Saturday, June 10, 2017

New Kids On The Block: Total Package Tour in Salt Lake City

If you're familiar with this song it's PROBABLY because:
a) you are a girl who was in her early teens when it came out
b) are the sibling of the above teen
c) are the parent of the above teen

They are the original "boy band". They are the boys who made Backstreet Boys, NSYNC, 98 Degrees, and One Direction possible.  I don't consider The Beatles or the Jackson 5 "boy bands".

Since they arrived on the scene in 1986, I've been a DIE HARD fan of New Kids On The Block!  My late elementary, junior high, and early high school years were spent lining my bedroom walls with the posters that came out of popular teen magazines like Tiger Beat, and Bop. I had the buttons (both big and small) that we wore on our clothing. I listened to their music CONSTANTLY, and knew every dance move to EVERY song they created choreography for! I'm proud to say that I owned the poster of Jordan on the bottom right of this picture...and I loved EVERY MINUTE of having it up on my wall; yes, he is my favorite member of the group!

When I was twelve, I had the opportunity to go to a New Kids On The Block concert while living in California.  I had "nose bleed" seats in the highest and farthest section at the back of the arena, and don't remember much of it at all.  Those in charge of the event tried very hard to keep cameras out of the concert, so I have no pictures.  I do remember that it was an incredible show; especially since I was only 12 and obsessed with this group!  They broke up in late 1994.  Music had changed, the fans were growing up, and so we all thought that the era of the "hardest working boy band", a title that was absolutely appropriate for them, was over.

Enter 2008.  After a 14 year hiatus, New Kids On The Block joined up again, released a new album, and began touring again.  I was excited.  They toured with the Backstreet Boys (which was an INCREDIBLE show that I caught on YouTube!) and all the fans who loved them as teenagers once again found that love for them again!

Through the fabulous power of Facebook, I found out in December, 2016 that they were going to begin a new tour in May, 2017, and would be coming to Salt Lake City, Utah, on June 9th, 2017!  Needless to say, I was beyond excited because I live about 15 minutes away from the venue.  I started to wonder if I could actually accomplish this!  Since it was so close to Christmas, I asked my mom if she could help me out, and she did.  My Christmas present was two tickets to the concert!  I could hardly contain my excitement.  Sure, at that time it was still 6 months away, but after waiting 26 YEARS to see them again, 6 months was nothing!

As the time for the concert drew nearer, I began brushing up on their songs.  Turns out, they were still etched in my brain.  It was fun to discover just how much I'd remembered!  They released a new EP titled Thankful in May, so I began learning those songs.

Last Thursday, I prepared my nails.

And last night I wore my new shirt!

As my sister and I left for the concert, we were remembering that when I went to my last concert, she was only 9 and was deemed too young to go.  She's never been to a New Kids On The Block concert and was just as excited as I was.  Well....maybe not quite as excited, but pretty excited!!

When we got to the Maverik Center, we parked and walked to dinner.  It was hilarious because the majority of the people in the restaurant were attending the concert.  Women were wearing their New Kids On The Block shirts, you could hear conversations about the group, how long it'd been since they last saw them, etc. I've always been proud to be a New Kids On The Block fan, but this was the icing on the cake!

Walking back to the Maverik Center, I was stunned how many MEN, and young girls were there.  I figured it would be a bunch of middle aged women reliving their teenager years.  I'm guessing the men were dragged there by their girlfriends/wives, and the young girls were there because their AWESOME mom's indoctrinated them to the greatness that is New Kids On The Block!  Over the past few months, I've listened to them more in my car. Brandon has also become a fan of the group. He was VERY bummed to not be going with me!

My sister and I.  We're going to pretend that's NOT my hair sticking up in the back!  I hate pictures of myself!

The place was PACKED and our seats were even better than I hoped they would be! As we kept walking closer and closer to our seats, and discovered how close we were, I became more and more excited to the point that I feared I might hyperventilate!  The stage was directly to the left of us. Take note of the blue wood in front of us; it will become VERY important soon!

Of course, merchandise HAD to be purchased!  I got the shirt, concert program, and a key chain.

Paula Abdul was their opening act.  She was very entertaining, performing her greatest hits.  This woman can still dance like it's 1990.  And she changed her outfits in about 1 minute between each song!

And then, the moment I'd been waiting 26 years for happened. This opening is from the first concert of the tour, back on May 12th.  It's the exact same opening as last night, obviously.

Let's just say I was screaming bloody murder as the countdown began!

The next two hours were simply amazing.  Realize that these 5 men are now between the ages of 44 and 48! The way they perform, you'd NEVER know that.  Wow. Writing that they're 44-48 suddenly makes me feel old! The energy was constant, and there were no real breaks, intermission...anything.  As a life-long fan, I appreciated this so much. It shows me just how much they continue to appreciate their fans.

Okay.  On to the most AMAZING moments of the concert!  Remember this picture?

On the other side of the blue wood is an isle. I keep up with New Kids On The Block through their Facebook page, and I'm glad that I do.  Many people have posted pictures from the tour, so I knew a little about what to expect.

They have a song titled "Tonight" from the album Step By Step.  The song lyrics are a play on many of their songs, and the way they said thank you to their fans back in the day.  The video is completely CHEESY, but here it is for the lyrics.

Before the concert started, I wondered if they would come through the audience like I'd seen on the videos I found on Facebook.  Well, they did...during this song.  The following pictures are blurry, but I COULDN'T CARE LESS!!

When they began singing this song they left the stage to walk through the crowd. Jon and Jordan came down our way first. You can see Jordan further down towards the right, with Jon in the forefront.

As Jon got closer to us, the screaming got louder and louder.  We all stretched out our hands, hoping to touch a member of the group we'd loved forever.  I was, of course, one of the people joining in, and all of the sudden JON SHOOK MY HAND!  A member of New Kids On The Block, the group I'd only been able to see on TV, or from the "nose bleed" seats, touched me!! Katie wasn't able to get his hand, so she asked me to shake her hand! I couldn't believe what had just happened.

A few minutes later, Donnie came our way.  After sipping some beer from someone a few people away from me (which was awesome!), he came right over to us and DONNIE SHOOK MY HAND!  Once again, ANOTHER member of my group touched me!! This time Katie was able to get it on it!  I was ready to completely die!

Jordan was maybe 20, 30 feet away, and I kept PRAYING that he would come closer. As he began to climb up onto the wood, he almost lost his footing and got down.

After he got down he started walking back to the stage.  This was as close as I got to my favorite member of the group.  But hey, how INCREDIBLE is this?!?

Joe and Danny both came pretty close, but got down before they came over to us.  Trust me, we tried!! You can think I'm crazy, and laugh at me all you want. I don't even care!  Donnie Wahlberg and Jon Knight shook my hand!!

 Yes, that is Donnie standing on a grand piano using pyrotechnics to make it look like it's on fire!

I was pretty excited because Jordan was on our side of the stage the majority of the night!  It's like he KNEW I was there and wanted pictures of him!!!

At one point, they went down "memory lane", revisiting songs from their very first album, which was a trip! This video isn't from last night. Someone posted it on YouTube from a concert on May 21st.

Joe went to the stage towards the back of the arena to sing "Please Don't Go Girl".  I always knew he could sing, but oh my gosh, this man is INCREDIBLE to listen to when he sings solo!  He puts his heart and soul into it, making it all the more enjoyable to watch!

Towards the end of the night, they sang "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)", which is a "staple" for Jordan. Not only was it amazing, as he still has his FANTASTIC falsetto, but he became very emotional at the end. It looked like he was crying.

I will ALWAYS be a "Blockhead", as we've affectionately become known.  I can't think of ANY OTHER GROUP who came together, broke up, and then came back to find their LEGIONS of fans waiting for them!  We grew up with them. I've also always been grateful that they had decided that they wouldn't come back together as a group unless they all wanted to do it. Many "boy bands" will tour again without all of the original members (Backstreet Boys). It speaks to their bond as friends, and family.

This group of men have gone from this:

to men who can still do this 31 years later:

I left the Maverik Center with no voice, and hardly being able to hear.  I also didn't care one bit! The screaming never stopped, and it was the most FANTASTIC night! The following song is beautiful and one of my favorites. It was written for the fans showing how thankful they are for us. It's on their latest EP Thankful.

If you ever wonder why New Kids On The Block fans are so loyal, this is why:

Here's a list of the songs they did last night, and the order they were performed:

One More Night
My Favorite Girl
Dirty Dancing
You Got It (The Right Stuff)
Remix (I Like the)
Block Party
Cover Girl
The Whisper
Stop It Girl
Be My Girl
I Wanna Be Loved By You
Didn't I Blow Your Mind
Call It What You Want
Valentine Girl
Happy Birthday
You Got The Flavor
Dirty Dawg
Never Let You Go
If You Go Away
Peace To The World
This One's For The Children
Hard (Not Lovin You)
Please Don't Go Girl
Step By Step
I'll Be Loving You (Forever)
Hangin' Tough / We Will Rock You