From Off TMSM! A Magical Evening with #NKOTB, Amway Center, Orlando!
Here’s an article that I did last week for Off TMSM that’s dear to my heart and was a lot of fun to write! I hope you enjoy it! ~M
Those who know me, know that I’m a huge fan of New Kids on the Block. I have been a follower of them since I was a kid, and that kind of devotion doesn’t easily slip away. Yes, I had the cassettes, videos, t-shirts, posters, you name it! When I was a teenager, my friend and I pestered my poor Dad into taking us to our first NKOTB concert, and it truly was one of the most amazing experiences that I had up until that point in my life. My Dad is awesome by the way, always a good sport in dealing with my fandom! In the years that followed, I continued to attend NKOTB concerts whenever I could. When the guys came back in 2008 for their reunion tour, I was there for that too. So, when the Amway Center sent us a press release a few months back, that NKOTB was coming to their venue, I knew I had to get there for this concert. I had never been to a concert at the Amway Center, I’m used to Detroit shows, so I was really excited for a lot of reasons. Turns out, it was one of the best evenings I’ve had since moving down here to Florida, thanks to my husband and Tanya at the Amway Center!
We were contacted by the Amway Center the day before the show, saying that we were to come to the box office around 4:00 and we would have info waiting for us. I truly didn’t know what to expect. Tanya at the Amway Center is always so helpful with sending us information, and she was handling our arrangements for the evening. We were given wrist bands and tickets, then were told to go around the corner and wait for further information. We met some great girls while standing in line, and eventually were taken into the building with others who were also wearing the green wrist bands. The group was directed to a hallway backstage, and no one knew what was going on. We were put into groups and the man running the show back there told us to put away our phones and cameras. My heart was racing, the anticipation was killing me. I was standing near a curtain, and looked up and Donnie Wahlberg was walking past smiling at me. Within seconds, there they were, all of them…. and my inner teenager was dying. It’s amazing how a grown woman with kids of her own can resort back to being 15 again within the blink of an eye.
So, here it was, my moment. The moment I had only dreamed about since I was a teen. The moment that I assumed at this point would never happen. Number one on my teenage bucket list… meeting NKOTB, especially Joe McIntyre since he was my favorite. The guys all stood along the wall, almost like a wedding reception line, and the man in charge had the first group go up, my group. Actually me, I was first. It’s all a blur, the excitement took over. I knew we were only given so much time, and I was going to make sure I talked to all of them, but yes, I went to Joe first… told him it’s been a long time coming, wanting to meet him, and he hugged me. Twice. Then I got a hug from Jordan Knight. Yes, I was dying. Before I knew it, they were telling us it was picture time, and the next group was coming up. I got to stand between Joe and Jordan for the photo, and my bucket list item number one was done. I told Joe that, and he said he was glad, but now I need to get a new bucket list! Fine by me! I made sure to talk to all of them, got a hug from Donnie before leaving too. They were all SO nice. After that hug from Donnie, I turned around and lost it. I held it together long enough to not embarrass myself, then the tears started flowing. We went up to Tanya to thank her, and I could barely speak. She made my dream come true, and all I could do was hug her, I was so grateful.
Once I composed myself, we walked outside and were trying to decide what to do, being that there was still an hour before the doors officially opened. We met up with the girls we saw in line (Kym and Fawn), chatted for a few, and they invited us to go hang out with them and a few more friends for a bit before the concert. We were all on a NKOTB high, there was a storm coming in but we really didn’t care. We waited the storm out, had a few cocktails and headed back across the street to the Amway Center. NKOTB had two opening acts, Nelly and TLC, so we wanted to be back in time to catch the beginning of the show. The Amway Center had plenty of places to buy souvenirs and food before and during the performances, so I bought a NKOTB shirt and we went to find our seats. Tanya had us seated on their Club Level, which was very nice, we were grateful to be there!
Nelly was the first performer of the evening. He had the crowd going, and we pretty much knew every song he did. Next was TLC, who brought back a lot of memories. They were first popular when I was in high school too, and the girls still did a great job. The two remaining members, T-Boz and Chili, did a beautiful tribute to Lisa Lopez, the third member of TLC who tragically passed away years ago, it was amazing to see. Once the two opening acts were finished, it was time for The Main Event! Talk about exciting! Being that this tour is indeed called “The Main Event” that was incorporated in the opening of the show. Each NKOTB member was announced as if they were a boxer, heading to the ring. The crowd went crazy with anticipation, and I think it’s safe to say that most of us seasoned fans felt like a kid again, just like the old days going to an NKOTB concert. The show began, and the Boston boys really didn’t disappoint. They never do though. They played the classic songs, as well as some newer ones, but it was two hours of fun and nostalgia. You can tell how much NKOTB love their fans, they give it all they’ve got for nearly two hours, and it’s nothing short of fantastic. The stage had lifts and moved up and down, there were blasts of fire and confetti, and at times the guys went into the audience to interact with the crowd.
The last song of the evening was their hit “Hangin’ Tough.” The entire crowd was waving their arms back and forth, as if it were 1989 and no time had passed. You know there is something special about a group that can transport their fans back to another time and place, and it’s just as popular as it was the first time around. That’s what they do for me. That’s what they’ve always done, and this super NKOTB fan girl really appreciates them for all of it, and all the memories they’ve left me with over the years. When the meet up was over, the person I called was my Dad. He was the first person who shared my NKOTB memories with me, so it was only fitting that I share the excitement with him, and yes, he was laughing and excited too. What a great night.
A special thank you again to Tanya and the wonderful people over at the Amway Center in Orlando. The Amway Center is a great place to see an event! The employees are friendly and helpful, the parking arrangements are easy and convenient, the food is good, etc, it’s just a great venue in general, and we look forward to visiting there again soon!
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