing a joke on you?” I felt so humiliated! I also felt so lonely! Why couldn’t I share my joy and excitement for five boys from Boston with these girls? Anyway, I am happy to say it all had a happy ending. Eventually, I won them over. Maybe it was when I helped one of them thread her sewing machine. They warmed up to me and before too long we were talking New Kids, writing notes to each other about New Kids, talking on the phone and sharing buttons. They admitted that it was because I liked Jon and the Senior also liked Jon. They even apologized for the fake concert and felt really bad about it. The Senior gave me a makeover for homecoming. (Big hair. Lots of makeup) No tricks this time. She made me up nice. Best of all, we all went to see Expose in concert that year and my dad drove all of us. I truly believe the best part of being a New Kids fan was sharing the excitement with other fans! That is why your podcast is so much fun!
I just want to add that I have 4 sons now and I kind of feel like I am managing a boy band! I have the shy one, the heart throb, the goof ball, and the baby face. Funny how youth prepares you for life!
I’ve tried to pinpoint the moment. You all know the moment I’m talking about, because you had one too. The moment I fell in love with 5 bad brothers from the Beantown land! (we all know you sang that in a certain melody) Anyway back to the moment I became a blockhead...
It’s down to two. Which is the chicken and which is the egg I’m not sure but I’ll tell it the way I think it happened.
I remember lying on the couch gossiping on the phone to a friend. The cord of the phone tangled in my toes as I lazed away a Saturday morning. On the TV was Video Hits, an Aussie TV show that recapped the Australian Music charts for the week, and on came Cover Girl. I remember distinctly commenting to my friend about how adorable it was that the singer got that cute little girl up… I mean I was all of maybe 4 years older than her, but I clearly thought I was so grown up, and that was adorable. I also remember us discussing whether Donnie was hot or not. We both agreed he was hot! Duh!
The other possible moment saw me standing in front of the vinyl's in ‘sight and sound’ at the local Target with money to burn. I was buying my first record and I chose ‘Hangin Tough’. I don't recall going there especially to buy it, just choosing it instinctively. I certainly didn’t know the boys, I had to go home and write their names next to the back photo, the one on the subway, in grey lead pencil. I do remember right then locking in what to this very day remains true, I was, and am, a Joey girl. From the moment I wrote his name next to his cute little face. How I found out their names I’m not sure, I mean this was pre google, a time when Australia was even further away than it is now thanks to no internet. I kind of think my eldest brother helped me with the names, funny given he became my biggest teaser regarding my undying New Kids obsession.
My obsession and adoration grew. There are flashes of memories of people saying I’d grow out of it, it was a faze. I guess they’d feel silly now. :)
I would write letters to my American pen pal Jen, declaring my undying love for Joe, certain that given the chance, if we crossed paths he’d be just as smitten with this small town Aussie girl as I was him. I included him and his entire family, in order, in my prayers at night. I rote learnt his siblings name in order, a skill I no longer possess but paid tribute to in a play last year (I’ll explain that later).
I would visit the newsagency in my small town (population 2000) and scour the pages of Smash Hits and the imported magazines, Bop, Tiger Beat and the like. I usually had money for one or two, the imported ones cost about $9, standard now, but in 1990 or so that was a luxury. But I couldn’t go without. I would pull the posters from the magazine and my walls, like many of yours were completely covered… plus of course, one placed on my roof above my bed so the last thing I saw was Joe, as I drifted into dreamland.
I bought what merchandise I could. Again being at the arse end of the world, Australia didn’t get everything that US fans did. I had several T-shirts and I remember the cassette bubble gum, but aside from that I don’t remember much else. Strangely, I didn’t keep much. Until recently I was a bit of a hoarder (recently embracing minimalism) but I assume I lost them in a few moves I’ve made.
When I couldn’t get items I tried to make my own version (cringe lol) a pencil case I painted with the USA Flag and the letters NKOTB within the stripes that I used throughout my entire secondary school time (finishing in 1994 when kids were teasing me about them being ‘has beens’ as Take That had come out in Australia then and were the it boy band of that time).
When the boys toured here in 1992 I went to the Melbourne show adorned in my hand decorated Denim Jacket… I laminated a picture of Joe (cringe again… laminated hahah) and my Mum sewed it to the back. Then I decorated it with a few patches and badges that I managed to get, and fabric paint with various NKOTB statements and adorations. I started painting it green to copy a Joe Jacket I saw in a poster but I got bored and didn’t finish that part.
I wore it with such pride to the concert and other blockheads actually asked me where I bought it. I thought I was so cool.
In terms of the 1992, the tour us Aussie girls had waited so long for, I worried it wasn’t going to happen. When the boys got here the ludicrous lip sync scandal broke and I was so scared they would cancel the tour and head home, instead it seemed to fire them up and I guess put that tour on the map.
I don’t remember much from the concert really, more from the day. The boys were awarded the key to Melbourne (my capital city) as Melbourne and Boston are sister cities. My elder sister took me into the city to watch the presentation. They were like little dots in the distance but I felt so special being in their space. When the ceremony was over the crowd dispersed and it became a treasure hunt for the boys hotel… we ran to Hilton, we ran to the Hyatt, girls would ask and get no, some were sure they were one place and others convinced somewhere else. It was crazy, and so exciting for this 14 year old. We ended up tracking them down. I got to see Jordan and Jon eating lunch with their Mum through windows (not creepy at all), Danny heading to the bus quickly to head to gym. I got a blurry pic of Joey on the bus, as close as I came to him in 1992.
So, then life went on. As I said earlier I continued to adore them even as they really were fading from Australian view in 1993/94. Grunge was everywhere here, my friends loved Nirvana and Pearl Jam and I still loved our boys. I guarantee those boys got me through the trials of teen years. When no one else loved me, they did. I could always escape to my room to play their music and daydream about what could happen if I just met Joe!
I am so thankful for them and really, really advocate the importance of connection to music and bands for teenagers. (My own 14 year old son is next level obsessed with Green Day now and I get it, the level he connects with their lyrics, the happiness their music brings… I get it).
So, NKOTB disbanded and I went on with life and of course they would play on radio from time to time and my heart would skip a beat. I still knew the words and I would stop and listen but certainly they weren’t the focus anymore. I still called them my favourite band strangely enough considering I wasn’t really listening to them or following along. I bought Joey’s solo album but I didn’t even know he did an Australian promo tour. I’d moved to Wagga Wagga for University, a bigger town at 50,000 but still a way away from Melbourne and city so I didn’t hear about it, but I’ve since seen photos from other Aussie blockheads of his CD signing etc.
They reformed but I don’t really remember taking notice until 2012 when my elder brother (remember the teaser from earlier) mentioned he’d seen in the paper they were touring Australia. I am sure my heart stopped and I bought a ticket immediately, but that tour was cancelled shortly after my ticket arrived. My heart was broken. I was sure we would never see them Down Under again. Donnie released a statement reminding Aussie fans to think of the people out of work from the cancellation, but I was selfish and so sad.
And then light… NKOTBSB May 19th 2013. I went alone. I am so glad I did because I experienced every moment, even in my nose bleed section. I remember walking across to the venue, seeing it in the distance, my heart pounding, trying to select the tour t shirt to buy then changing into it in the toilet stall so I could wear it and feel like a real fan again.
I was soooooooo far from the stage but I didn’t care. I was completely happy.
And from then the boys rejoined my life completely. I play their music in the car and my 14 year old teases me about the lyrics (in a loving teen way), I included them in a play I staged last year. The play was set in 1989 and had an 8 year old girl who was obsessed with horses. I decided to do a small tweak and change her to being obsessed with NKOTB. She was literally me, one of her lines that I added had her reciting the names of Joey’s entire family and miming to Hangin’ Tough in her bathroom mirror.
And last year I turned 40. Paul and I planned a trip to NYC, and that would have been enough given I’d dreamed of visiting the Big Apple for so long but The Total Package tour was announced and I thought I’ll look and see if there is anything in New York while we are there. Paul was up for it, he thought a concert would be fun, regardless of the band :).
I found two dates:
Uniondale, New York 7/7/17 and Albany, New York 9/7/17. (I briefly considered Boston but we’d made a decision to stay in one place to save on airfares) When you are looking from the otherside of the world at places you’ve never heard of it is really hard. I did google map searches from Manhattan to these places and tried to work it out, deciding Uniondale was closer and worked best with the dates we left.
Then buying tickets from a world away also presents a unique challenge. I’d made the decision to attend Uniondale and booked all other New York activities around it. We made the decision to go all in, Paul was like, you’re 40 let’s go VIP, my brother selling it finally (I have money anxiety and extra amount was stressing me) when he said to me… in 6 months that extra $500 won’t even be a thought. So, I chose Barstools and Paul booked the tickets… but he bought Albany and that didn’t work with getting there and other bookings we had. We stressed and worried because of the time difference we couldn’t get on to anyone, but the next morning I managed to get through and because 24 hours hadn’t passed they refunded our money and we went ahead and secured our bar stools for Uniondale.
Rather serendipitously I stumbled across a post on Facebook saying I should find a photo group, getting lucky first off making contact with a great Gal (shoutout Marisol) who had two Joey spots, though I did offer to sub Paul for any member (lol) if it helped the group build it’s numbers. I’m so glad I was able to do this prior to the day. I think it would have been too overwhelming on the day.
That day was perfect. It poured rain. I LOVE rain, and rain in NYC was so romantic and filmic (Paul and I are film makers). We went to B&H first, a camera superstore on 9th Avenue that we had been absolutely salivating at the thought of. Paul loves film technology so he was blissed out. We had breakfast at a traditional dinner close by,french toast and coffee, our socks and shoes were the only dampener as they were soaked but we trudged on.
Next step was working out how to even get to Uniondale. We made our way to Penn Station and tried to navigate the boards of the LIRR but it took a lot of asking for help finally working it out. That train ride was fabulous. I was buzzing. We made plans to find a shopping centre as we call it, a mall as you do, so we could sort out our soaked socks. I can handle almost anything but wet socks make me cranky and I didn’t want anything spoiling my mojo.
Once we were at the venue I met the rest of my photo group. I was nervous too. My anxiety had me concerned they would think I was a backwards Aussie or something but they were so kind. Penny gave me directions via FB messenger to where the VIP door was located, Alice was genuinely so excited for me meeting the boys for the first time, Jerri fixed my collar before the photo saying ‘us girls have to stick together’, we were connected by our shared love.
As a Joey girl, I was first in the line. Marisol and Alice, VIP experts, told me to take my time, to savour the moment and set the pace for the rest of the group. I hope I did, I think I did.
Danny first, a hug and polite banter. Donnie next… perfection. Asked me for Tim Tams (Aussie biscuits) and I kicked myself as I had them in the hotel but had been too nervous to bring them. Then as Marisol and Alice had predicted (cause Donnie loves husbands) as Paul went to shake his hand and tell him he’s a big fan of Blue Bloods (truth!) Donnie insisted he come in for a hug. That cemented it… Paul is a Donnie Guy! :)
Then we moved on to Jordan, then Jon and finally… my heart in my throat, all sense of where I was dissolving, I was standing in front of Joey. 28 years later, 16,794 km, a world apart, a moment I never actually thought would happen (even if I had to pay for it lol).
I fought to stay in the moment, to experience it, but it’s a blur.
I showed him my Jacket, (thanks Mum for insisting I pack it) he said “No shit, that’s cool”. (too kind!) I mentioned the play and he asked me if I wrote it, and we told him about our 3 kids (2 boys and a girl) at home in Australia. He said it’s important to do things sans kids because it “reminds you who you are” (words to live by).
And then it was over. And I was happy because I’d had that. And that would have been enough.
The show started. Paul and I loved Boys II Men. One Sweet Day is our song in fact, and our wedding film business name, so when that played… no words.
I nicked out for beer during Paula’s set but Paul had to go because I didn't have my id on me. In Australia it’s been a loooooooong time since anyone asked me for i.d. I wasn’t used to being asked everywhere in the States. Precautionary I’m sure but I will pretend it’s because I was looking so youthful.
So, the moment the New Kid’s took the stage… I can’t even remember exactly. But that feeling…. Again, pure joy. And it was everything and then some more. Bar Stool seats are the bomb. I couldn’t believe how close I was to them. I mean… they were right there, arms distance, and this Aussie gal was blissfully happy.
I had my banner I’d bought, a pic of the Aussie flag with ‘Joey, I’ve come from the land Down Under’ adorned. I am a polite concert goer though and was worried about blocking peoples view. But, when remix started and Joey was positioned smack bang in front of me, well this Australian was loud and proud and held it high. Joey saw it. He looked at me. My heart stopped. He made a gesture that I thought was to hold it high but then he was on his knees in front of me, ripping it from my hands and tossing it aside gripping my hand, and singing to me. My moment had come. It lasted 15 seconds (I’ve counted haha), Joey pulled me in and sang looked into my eyes, my hand was gripping his as he leant back , and I slipped on my bar stool, (some Block Heads commented on a board later that I looked like I was pawing him and did I remember he had a wife… I laugh because yes, I remember and my beautiful husband was next to me filming it all).
And then he let go, and everything returned to “normal”.
That was my moment. The show continued and it was sublime. The birthday girl was my new friend Jerri from the photo line, Gina (another from out photo group) had a Joey moment in ‘If you go away’ and the show kept giving.
I didn’t want it to end, but when it did I was complete. I was satisfied.
And I remain so now. I have to be because seeing them again in any way shape or form is a pipedream. The cruise sounds lovely, but expensive… which I can get around but then add international flights, insurance and accommodation and factor in the time. I’m a High School teacher and that timeing couldn’t be worse, smack bang in kids exams.
The next time I travel to America I am taking my kids for the Disneyland Dream, so maybe something would line up, but I couldn’t be that lucky again, could I?
And I could hope the boys might come back here, but, sadly, I doubt it. Australia is a long way away and often forgotten or overlooked, or just too far.
So, that 15 seconds, that day, is possibly all I’ll get. And it’s enough. It was everything. It will last me a lifetime.
I try to connect on social media. Donnie has liked one of my tweets and even that little gesture made me giddy. It’s truly amazing the joy they bring me.
I call NKOTB my guaranteed happy place. They just make me smile. It’s a simple love, but a strong one. I keep one of my signed posters (yes Paul gave me his so I have 2 :) why he didn't want it is beyond me ) at work so that on a bad day I can just stop and remember that day.
I will continue to seek out fellow Blockheads online, I love chatting and reading other experiences. I made a video of my experience, it’s on youtube if you look up FEED OUR SOUL FILMS and I am making another one that is kind of a love letter to the boys to thank them for a lifetime of love and joy, for getting me through shitty moments (ahhh teen years were fun) and for giving me 07/07/17. What a day! The best day!
Im happy to have found this podcast online. I’m a media and drama teacher and more podcast listening is part of my 2018 goals. I've been listening whilst exercising and the time flies so thanks for that :) But listening to you two talk is like listening to friends chat. I never had a Blockhead friend who shared my love, but now thanks to the podcast and online communities I do!
Jamie's Friendship Story
It was 1997-1998, my college roommate, a couple of friends, and I were heavy into the NSYNC/Backstreet Boys concert rotation. There were 5 of us that would go as often as we could afford. Our true loves were the New Kids, but since they had broken up, we were filling the void. My roommate liked NSYNC better, I was more of a BSB girl. Somewhere in the middle of it all, we turned to each other and made a pact that if NKOTB ever reunited that we would go together, no matter what. We could only dream.
Fast forward to the winter of 2009, I was deep into wife and Mommy hood. I had two small children, and was pregnant again. The nature of my husband’s job is such that we moved every 1 ½-3 years but we had just landed back in our home state. NKOTB had reunited and I had finally gone to my first ever concert the previous fall when we lived in a different place, so imagine my excitement when I learned that there was going to be a tour stop in our state that spring. I immediately emailed my college roommate and scream-typed “NEW KIDS CONCERT!!! WE HAVE TO GO!!!”
I eagerly anticipated her response and was completely blindsided by what she said: Yeah, I know. We already have tickets. My reply: “who has tickets?? Why didn’t you tell me??” She responded: The other four of us. We thought you’d be too pregnant to go. I was shattered. I would barely be into my 3rd trimester on the day of the concert, hardly a reason to miss the New Kids concert we had waited years for.
I got the unsaid message: they didn’t want me. They had stayed friends while I was away, there was no place for me anymore.
I was determined to go anyway and found another friend who wanted to go. The week of the concert arrived and I got a call from my former roommate. She called to say she was sick, so I could have her ticket. Not gonna lie, it felt pretty good to say that I didn’t need her pity ticket, I was already going with someone else. She actually had the nerve to sound surprised.
Growing up, I was very sheltered. Instead of going to parties, I went to church. I had friends at school, but because I wasn’t allowed to socialize with many of them outside of school, those friendships never really grew. I was half goody-two-shoes church girl and half normal teenager who just wanted to fit in. I was never popular, just sort of on the fringes of groups. College was my first opportunity to be friends with anyone I wanted. People similar energy and interests to mine. I really thought those were going to be my friends for life. Their rejection taught me a valuable lesson.
I learned there are two types of friends: friends for a season, and friends for a reason. I have gone on to move several more times. I’ve made new friends, some just for a season and some truly strong friends who are in my life for a reason. I still see one of those old college girls pretty regularly around the Block, neither of us acknowledge the other. We’re not friends anymore, we grew out of that season. And that’s okay. I have other amazing friends that are in my life now, ones that I may not have ever met if I hadn’t had the opportunity to strike out on my own away from my old college friends. We’ve had some amazing adventures in the past couple of years. And for that, I am Thankful.