Sunday, July 28, 2013

New Kids on the Block "The Package" Tour - Funnest! Night! Ever!

Last Sunday night was supposed to be just a fun night, and it most definitely was, but it was also one of strange emotions -- all courtesy of the New Kids on the Block, Boyz II Men and 98°.

I had been looking forward to July 21st for what seemed like FOR-EVER! Four not-so-cheap but oh-so-worth it tickets were purchased months ago for myself, my mom, and two really good friends. The original “Package Tour” schedule did not include Kansas City and totally broke my heart. I was THIS close to purchasing tickets for the St. Louis show when I hear the big announcement on the radio. I literally screamed for several consecutive minutes while driving to work when the radio announced they were coming to KC, and tried unsuccessfully to contact both my mom and my friends to tell them the great news!

We spent more than we normally do for concert tickets, but my mom and I wanted to upgrade our typical New Kids experience. For me, this was my sixth New Kids on the Block concert – three of them were back in the day (Nebraska State Fair with Tiffany in Lincoln, in Omaha with Dino and the Cover Girls, and the Hearnes Center in Columbia, Missouri) and three tours since they reunited in 2008. For my mom, it was her fifth. (We’ve also seen Boyz II Men three times, once way back when, then last year at the Lied Center in Lincoln, and then Sunday night. It was a first for 90°, though.)

When we walked into the Sprint Center got to our seats, we paused for a moment, looked around, re-checked our tickets, and swore we had to be in the wrong seats. Lower section, sixth row, and with perfect view of the main stage which happened to be in the middle of the floor. Probably the best seats any of us have ever had for any concert. We were psyched!
Jeannie, me, my mom Linda, and Michelle
The show was scheduled to start at 7:30, and it was pretty much right on time. Boyz II Men opened the show (which seems weird, I would have put my 98° first personally), dressed in white from head to toe. Their set was short and almost seemed more like a preview to entice people to come to their Vegas shows, but they were awesome. Their voices were as flawless as they have always been, and their interaction with the crowd made the whole set a lot of fun. It was short, with only a handful of songs and most of them slow (of course), but the crowd went crazy – of course so did we – when they closed their set with “Motownphilly.” I would have been perfectly happy with more songs from Boys II Men, but their short set definitely made me happy that we went to the show in Lincoln last year.
Boyz II Men sounding and looking as smooth as ever!
With no intermission in between, Boyz II Men was off and 98° appeared. I have to admit, I’ve liked some 98° songs, but have never been crazy about them. But since we were all there, why not just sit back and enjoy it!?!? It may have lacked the style and finesse of Boyz II Men, but I gave them a bit of a pass because of all three groups, they were the ones who had truly gotten back together for this tour, and I’m sure they were all a little rusty. So we danced, clapped, and sang along with the songs we knew, and I was happy knowing my mom (who was obviously the only true 98° fan between the four of us) was enjoying herself.
98° -- Or as we liked to call it, the Nick Lachey Show
Once 98° was finished there was a short intermission, allowing for a much needed bathroom break. Then the excitement really began to build. I had read a lot of people on Twitter talking about how it was the best show, so I had high expectations!

I’m sure the “critics” have probably panned the New Kids and this concert just like they always have, but don’t say anything negative to the thousand of women screaming along with me Sunday night. I admit, for me, they can do no wrong.

When I think of the News Kids, I have such fond and happy memories. I was an obsessed, card carrying fan club member with posters literally plastered all over my walls. I was a monthly purchaser of Bop and Big Bopper magazines mostly to collect New Kids the articles and posters, and owned as much merchandise as I possibly could – dolls, trading cards, swimming towels, even a telephone, among many other things. I knew every word of every song, and pretty much every move from their concert.

I can actually tell you exactly where I was the first time I heard Joey McIntyre sing “Please Don’t Go Girl.” I frequently spent the night at my grandparents, and usually had the radio on when I was falling asleep. I remember laying there when the song started playing, and loving them ever since.

I’m about to admit something that sounds kind of sad and pathetic now, but growing up, I was always a daydreamer (and I guess I still am) and in my imagination, I often toured with them as their opening act and of course I was usually Joe’s girlfriend. To be completely honest, back then, it was my refuge. When I felt lonely, or sad, or insecure – which unfortunately was often – I put on the music and the videos, and dreamed about what I was going to do and be when I grew up. I was going to be a singer, there was no doubt about it, and I believe all of that pulled me through what I almost believe now was mild depression (if there is such a thing).

But back to Sunday night…when they hit the stage, I actually got tears in my eyes. Even though I had already seen them twice in the last five years, this time felt different. Maybe it’s because I just attended my 20 year high school reunion earlier this month and had already been in state of nostalgia, and maybe it’s because I suddenly started feeling my age. Reflecting back to my childhood, I had such big plans. And while a lot of what I had planned for my life didn't materialize, God obviously had something else planned for me and blessed with a wonderful, supportive husband, my wonderful kids, my friends, my amazing family, my health…I know I’m very lucky and blessed. However, sometimes I feel that little pain somewhere deep in my heart, where I feel like I would have done things differently had I known then what I know now. I often feel like there is more out there for me, for my family, and I now want to make it my goal to figure out what that is. I guess it’s kind of strange that a pop concert would have me thinking so deep, but these were honestly the kinds of things that we running through my mind throughout the show.

But back to the show, here are a few cell phone shots:

Slowing it down a little.

Yes, it's blurry, but they are Boston Strong!
 For those two hours, standing there screaming, fist pumping, clapping and dancing, I was just happy. Plain and simple, happy. I didn’t want it to end, and the actual thought of the end of the show is when those feelings would creep in.

Even after it was over, I still felt full of adrenaline and ready for the next New Kids tour. I told myself that next time, no matter what it cost, I was getting meet and greets and once and for all meeting Joey, Donnie, Jordan, Jonathan and Danny.

That night was definitely one of the best nights of my life and one of the best concerts I've ever been to, but man, even thinking about it now kind of makes me sad. So until the next tour...

The set list:

"We Own Tonight"
"Block Party"
"You Got It (The Right Stuff)"
"The Whisper"
"Survive You"
"Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)"/"Valentine Girl"/"If You Go Away"/"Please Don't Go Girl"
"Remix (I Like The)"
"Baby, I Believe In You"/"I’ll Be There”/"Tender Love"/"Click Click Click"
"Faith" (George Michael)/"Kiss" (Prince)/"Hot In Herre" (Nelly)
"Dirty Dancing"
"Step By Step"
"Cover Girl"
"I'll Be Loving You (Forever)"
"Hangin' Tough"

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Facebook Hiatus -- One Week Down!

This is not going to be a fancy post by any means, but I feel the need to report. It's now been one week and two days since I went on Facebook hiatus and I am still breathing! Actually, it's been a LOT easier than I thought it would be. There have been some moments where I wonder if I'm missing anything exciting, although I'm pretty sure I'm not.  It was hard Sunday night, while my friends were checking in and posting pictures of the New Kids on the Block concert. I missed not being able to share in that, to see what people were posting, to see if anyone else I knew was at the concert...but at the same time, it was kind of nice being able to just enjoy the show. Of course, I did take pictures and sent a couple "This is so cool!" texts to friends, but I felt like maybe I experienced more than I would have if I had been accessing Facebook (and I know I would have been accessing Facebook).

I've heard a couple of times, people saying that sometimes we spend so much time documenting a moment on social media, that we don't really experience it or live the moment. Stepping back from some social media a little bit, I'm kind of finding that to be true. Now, if I could cut back a little bit on Twitter, that would be something...

Monday, July 1, 2013

Facebook: The Good and Bad According to Me!

Yes, today I am breaking the one rule I made when I decided to blog, the one that says "Always include photographs," because frankly, I don't have any pictures fitting for my random posting tonight. Tonight I just feel like talking.

Facebook. A true battle of good and evil. I really love getting online, seeing what's going on in the lives of my family and friends, sharing what's going on in mine, being inspired by the photographers and writers who's pages I follow, and seeing the latest headlines from local news and of course, my favorite news outlet -- TMZ. But I have a confession to make.

There are some people currently on my friends list who's status updates I hide. (Eek!)

And it's not because I don't like these people, it's just that I get tired of people who are constantly complaining, and constantly whining, and who never have anything positive to say. And I can only stand so much talk about politics and political issues, regardless of what "side" they are on. I like to think of myself as a generally positive person, and so much negative talk brings me down. So I hide their statuses. But it's usually not forever. I will generally visit those pages every couple of weeks, to see what's going on and see what's new. And I've been known to "unhide" people when I've noticed that their attitude has changed and their posts are more...happy. 

However,with that said, I will say that I have never hid anyone for view for posting too much. I have a few friends who post several times every day, most of them being relatively entertaining or thought provoking. I'm okay with that. It doesn't usually bother me. But I know that there are plenty of people that it does bother. I know there are plenty of people who hide people from their Facebook because they feel like they post too much. And I have a suspicion I might be one of those people that some of my friends "hide" from their Facebook feeds. And honestly, the thought of it makes me sad.

I know I should have thicker skin and not take it so personally either, especially when I have no proof that such activity is taking place. However, as someone who still has an overwhelming, and probably unhealthy desire to have people like me, I can't help but feel hurt by the thought.

That's why I've made a decision!

Sometimes, drastic times call for drastic measure. So sometime in the next couple of weeks, I am going to suspend my Facebook account and go "offline" (as far as Facebook is concerned) for a bit. The reason I don't have a set date yet is because my 20 year high school reunion is this weekend, and I don't want to miss pictures that get posted, etc., but this is definitely something I am going to do.

Not only do I hope it will do something for my bruised ego, but I also believe it will free up a lot of time that I currently spend checking status updates and "liking" pictures. I wish I could just back away from it. Set a one or two check a day limit. Remove the app from my phone.  But I know me. I'm a Facebook addict and if it's there, I will check it. I have no will power and no control. I just need to go cold turkey. So that is my plan.

Maybe I'll read more, or maybe I'll write more! I have two photography courses that I bought off of -- Tamara Lackey's "Children's Portrait Photograph" and John Greengo's "Fundamentals of Digital Photography." There is five days worth of learning in the John Greengo workshop and truly has so much information in it that I could treat it as my own photography school. The best part is it cost me a LOT less than I'd pay for a "real" class, and probably teaches me a LOT more, all in the privacy of my own home. However, I think in order to truly do it and get the most out of it, I have to schedule it much like I'd schedule for a real college course.

What does all of this have to do with Facebook? Really nothing, except now I'm kind of excited about all of the time that I might GAIN by giving up Facebook for awhile. But can I do it? For someone who literally will check for status updates every few minutes when available, it's going to be difficult.  But I'm also looking forward to maybe having some real interactions! Phone calls instead of messaging, actual birthday cards in the mail instead of Wall posts (although I'm going to be lost without my daily birthday reminders).

So to any of my Facebook friends who may be reading this and actually do care about the things I normally say on FB, fear not. I'm also hoping it will give me more time and more reasons to keep this blog more up-to-date! And never fear, unless I discover the true secret to happiness, I WILL be back to Facebook, once I catch my breath! I also plan to keep using my Twitter ( and Instagram (NKrone), if you still want to keep track of my day-to-day.

If nothing else, I'm hoping my time away from Facebook will give me a little perspective, a lot more free time, and a little more peace so that I can take in what's left of summer, cross more items off my summer bucket list, and spend a little more time loving the little things.