I’ll Be Loving Them FOREVER

It was early January when I learned that I would once again attend a New Kids on the Block concert as an adult. You can read about that by clicking HERE. Of course, an added bonus was the fact that Boyz II Men would be performing as well! (The verdict was still out on 98 Degrees.)

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I was fully prepared that more than likely there would be a nearby gaggle of ladies a generation younger than my 30-something row, who were only there for 98 Degrees. This is based on my experience from the last concert in which New Kids teamed up with the Backstreet Boys.

Ah yes, I remember the night well. Donnie had just ripped off his tank during “Cover Girl.” I thought, “Someone has been using his brother’s old Calvin Klein modeling days workout routine!”

The 20-year-old row in front of me didn’t even flinch. I was standing on my stadium chair screaming my lungs out, trying hard to refrain from knocking their cell phones out of their social media updating hands and DEMAND that they RESPECT THEIR ELDERS while lovingingly yet firmly shaking them to “TWEET THIS YOU FOOLS!”

I’m much older and wiser now. Perhaps I could educate the young ones on the symbolism of “Tonight” and the intricate workings of Donnie’s torso? I did major in abology. And isn’t that the point of these bi-generational concerts? To bring us all together in the spirit of falsetto harmony and pelvic thrusts?

To my utter surprise, section 115 was void of anyone under the age of 30. I settled in, knowing I was in a safe zone and quickly became intoxicated by the anticipation of being transported back to 1988.

And then the lights went out.

And the audience went crazy.

Boyz II Men were decked out in all white and kicked off their portion of the tour with an old classic – “On Bended Knee.” The stadium was on their feet, belting out every word of every song. I was right there with them, singing as loudly as I could. They were smooth, confident and sounded amazing. I heart Shawn Stockman. He took us to church numerous times. And it was glorious.

Of course, one can never prepare for the sheer awesomeness of “Motownphilly.” Whatever you’re thinking in your head right now, multiply it by 10 because you can’t even imagine the electricity that filled the space. Hello again 1991. I’ve missed you.

The Boyz take a much deserved bow to a standing room only crowd, the lights fall and a arena full of women full of boy band endorphins settles in their chairs so they can catch their breath while rubbing it in everyone’s face via text, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter that they just experienced the greatest concert moment of 2013 (read: Mumford & Sons was postponed in Houston).

In a matter of minutes, the lights begin to adjust and sway as the music swells to reveal four lone microphone stands on the stage. After my Boyz II Men high, I was quite confident that 98 Degrees would be hard pressed to convince me to stand up. I laughed thinking about the phantom 20-something fan girl who is probably two sections up from me thinking, “WHY ARE YOU SITTING DOWN? LOOK AT NICK LACHEY’S BICEPS! TWEET THIS OLD LADY!”

Maybe it’s because I don’t own any 98 Degrees music (excluding their Christmas album which is sooooooo good) but I just wasn’t feeling any of the songs, their choreography or general showmanship. Nick looked like he was trying too hard. Drew was quirky and totally phoning in the dance moves. Jeff’s wardrobe slowly began to disappear as the night went on (which is not necessarily a bad thing) but when he got down to the tank top, I was distracted by the unfortunate product placement of his 98 Degrees tattoo.

But there was one redeemable moment. And that came in the form of two of the four lucky girls who were invited on the stage to be serenaded each by a Degree-er. One darling girl mouthed every word as Nick swayed in front of her. It was the first time that I felt he showed a genuine emotion the entire night. He got a kick that she was singing back to him and it was adorable! Another girl was cute as a button in a black dress with a green statement necklace. She was so overwhelmed by the fact that she had been pulled on stage that she kept yanking Jeff over to her so she could take a self portrait pic with her phone! And then she started videoing with these wide eyes and floored expression. Don’t ask me the song. It was a slow ballad that had something to do with love and desire. I’m sure that narrows the field down to about 45.

Once 98 Degrees finished, the lights actually came up and a deejay began mixing songs from the late 80s and early 90s. I sang “Wanna Dance With Somebody” to my friend Leslie and went to the extreme with Emmarie during “Ice Ice Baby.” I had a weird sensation to fetch my travel hairspray out of my red Liz Claiborne purse to check bang height before fixing my tuck rolled Z Cavaricci during “Livin’ on a Prayer.” And it was glorious.

And then the lights went out.

And the audience went crazy.

There they were. All five of them. No longer kids, but men. Singing a song I didn’t know, yet I didn’t care, but with that said I grew to love and I have since purchased on iTunes. Joey was on fire. Jordan was hotter than crap. Jonathan looked like he was about to hurl. Danny was just being Danny and Donnie had on a pesky shirt.

“The Right Stuff” blew the roof off the building. I got tickled while singing and perfectly executing the now infamous dance moves because it was at that exact same moment that I realized the confusion that had resulted from an earlier text/Facebook status update.

I had simply written, “Oh, oh, oh, OH, oh” just to see how many of you would immediately spout back in a jealous rage that you wish you too could see New Kids. Instead, I got a lot of back and forth confusion on which song I was in fact channeling.

Oh, oh, oh, OH, oh
Just hangin’ tough

Can easily be confused with:

Oh, oh, oh, OH, oh
The right stuff.

Isn’t it ironic how rich that person is who came up with BOTH of those stellar lyrics?

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BACK TO THE CONCERT!

The kids who are now delightfully good looking men packed a lot of their new stuff into the setlist. They are pretty smart guys because if you weren’t necessarily digging the song, you could always just stare in awesome wonder at Jordan’s abs, displayed for an entire ballad that was foreign to me but clearly it didn’t matter because he was on a tall pedestal and the camera man was right…there. Someone’s been working out. And apparently has made a deal with the devil because NO ONE LOOKS THAT GOOD AT THAT AGE. My friend Jill was slack jawed, absent mindedly clapping. I think I was holding hands with Emily to my left as Lara to my right began shouting, “TAKE YOUR SHIRT OFF” during every song after that moment.

Enter Donnie.

He repeated the entire rip off his tank shirtless “Cover Girl” experience and it was glorious. Let the record show that Donnie was sporting the infamous Bachelor Villain tank that we’ve all come to love and loathe.  I’ve decided to overlook that small detail and instead focus on how those Wahlbergs certainly do have an impressive gene pool.

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And if the traditional New Kids line-up wasn’t enough, Joey busted out George Michael’s (not the Bluth) “Faith” followed by Jordan perfect rendition of Prince’s “Kiss.”

And then we sang “Deep in the Heart of Texas.”

Come. On.

For those of you who don’t know, we Texans are very proud of our heritage and have entire catalogs of songs dedicated to our grand state. We’re big, we wear boots, we don’t like to be messed with and we’ll tell you in a heartbeat that we can fly our flag the same height as the American one because we were once an independent nation.

The New Kids totally get us.

My loyalties waned back and forth between Joey’s charming personality and moving rendition of “Please Don’t Go Girl” (which is now a few octaves below the original recording), to Jordan’s mandate to be loving me forever (hopefully with those abs) and Donnie’s bad boy persona.

The house officially came down when they ended the night with “Hangin’ Tough” and it was at that moment that I decided to embrace all five kids.

It was a magical night. That may sound over-the-top, but it’s true. For an entire two hours, I was able to go back and celebrate a time before deadlines, schedules, heartache and all the other responsibilities of adulthood. This is the soundtrack to my life. The lyrics are full of memories. The melodies are each a piece of my musical history. It may be a corny history, but it’s mine. And these are the moments that give me perspective and keep me young.

As Joey mentioned, “You’ve been with us for 25 years.”

I’m sure we’ll be together for 25 more.

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