Theresa, Marci, Amy, Regina, Kimberly, and I
We waited an hour to be sat down for dinner, the hot Kansas summer sun making us all wish for cooler temperatures. An evening of girl talk was much needed, and very out of the ordinary for the most of us. Once seated, I enjoyed my nice cool lime drinks (one plain, one of the dragon berry type) and my Chipotle Turkey Wrap with pub chips (my food journal promptly slapped my hands as I recorded this particular meal... but hey, it was a special occasion). As we crossed the street, we were surrounded by neon green leggings, lace hair bows, teased bangs, and denim mini skirts. It was, as far as anyone was concerned 1989. More women than not were wearing shirts bearing words of love for the guys who once appeared regularly on the cover of every teen heartthrob magazine.
As we entered our destination, we were all bursting with anticipation. We made our way up two time-traveling escalators and finally to our seats. As we sat, the opening act began. The uber-talented Matthew Morrison (who just happens to be hunky Mr. Scheuster from Fox's smash hit Glee) was gracing the stage with his amazing vocals, sexy dance moves, and incredible lyrics. We had a fantastic birds-eye view of the back of his head. Yes I said the back of his head. While disappointed in our seats, I was determined to enjoy myself. How could I not? We all swooned over Mr. Schuester and decided that he could also join our list of make-believe-boyfriends.
As soon as Matthew Morrison was finished performing, a Sprint Center employee asked one of us how many were in our party. "Six," she replied. "Would you like a seat upgrade?" I'm fairly certain we had all jumped out of our seats before we were able to say yes. We were doubly excited at this point, practically running to our new seating assignments. We were thrilled to find that we were now just one level off the floor, front and nearly center. I lovingly told my sister that had we not been moved, I wouldn't ever allow her to be in charge of buying tickets again. So there we were, bursting at the seams for the main attraction, the reason for the time travel, the cause of many throbbing hearts, to take the stage.
Let the squealing and screaming begin!
There they were. The New Kids on the Block (accompanied by the Backstreet Boys), right before our very eyes. We were converted into our childhood selves, screaming and squealing with delight as our make believe boyfriends danced and sang and (sometimes) gyrated to the songs that used to blare from our boom box speakers as we colored with sidewalk chalk. Every woman in the audience swooned and lusted and sang along as her particular favorite took lead on the vocals or dance steps. Most of us danced, clapped, and waved our arms with no inhibitions, and screamed until our vocal chords protested. We felt so lucky to be in the very same room with the boys (now men) who were once plastered on our lunch boxes, bedroom walls, night gowns, and t-shirts. My sister and I even had Joey and Jordan (respectively) Barbie Dolls, which, of course, made us super cool back then.
All of our boyfriends have aged very well. They sported muscled physiques, much better hair (no rat-tails, thank the Lord), and rugged manly jaunters. Jordan can still hit the high notes that could (and still can) bring any girl to her knees. Joey sang Please Don't Go Girl, but at a lower, sexier, register. Donny played-up his bad-boy image and was, in many ways, the star of the show. Jonathan and Danny, as usual, spent more time in the background, but were stars nonetheless. I was never a Backstreet Boys fan in my younger years, but I could definitely appreciate their performance and abilities (although, as a mom, I felt the constant urge to tell the quite spastic Nick Carter that he needed to hold still and settle down). I was especially impressed by Brian Littrell (who is also a Christian singer) who proved to be a devoted and loving husband by bringing young adoring fans onto the stage instead of date-able women like his band mates.
Again, I could appreciate the music of BSB, but would have rather seen NKOTB take the stage without them. My sister and I watched NKOTB live November of 2008 (and screamed so loud we had no voices left the next day) and were able to truly enjoy seeing them perform each of their songs in their entirety. For us, watching them share the stage meant hearing only bits of our favorite songs mashed-up with bits of our other favorite songs. Don't get me wrong, the entire show was amazing and incredible, and so worth the money, but I, personally, could do without BSB. Just saying. I'm sure, however, it was a dream come true for the women who timed growing up just right to be able to be super-fans of both bands.
When the show was over and we returned to our time machine, I felt filled with the same adrenaline rush after riding a roller-coaster. It was a rush of feeling all of my childhood fantasies be fulfilled, a dream-come-true, if you will. My sister and I weren't ever able to attend a live NKOTB concert as kids, only watch, and re-watch, and re-watch, VHS tapes of concerts we recorded off of television. I'm fairly certain that our mom knew all of the words to their biggest hits, just because we played them so often. My mom, who graciously watched our sons during our time-travel extravaganza, said that she never minded that we were in love with NKOTB. "They were wholesome and you could understand the words they were singing," she said. Although one time during my childhood I distinctly remember arguing with her over who was more popular, The New Kids on the Block on the Block or Michael Jackson (New Kids were the obvious answer... duh).
My sister and I (super excited about our upgraded seats)
And good thing we could understand the words they were singing because we needed to have them memorized for the concert (and believe me, we did). I think it's important for you to know that we were glad to hear that we were still their Favorite Girls, relieved that we still had The Right Stuff, glad that we were still the prettiest Cover Girls, okay with taking it Step By Step, willing to Hang Tough, and happy to be 'put in a transe with a funky song'. And many women, my sister included, would like Joey to know that, since he said Please, they aren't going anywhere. We actually can't wait until they come through Kansas City again.
Thanks, New Kids, for the wonderful trip down memory lane. And thank you for keeping me In Good Company.