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.
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.