Friday, July 18, 2008
My childhood dream
I have a confession.
Most of you know this about me, but if you didn't, here goes:
I love the New Kids On The Block. I loved them when I was a kid (some might use the word "obsession") and then grew out of it and stopped listening to their music for about 10 years until one day, in a fit of nostalgia, I bought their "Greatest Hits" CD. I listened to it only in secret when no one else could hear me, but I enjoyed it. I didn't admit this to many people, and I may or may not have occasionally used Google to see what my childhood crushes were up to.
Fast forward to earlier this year when the news came out that the group is reuniting. At first, I thought "Ok ... interesting" and then I found out they were touring. My friend Katie, (who now goes by Kat, but who was Katie when we met) called and said "Dude, we HAVE to go to a New Kids concert." Katie and I know each other because of this group. In 1991, I went to summer camp and met a very cool girl -- Katie -- who had been to a New Kids concert in Reno. My best friend Sara had actually been to the same show, so I knew some details about it. Katie and I bonded over our love for the group — she wanted to marry Jordan Knight and I was madly in love with his brother, Jonathan -- and 17 years, some high school rebellion coupled with grunge/punk/rap phases and several interesting relationship/career/geographic moves later, we're still very close friends. How could I not take her up on this suggestion?
The truth is that the one thing I was still sad about regarding my childhood is that I never saw a New Kids concert. I loved them so much and expended so much energy professing my love (and a lot of stamps mailing every member letters on his birthday), that it didn't seem right that I never saw a show. So when I found out they were coming to the Northwest, I knew we had to go. It's partly nostalgia, it's partly that it's something my friend and I will always have in common, and it's partly how damn catchy the group's new single is, but I was thrilled. I bought pretty good tickets (I did not know about the possibility of spending hundreds of dollars to sit close to the stage and have backstage passes, which is probably a good thing) and treated Katie to a ticket for her birthday. We're taking her best friend. On November 23, we will be in Portland, cheering on our childhood idols. I got myself a T-shirt on eBay and there are plans to make large, brightly-colored signs. Neon paint and glow sticks may or may not be involved in this plan.
I've been trying to hide it, but I don't care. After buying the show tickets, I managed to acquire the rest of their albums on iTunes and through another friend, and I will be honest -- I'm loving hearing the music again. There are some songs I don't like now, and others that I'd forgotten about that are really quite good. I love all the ballads and the cheesy late '80s/early '90s beats are perfect for the pace of my workouts.
I've been attempting to deny this, or to pretend to be embarrassed about my re-love for this group, but I'm going to be honest. I still love them and I don't care who knows it. I won't be plastering my walls with posters again, and my propensity to argue to the point of being punished with anyone who dares criticize the group is long-gone, but I am still loving the music and am thrilled about this concert. I'm every bit as excited as I would have been at 10 years old, but in a calm, collected, grown-up sort of way.
And because I can't resist, this photo reminds me of why I liked Jonathan Knight so much. What a killer smile ...