5 Brothers and and One of Their Million Sisters: My Journey to Block Vegas Part 4

Tink!

I wake up the next morning before my co-workers do. Neither of them have kids, so their bodies actually allow them to sleep in past 8am, regardless of whether they went to bed at 4am.

Still reeling from the night before, and replaying those Jordan moments over and over in my head and on my phone, I get ready for the day. The night I had, the excitement and experiences I lived through, solidified a decision I had been wavering on for a couple months. I decide to buy the Nick & Knight “Knight VIP Experience.” So while I brush my teeth in the bathroom, I open my tablet and kiss away another $250.

Carpe diem, I think to myself. Life is about experiences. And this was an experience that made me come alive.

My co-workers finally wake up about two hours later as I’m about to head down to Starbucks to get some caffeine and fuel.

Berkeley and I had talked about hanging out at the pool area during the pool party to see what’s going on and see if we can catch a glimpse of the guys. But my co-workers want to walk the Strip. I figure I should spend some time with them since I didn’t really pay much attention to them the night before at the after party, and I did come to Vegas with them (not with Berkeley).

So we head out into the sweltering heat. As we’re having brunch at the Paris, I check Twitter and see that Sacramento 1 and 2 managed to get tickets to the Pool Party! I could feel that jealousy I had pushed down the night before at the concert start to creep up.

As we make our way to our next stop, we make a wrong turn and somehow end up back in front of Planet Hollywood. My co-workers say they want to see a show that night rather than go clubbing at Marquee like we had planned. From the night before, I could already tell that they weren’t huge dancers, while I definitely like to cut a rug…like all night long until I get dragged out of the club kicking and screaming.

So we find the Tickets4Sale discounted ticket booth. As we look for Cirque Du Soleil shows, I see New Kids on the Block tickets for $56! I turn to my co-workers: “Sorry guys, I have to go again.” I know Berkeley is going again tonight too, and the guys are only doing this for three more nights. I can see a Cirque du Soleil show any old time I come to Vegas! My co-workers are totally cool about it, and so I buy my single NKOTB ticket.

We walk to the Bellagio where my co-worker shops for her boyfriend’s birthday present at the likes of Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Rolex, and Hermes. My other co-worker and I had no idea she’s such a high roller. While she shops, we awkwardly walk through the stores trying not to break anything and ogle at the $600 Hermes beach towel. Let me say that again: $600 BEACH TOWEL.

It’s while we’re in Louis Vuitton that I get a text from Berkeley: “I got a wristband from someone leaving the Pool Party! I got in!”

WHAT?!?! Okay, that jealousy I pushed down? It was boiling up to the top of my head now. I text her back: “What? OMG! So jealous!”

Another text: A SELFIE WITH DANNY!!!

Okay, jealousy is now bursting out of my seams and spilling all over the Louis Vuitton floor. I have to excuse myself before I start throwing things, so I step outside and text back: “ACK! Omg, so jealous! If you meet Jordan I’m going to die! But kill you first because I’d be so jealous!”

After I hit send, I realize that telling someone you just met the day before that you’d kill her is probably not the smartest thing to do. Especially when the person is actually really sweet and you hope to be friends with her even after the Vegas escapades are over.

I only hope she doesn’t think I’m psycho. I consider texting her back something awkward like “Haha, just kidding!” But I decide to leave it be and address it with her later if she starts acting weird.

A couple more texts – some selfies with some Bostonians she met, and a text saying that the guys have all left and it’s pretty much over.

Whew! A guilty relief washes over me as I realize that she didn’t meet Jordan. Not that I didn’t want her to meet Jordan, but I would have been kicking myself knowing that I could have been there too.

My co-workers and I meander to Venetian and Caesar’s Palace for some Serendipity Frozen Hot Chocolate. Had I realized at that point that the guys were staying at Caesar’s, I probably would have wandered around there a bit more, but alas, it was hot. And I had a concert to get ready for.

As I’m getting ready for the night ahead, my last night in Vegas, I resolve to myself and to my co-workers that my goal is to somehow get a selfie with Jordan. I had to get into that after party. I could try and sneak in with last night’s laminate. Hm, could work, but risky. I decide to post on the NKOTB Vegas 2014 Facebook page that I’m looking for AP passes.

Soon thereafter, I’ve entered into an agreement with a woman who doesn’t want hers after her photo opp. We make arrangements to meet. Yes! I’m getting in, assuming that she doesn’t bail on me.

But wait, what about Berkeley? I can’t ditch her. I resolve then that we have to get her in too.

Berkeley and I head down to the Axis with her mom again. (What a cool mom!) We’re waiting in line to buy some over-priced water when Berkeley taps me on my arm, pointing. “Julie, it’s that girl!”

I turn around and see none other than Andrea Barber! Something about my mood that weekend prompts me to go up to her and ask for a picture. She’s clearly walking somewhere with a friend, and so I sheepishly tell her that I’m a huge fan, and ask her for a picture. I ask Berkeley to snap it for us, and while she gets her phone out, Andrea starts to chat it up with me! “Did you go to the concert last night?” “Yes, I did.” “Was it amazing?” “Yeah, it was great.”

I feel so awkward. I am so preoccupied with making sure I’m not inconveniencing her, that I don’t even realize that she’s trying to strike up some friendly conversation. *face palm* Oh well, we snap our picture, and we’re both on our way.

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My seat is in the back corner, way to the left side. Yet because the theater is in a C shape, I believe my seat is actually closer than my seats last night. Score! The cheap seats are filled with fellow second-timers who purchased their tickets at the half price booth on a whim like I did. A pretty cool set of best friends are sitting next to me. We chat it up and agree to share Jordan as one of them is a Jordan Girl too.

The guys yet again put on a great show. This time a little more goofiness and improvisation – Joe confuses his verses in Summertime, and Donnie follows suit. Joe also calls out some guy for texting on his phone while he’s trying to sing to him. More goofiness, yet still no raunchiness. I’m still totally puzzled by the complete misalignment with all the claims that NKOTB After Dark would “definitely be more risqué.” Oh well.

After the show, I briefly feel a bit of sadness that this is my last NKOTB concert for a while, but I quickly snap out of it remembering my mission to get Berkeley into the after party. We head upstairs and decide to just start asking random people if they’re trying to get rid of any AP passes.

Thank goodness I have Berkeley with me, because she’s much more assertive than I am. The first people we encounter, she jumps in immediately and asks. Something must be on our side tonight, because they not only have an AP ticket they’re trying to get rid of, but a photo opp wristband to go along with it! (Too bad they’re generic pink wristbands that you get at the Planet Hollywood fitness center when you work out. I totally could have snuck into the AP photo opp anyways!)

I desperately look at Berkeley with a look in my eyes that I hope conveys how badly I want that photo opp. In all her cool collectiveness, she tells the girls to take her phone number, go back to their room to get the wristband, and we’ll figure out who’s taking the pass while they do so.

After they go I tell her that I’ll pay her fifty extra bucks for the photo opp. And regardless of the fact that we had just met the day before, validating how sweet this girl is, she calmly tells me, “You take it. I’ve met them before. I don’t even know if I’m going to stay.” (She hadn’t been feeling well all evening.)

I will be forever grateful, Berkeley. I will be forever grateful.

We wait around for the girls to come back with the wristband and I text the woman I had made arrangements with so she can give her AP pass to Berkeley instead of me. When the girls finally come back, we fall into the back of the line for the photo opp.

We quickly arrange our 10*. When asked, I try to make it clear that I’m a Jordan Girl, but given the fact that I’m lucky just to be there, I say I’ll stand by whomever. I don’t care! I’m going to meet the New Kids!

Continuing my luck with the BHs I’ve met so far, these girls are all really nice too! They were actually going to let me stand next to Jordan. If Sacramento 1 and 2 are veteran BHs, these girls are super veteran BHs! They camped out at the Today Show for three days to see them – THE Today Show when they made their comeback. They’ve met the guys multiple times, and are sometimes even recognized by them. I feel like I’m the new pledge in a sorority, and these girls are the Senior Big Sisters. They’re taken aback and don’t believe me when I tell them that I’ve never met the guys before.

The line moves really quickly, and soon we’re near the doors. Then, we get some news – Joe and Jon aren’t there. Joe and Jon aren’t there! Waaaah! Oh well, three out of five ain’t bad I guess. But we’re still going in groups of 10! Lame. Guess that throws our whole 10* plan out the window.

Before I know it, we’re up. I pass through the doors, and there they are – Danny, Donnie, and Jordan. I hadn’t really thought about what I’d say or do, even though I technically know we aren’t supposed to talk to them. Whatever. One of the girls in line advised, “They’ll herd us through like cattle. You have to grab your moment when you can.”

The thing that surprises me when I see the guys is that I’m not incredibly excited. I don’t feel a rush of adrenaline. I see these three guys standing there, and it almost feels like they’re just real, every day people. I had heard that they’re really down-to-earth and sweet, and so I suppose that was the vibe they were projecting.

I walk up to Danny first. I had heard that he is short, but I didn’t realize how short. I think I’m actually taller than him in my heels, and I’m only 5’3.” He’s really sweet, takes my hand and shakes it – not like a firm manly handshake, but like a gentle lady handshake. You know, the kind where he’s about to kiss my hand…but he doesn’t. I tell him it’s nice to meet him, and I move on to Donnie. (I have no idea why I don’t hug Danny. It’s just not something that occurs to me. Dammit!)

Donnie waves a big hi, and I give him a hug and tell him it’s nice to meet him. I realize that Donnie is where I have to stop for the picture. A part of me is disappointed that I don’t get to stand next to Jordan. Regardless, I turn around to face the camera while Donnie puts his arm around me. I put my arm around him, but since he’s backed against a counter overhang, I have to lower my arm, and…oops! I realize my hand is on his ass! I quickly remove it as a natural reaction.

Well, I don’t know if that’s why he does this, but he then tells me to get in front. Could also just be because I’m the shortest and we need to squish together. So I quickly get in front of him, and while he’s directing me on what to do, I glance over at Jordan who is looking at me. Everyone was probably looking at me because I think the photographer was waiting on me to snap the picture.

We all say cheese, and it’s time to move on. I don’t remember if I say bye to Donnie or not, because I am solely concerned with whether I would get to say hi to Jordan. I look at him as I start to pass, and without even thinking, I lightly touch his chest and say, “Just want to say hi.”

And then somehow my hand ends up in his – lady handshake-like again. I have no recollection of how that happened. I think maybe he put his hand out for me to take. And as he’s holding my hand I tell him, “I’ll see you at Nick & Knight!”

I’m completely aware that the photographer and crew are trying to scurry us along, and so I’m pulling away and starting to turn around as I say these words. But then he calls out, “Where?” So I take a step back towards him, and answer with “Seattle.” And I lightly touch his upper arm and say, “I just bought my VIP today” with a smile.

I start to walk away again, but as I’m walking away, he calls out, “Today? You bought them today or yesterday?”

Kind of caught off guard, I quickly say, “Today…no, last night.” And he responds with something like, “Cool.”

Why is he so curious when I bought my VIP? I have no idea to this day, but it isn’t until about an hour later I realize I gave him the wrong information. I bought my VIP today, not last night. I kick myself for giving him the wrong info, even though I have no idea why he wants to know.

Anyways, after our exchange, I can’t just run off, so I grab my moment, outstretch my arms, and say, “Can I just…” And I go in for a hug. He hugs me back, and the only thing I remember is seeing the reflection of me hugging him in the mirror behind us, and feeling our cheeks press together.

By this time, I hear the crew saying something like, “Ladies, move along.” And I scurry off to meet the other girls.

And that’s when the adrenaline kicks in. Thank God it didn’t kick in while I met the guys, because I would have been a blabbering idiot.

We find ourselves in the entrance to the club, and the girls and I are standing in a circle. I say, “Can I just say, as a newbie…” And I let out a huge squeal that releases all the pent-up excitement and adrenaline that just rushed through my body. A squeal that any pubescent teenage girl would completely understand. And then I do a happy dance. A bonafide happy dance right in front of everyone. I’m sure it was quite comical.

Berkeley texts me that she made it in, and she meets us to the side of the stage. Because I’m forever indebted to Berkeley, I make it a point to make sure we get as close to the stage as possible so she can get a selfie. So I start shoving and creeping. I hate being one of those girls, but I had to for Berkeley.

The guys come out, and the club is crazy packed – like three times the amount of people than the night before. The guys dance and entertain. I’m slightly disappointed that Jordan doesn’t spend much time on our side of the stage, but Danny girls are very happy.

We eventually make our way to the stage, and although Berkeley doesn’t get a selfie, she does get a pretty good close-up of Donnie looking right at her.

The night goes on, we dance, snap a million pictures and videos, and the guys eventually head out. No more Jordan moments for me tonight, which is okay because I got my quintessential moment with him at the photo opp.

Berkeley decides to go up to her room, and we say our goodbyes since she’s catching an early flight out in the morning. I thank her again for letting me have the photo opp, and we vow to figure out the Nick & Knight concert situation since she’s going to try to fly up to Seattle and do VIP with me. Yay!

I stick around for a few more minutes to just soak it all in. Did that all really just happen? Did I really just go to Vegas for two NKOTB concerts and two after parties, meet a bunch of really cool people that I clicked with so easily because of our shared “passion”, have not one but multiple moments with my childhood crush, and meet three of the five guys that I’d admired since I was eight years old?

I look around at all the BHs dancing, having fun, letting it all out. No one but a BH understands what it’s all about. It’s about the five guys, it’s about the friendships. It’s about the experiences, the excitement, the memories, and the moments.

I smile as I turn around and leave the club. It did happen. And it was epic.

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5 Brothers and One of Their Million Sisters: My Journey to Block Vegas Part 3

Berkeley, her mom, my co-workers, and I make our way to the Axis Theater via a ride down the Jon elevator, I believe. It’s a fairly small theater, so there really are no bad seats in the house. We’re 200-level and Berkeley is 100-level. Again agreeing to meet up at the after party, she meanders with her mom down to the front while we make our way to the cheap seats. I push the jealousy down to the bottom of my core so I won’t notice it’s there and soak in the atmosphere. What I didn’t know was that my seats were absolutely perfect. You’ll see why in a second.

At about ten after, the lights dim, music begins, and those five silhouettes appear on stage. Man, that feeling doesn’t get old. The excitement and anticipation knowing that they’re up there, and they’re about to put on a kick-ass show.

Everyone rises to their feet, and so my co-workers do the same. Oops – don’t remember if I warned them that not one person would be sitting down…well, except maybe a husband or two who was unwillingly dragged along by his wife.

The guys of course get the show going great. Not much adlibbing or goofing off, but I expect that knowing that it’s the first show. “Crash,” “Remix,” “The Right Stuff,” etc. But it gets really exciting when “Block Party” comes on.

The guys had just run off stage, and I notice people looking to the right, holding cameras and phones up. Are they coming into the crowd? YES!

Then I see them come out into the walkway that divides the 100-level and 200-level. No wonder those ushers strategically placed themselves where they did.

And then I see Jordan. Right in front of my section. Girls immediately start swarming down to the front of our section. I was lucky enough to be in an aisle seat. So fuck it! I beeline it down there too!

I’m about three girls away from Jordan when I see him look in my direction, and for a second I think he’s looking right at me. But then a girl in front of me blows him a kiss, and he blows one back at her. To this day, I don’t know who he was originally looking at. I swear on my phone it looks like he’s looking at me, but who knows?

Then I see people swarming to the left. Joe is right there too! I swing around and start recording Joe with my phone. But when I turn around and see Jordan standing there, and notice that Joe has distracted so many girls from him, I immediately climb over someone’s leg to plant myself in an open spot just to the left of him on the other side of the divider.

“My Favorite Girl” is mixed with Britney’s “Bring the Action.” Pretty sweet mash up. I can’t believe I’m so close to Jordan Knight – my childhood and current celebrity crush – that I’m just standing there with a huge cheesy grin on my face, watching him dance while I hold my phone up to the side to record. Then he turns around and looks right at me – like right into my eyes – for three whole seconds.

Oh, be still my heart. Okay, so maybe it was only like two seconds, but it felt like an eternity as I replay it in my head in slow-mo.

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He turns around and sings in the other direction. And then…he does it again! Swings around towards me, looks RIGHT INTO MY EYES for like three seconds (okay, maybe two), and this time smiles! *swoon* (Of course my camera goes blurry when he does this, so I can’t relive it over and over again on my phone. Dammit!)

The song closes in on the end, so Jordan walks away. Danny runs by and I reach out my hand for a high five. YES! I touched one of them! Woohoo!

The song ends, and I make my way back to my seat, all giddy. My co-workers are laughing about how they were like, “Where’s Julie?” “Um, I think she’s up there.” Duh, I was up there! How could I not be?

The rest of the concert goes on, and the guys end with the obligatory ballad to the fans, “I’ll Be Loving You Forever”, and the usual “Hangin’ Tough”.

We make our way upstairs to Gallery Nightclub and get into the club early enough to claim a decent spot. It’s my first after party, so I don’t really know what to expect. Only what another BH had told me over Facebook – that I shouldn’t expect anything but a good time. The guys might come out into the crowd, they might not. All of them might show, some might not.

I do notice that girls have perched themselves in the booths right in front of what appears to be a stage-like setup. So I find a spot on a ledge which is between a booth and a set of stairs, across the dance floor from the stage. My little spot is a skinny piece of ledge at the front of the C-shaped booth, so no one can stand to either side of me and potentially obstruct my view. I figure I can stand on the ledge, and I’d have a clear view of the guys (and vice versa, of course). Good move, Julie. Good move.

Berkeley joins us, as do Sacramento 1 and 2. I tell them about the “moment” I shared with Jordan during the concert, and they share in my excitement. I think veteran BHs find it endearing when new ones discover the excitement of their first encounter with the guys.

A couple hours and a heartfelt speech from Jenny McCarthy later, the guys walk through the crowd. I jump down from my ledge in time to brush Joe’s and Jon’s shoulders as they pass. YES! Touched three! Two more to go!

Donnie makes a speech, and the music starts thumping. The guys get the party started!

And then it happens. And I swear I’m not dreaming this. I have eyewitnesses. And if anyone saw this and has a different version of the story, please leave me with my version of this reality so I can die in ignorant bliss.

I’m dancing on my little ledge, and Jordan is dancing right across from me on the stage. He looks right at me, smiles this huge grin, nods at me while he’s dancing, and points right at me. RIGHT AT ME. For like three seconds…maybe two. I don’t know. Again, felt like an eternity in slow-mo.

Seriously, the way he looks at me is like he remembers me from our moment at the concert. Could be the bright orange romper I’m wearing. Bright colors are more memorable than drab ones, right? Glad I chose that outfit!

Maybe I’m making this up in my head, but I swear it happened, and again, if you saw this happen and you clearly saw that he was actually pointing at someone else, please let me have this lie to live. I do have it on camera, but of course when it happens, I’m so excited, my phone loses aim. Ugh!

So as he points at me, I point back at him, smile, and dance. Sacramento 1 grabs my leg (since she’s dancing on the floor), and says something like “Oh my god! Another Jordan moment!” And in the video on my phone when I play it back, I hear myself squeal in excitement, followed by a hearty “Fuck yeah!”

He’s still dancing across from me, and a brief moment happens again! During “California Love,” he makes a sweeping hand motion to my left (his right). Don’t know why, but I mirror his motion. And when I do, he looks at me, smiles, and laughs!

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Wow. Three moments with Jordan Knight in one night. After that, the night is a blur. I’m too giddy to remember much else. I know my co-workers both leave super-early, and Sacramento 1 and 2, Berkeley, and I dance the night away. Sacramento 1 and 2 leave before Berkeley and I do to hit another bar. By the time we leave, all the guys have left, and people have started clearing out.

Satisfied with the night (at least I know I was satisfied), Berkeley and I make our way back up to our rooms, but not before taking more pictures with those awesome elevators.

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My co-workers are snoring the night away as I creep inside. I go to my suitcase to change and stop right in front of it. Crap. I forgot to bring clothes to sleep in. I quickly weigh my options. Sleep naked? Don’t think my co-workers would appreciate that. Sleep in the clothes I’m wearing? Guess that’s my only option.

I slip into bed in my bright orange romper replaying my Jordan moments in my head as I drift off into dreamland.

5 Brothers and One of Their Million Sisters: My Journey to Block Vegas Part 2

Aw Fuck Yeah. I believe those words literally pass through my lips after I read that headline: New Kids on the Block Announce 4-Day Engagement in Las Vegas. I passed on the cruise. No way in hell could I go to Europe for “An Intimate Evening.” Vegas? I could make that happen. I had to make that happen.

I immediately approach any and all friends that have a remote interest in the New Kids on the Block. The closest I have are friends that liked them back in the day, but don’t really have much of a concept of what they’ve been up to lately. I’m the only one who owns their albums. I’m the only one who knows all the words to their songs, or even knows that Jon is gay for that matter! Well, I just gotta find someone who wants to come with me.

After five friends all back out due to a plethora of reasons – I’m buying a house, I’m going on vacation just prior – I’m left alone. I’m tempted to answer a call on Facebook for a roommate, but I know my husband would not approve. Every day I check to make sure the concerts aren’t selling out. But I soon lose hope and get ready to again live vicariously through YouTube and Twitter.

Then one day, I’m out for Happy Hour with two co-workers that I barely know, and I decide to just throw it out there: “Anyone want to go to Vegas with me for a New Kids on the Block concert?”

After the all-too-expected laughing and “Really?” and “They’re still together?” and “You’re too funny!” they say, “Sure! That’ll be fun!”

Score! I don’t even care that one of them wasn’t even a fan back in the day! It’s people to go to Vegas with!

That night, as I’m getting ready to buy our tickets, I freak out. Wait a second, July 10-13? Why does that sound like an important weekend? I check my calendar. One of my good friends is getting married that weekend! NOOOOOO!!!!! Check again. Okay, whew, it’s on Sunday afternoon. I can fly out of Vegas on Sunday morning or Saturday night. Okay, not ideal, but not the end of the world. Crisis averted!

I get Thursday night tickets since they have the best seats left for the amount of money I think my co-workers would be willing to pay. I’m tempted to do VIP, but I don’t want to abandon them. So I settle for 200-level seats.

Then the after parties and pool party are announced! I totally miss out on the pool party because I was super busy that day at work and just plum forgot that they went on sale! Kicking myself, I’m relieved that the Thursday after party is still available.

After purchasing after party tickets, my plane tickets, and booking our room at Planet Hollywood, I’m all set! Now if only July 10th could get here more quickly.

The months slowly pass, but eventually I find myself kissing my kids gently on the head as I softly sneak out the door to catch my 7am flight to Vegas. On the plane I “get myself in the mood” with headphones in ears playing NKOTB and Jordan Knight tunes.

We land, I catch a cab to Planet Hollywood, and I see this as I step out of the taxi:

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Woohoo! I have arrived! NKOTB is in the building! (Or somewhere else on the strip, but nearby nonetheless!)

I don’t even care that I’m by myself because my co-workers don’t get in until late afternoon. After taking some selfies in front of the elevators, I go up to the hotel room, blast more NKOTB and Jordan Knight while I claim my bed (the one by the window of course), unpack my stuff, and do my nails. You know, because if I did happen to run into the guys in the casino, heaven forbid I have naked nails.

The grumbling in my stomach signals to me that I should head downstairs and find something to eat. It’s 11:00, and I know the VIP and after party early check-in has started. Based on the emails and Twitter correspondence I had with On the List Presents, I don’t think I can check in without my whole party present. So I decide to post on the Seattle Blockheads page to see if anyone is around. I get one response, so I decide to head down and try to find her.

As I head downstairs, I see a crazy long line looping around the bar at the entrance to the mall. Is this the VIP line? Day-yum!

I decide to ask the last person in line if she knows if I can check in without my entire party present. She responds that she thinks so, so I decide to stand in line anyway just in case I can pick up the passes. What else am I doing right now, right? (Sorry BH from Facebook!)

We start chatting it up, and I learn that she’s there with her mom, she met the guys for the first time doing the Package Tour Total Package, and she’s staying on the same floor as I am. (Let’s call her Berkeley.) Berkeley is totally the chatty type who can make friends wherever she goes, which is good for me, because I’m not. So together, it works! She even starts chatting with the ladies behind us, who we’ll call Sacramento 1 and Sacramento 2.

Before I know it, we’re exchanging Twitter handles and taking pictures. I post my first picture from Vegas: “Met my first BHs at Planet Hollywood! #BHLove #NKOTBAfterDark.”

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So we’re standing in the long ass line for what feels like forever, and we’re finally second and third in line when an Axis Theater employee and security guard firmly explain to us and the hundred or so people behind us that they’re shutting down the line.

Seriously?! We stood in line for almost two hours for absolutely nothing? Much bitching ensues, but we all soon agree that it wasn’t all a wash because we met each other. Yay! BH Friends! After the bitch-fest, we realize how starved we are, so we head to Gordon Ramsay for burgers.

During lunch I learn that Sacramento 1 and Sacramento 2 are best friends and are veterans at the whole Blockhead thing. They’ve cruised two times, they’ve met the guys multiple times, they’ve been to numerous concerts. Berkeley and I are not as versed in the Blockhead world, but Berkeley has at least met the guys once (not counting when she met Joey during his “Stay the Same” days).

I find myself explaining a few things to Berkeley, surprisingly. Mostly social media things like other BHs to follow and how Andrea Barber (surprisingly she doesn’t know who she is – must not have watched much TV growing up) is a huge NKOTB fan along with Candace Cameron Bure. So I show her a picture of Andrea Barber on Instagram. (This will be very important later – stay tuned.)

Mid-way through lunch one of my co-workers shows up and joins us. It’s very apparent that she’s not a Blockhead due to her referring to the guys as “The Quiet One” and “The Little One.” So after we part ways, exchange numbers, and agree to meet up later at the concert and/or after party, I educate her on NKOTB 101 – what are their names, what are their most popular songs, etc.

After some crappy (non) pool time (there was no space around the tiny-ass pool, so we were stuck sunbathing on the barren concrete slab between the two “Pleasure Pools” – one of which was closed), my other co-worker finally joins us just in time for me to head back up to our room to start getting ready.

Two hours later (yes, I take forever to get ready, especially when there is a fraction of a chance I might get a split second with any of the guys), I get a text from Berkeley to come over to her room so we can head down together. My co-workers take about a quarter of the time I took to get ready, so we’re soon on our way over to Berkeley and her mom and heading downstairs to the Axis Theater.

I’m ready for an epic night!

5 Brothers and One of Their Million Sisters: My Journey to Block Vegas Part 1

I was eight years old, and I could belt Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now” at the top of my lungs word for word. Without a clue that it wasn’t even her original song, I vividly remember waiting to get picked up from school while singing it with my best friend. Not to mention some Belinda Carlisle and Tommy Page (“A Shoulder to Cry On” is our song).

Then one fateful day, my sister introduced me to them – New Kids on the Block. My sister is seven years older than me. So here I am, a bright-eyed 4th grader, and here’s my sister, in her prime in high school. Her fangirling and celebrity crushes definitely rubbed off on me – the likes of Michael J. Fox and Ricky Schroder. But NKOTB…oh, NKOTB. I remember the Hangin’ Tough cassette tape – the posters of Jordan and Jon. The Hangin’ Tough VHS. Jon and Donnie running through that New Orleans cemetery. They are the only ones who could make a cemetery sexy.

My mom was your typical strict Asian mother. It would be a cold day in hell if she ever let my sister, let alone me, go to a concert. So we watched them from afar. I daydreamed about my sister dating Jon, and me dating Jordan…Oh that Jordan Knight. With his rat tail and smooth falsetto. *swoon*

I quickly learned all the words to all the songs (even the more obscure ones like “Hold On”), and before long I had worn out the cassette tape, and my sister had moved on to other things.

Then came the ‘90s. And I entered my formidable pubescent years. Living in the Pacific Northwest, my longing to conform forced me into the world of grunge. I abandoned my first love, and joined the ranks of Nirvana, STP, and Pearl Jam fans in my flannel and Doc Martens. And NKOTB disbanded.

Flash forward 14 years. I hear that the New Kids on the Block had been on the Today Show. What?! The New Kids are getting back together? After all these years? Interesting, I thought to myself.

Without any way to record the event, I catch it later on YouTube. I watch the guys perform “The Right Stuff” and their new song “Summertime.” I call my sister: “Did you hear the New Kids got back together?” “No, really?” “Yeah, they were on the Today Show.” “And?” “They’re trying too hard.”

*GASP*

What?!?!?! What kind of a Blockhead are you?

I wasn’t one. I admit – I was not a Blockhead. At that moment in time, I was not. A couple years go by. I hear that the New Kids on the Block are touring with Backstreet Boys. That seems like an odd combination to me.

Then one day my co-worker stops by my office on her way out. “Have a good night!” she says. “I’m heading to the NKOTBSB concert! Woohoo!”

“What?” I ask her. A thought crosses my mind: I loved those guys back in the day. That would be a fun concert.

Realizing that I was at the time extremely pregnant, I acknowledge that it wouldn’t have been a good time for me to go anyway. Oh well, I’ll catch them next time around.

That night I go home, and on a whim decide to go to nkotb.com and sign up to be on their email list. I get notifications about merchandise and something called the Mixtape Festival that is way too far away for me anyway.

Then one day I get an email – New Kids on the Block Announce New Album and The Package Tour.

What?! They’ll be touring with 98 Degrees and Boyz II Men??? Two bands that I loved in the ‘90s? Hell-to-the-Yes!

I immediately email my co-worker who had gone to the NKOTBSB concert and find two other co-workers to go with us. I immediately start YouTubing New Kids television appearances, music videos, fan-captured after parties.

And then something inside me clicks. It’s like a part of me is brought to life. I download their 2008 album and Jordan’s Unfinished album, I YouTube all their old concert videos, I order Coming Home, I kick myself for not knowing they were at the movie theater I ALWAYS GO TO for an exclusive screening of Coming Home ON MY BIRTHDAY, I die a bit inside knowing Jordan had a concert merely 2.5 hours away only two months ago. I get on Twitter and start following all of them, I voraciously read 5 Brothers and a Million Sisters, I join the Seattle Blockheads Facebook page and gush about how I long for a community to share this newly re-discovered love. I learn that Donnie divorced Kim Fey, I learn Joe has three cute kids, I learn Danny used to do something with private jetliners, I learn Jordan owns a gym in Rhode Island, I learn Jon’s boyfriend is a personal trainer. I get caught up on five years of lost time in a matter of one month.

The only justifiable reason that I can conjure up for missing the last five years and being so dumb as to not care when they got back together was divine intervention. Just after the New Kids got back together was when I got pregnant and subsequently had two kids. If I had re-discovered them again at that point in time, who knows what kind of conflict would have ensued? There would have been many-an argument with my husband and mother about “You can’t go on a New Kids cruise! You have a 3-month-old to think about!” (The conversation is much easier when your kids are at least eating solids.)

I get my tickets to the Package Tour. My friends are all making fun of me because I’m waiting with my finger on my mouse for AMEX Pre-Sale to start. I buy our tickets, and I am just completely giddy with excitement.

Over the course of the next few months, as I eagerly await the concert, I’m stuck in one of the most trying times in my personal and professional life. I cry almost every day. One day, I have a nervous breakdown in front of my kids, and my husband offers to take them out of the house for the day so I can have some time alone. I gather myself off the couch, drag myself into the shower, and turn on some music – New Kids on the Block, of course. Before I know it, I’m singing and dancing in the bathroom. The New Kids were my release, my escape, my solace. I love my husband, and he is the key reason I survived that time in my life. But at that moment in time, the New Kids may have saved my sanity. Standing in my bathroom with wet hair dripping down my back and Summertime blasting on my speakers, I thank them on Twitter, and know that they are something very special to me.

The Package Tour comes, and Donnie’s pledge resonates so hard with me. I avidly repeat after him and pledge to leave all the worries, drama, and fears behind me. For that night at least, we owned that night. The music starts, and the five silhouettes appear on stage. I jump up and the feeling that washes over me is unlike anything I had ever anticipated. I could literally feel the energy, love, excitement bubble up from my feet and fill my entire body, gushing out the top.

I jump up and down, scream, sing along, dance, and am entranced by these five guys. My girlfriends to the right of me may as well not have even been there because I am so razor focused on those five men on the stage. (Those girls don’t even know the words to their new songs anyway.)

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Almost three hours later it’s over. And all I can do is watch my videos and follow the rest of their tour on YouTube and Twitter.

The cruise comes and goes, and even though I had told myself I was going to go as a reward to myself for all the crap I had gone through the last few months, when the time came, I couldn’t justify the required financial investment because of some money issues we were having. I of course live vicariously through Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube to catch any morsel of the event that I could.

Then…the special announcement: Announcing New Kids on the Block After Dark – 4 days of special engagements in Las Vegas.

Aw Fuck Yeah.