NKOTB– FINALLY!!!! At 36, the Dream.

Just got home from my VERY FIRST NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK concert, in Chicago.

I AM WIRED!!! Two friends from work, Cindy and Bonnie, invited me. We bought these tickets the day they went on sale– MONTHS ago. Floor seats!!

It should really be named the Magical Abs Tour, because all FIVE ARE RIPPED! My beautiful Catholic boys from Boston.

Somehow in their mid-40’s they are sexier than they were 30 years ago. And the timing finally worked out so that I could go and see them– I’ve been wanting to since 1988 when my then- best friend introduced me to New Kids Mania.

I literally heard every single song I wanted to hear tonight. I am flabbergasted, they covered material from every single album, including their first one in 1986 and their CHRISTMAS album. I’d say there were maybe five songs out of likely 30ish that I didn’t know. And bless them, for every single note it seemed there was a coordinating dance step– that’s a lot to remember!

Back in the day I was ALL ABOUT Jordan and Joey.

But now? HELLO DONNIE WAHLBERG!!! His gregarious personality is so obvious in the way the moves and dances– always with his arms open, waving to the fans– smiling and joking. Jordan is more of an introvert– he puts himself out there, but he’s more focused on his performance and his dancing, which is still INSANE. Joey has grown into a confident man who knows every woman there wants him and is highly enjoying it. Danny’s athleticism and goofiness; his ABS TATTOO that proclaims, “Elizabeth,” that lucky woman! Jonathan’s smile sneaks up on you; I always liked the that he was the responsible older brother figure of the group.

Boys II Men opened and although it was wonderful to see Nathan and Wanya Morris and Sean Stockman were indeed impressive– they just weren’t on the level of NKOTB. They are missing Michael McCary, the bass who retired from the group because of a MS diagnosis. And they sounded good, but the three of them combined are no Jordan Knight!! They kept their shirts on. They haven’t aged as flawlessly. They’re not as confident. The bottom line is just lack the same strong nostalgic emotional attachment to these three that I’ve had since day one for the New Kids. Although I (still have!) one Boys II Men album which I play regularly, I had five NKOTB albums at one point. From their debut self-titled album, the that tragic “Face the Music,” and even the Christmas album– one of my favorites. Although I didn’t get the one in 2008. Now I will! “Single,” “Remix (I LIke The)” and “Summertime” stand up well 9 years later! Tonight I bought the latest album, “Grateful,” with only five songs on it.

The two best moments: JOEY MCINTYRE passing by me on the right, walking the perimeter on what might have been the shoulders of body guards. Somehow he was above the fans but also right in the thick of us!! I rushed over and strained to reach him– I ALMOST TOUCHED HIM. His leg or his shoulder. I wish I had just given it a good LUNGE, I probably could have made it!! And then shortly later, 10-15 minutes, ALL FIVE NEW KIDS migrated to a proscenium stage directly to our LEFT– we all RUSHED over and I could see their expressions, their sweat, their exact dance moves. And I have so many pictures and videos to prove it!

It was exhilarating and simultaneously reassuring. I’ve always felt uncool for loving NKOTB so much– but being there felt like family. Others spent the ’90s wallowing in grunge, and I embraced the saccharine melodies of pop instead. I still liked rock. But there’s something so refreshing about seeing these guys. Instead of grizzled rockers who look 20 years older and are writing books about their addictions, the New Kids are just regular guys. They have families. They have an obvious affection for not just each other, but the fans. They wanted to give us a show of our dreams, and they did!

I’ve never felt anything like it at another concert. I hope this is just the first of other NKOTB adventures!

Highlights: Cover Girl, My Favorite Girl, Valentine Girl, Tonight, You Got It (The Right Stuff), Step by Step, I’ll Be Loving You, Stop It Girl, This One’s for the Children, Happy Birthday, Popsicle, Call It What You Want, Please Don’t Go Girl, Games, Hangin’ Tough, and of course, STEP BY STEP!!

What I loved most about tonight was the JOY these five men exuded. They were humble. They were excited. They were dedicated. They were GORGEOUS! There was no shred of a feeling of routine or obligation– they were in on the joke with us. And even though unlike several of my friends, I didn’t get to see them as a child, I felt like it didn’t matter. I’ve never experienced such a feeling of unity as a fan at a concert.

Even better, I went with two sisters– Cindy and Bonnie– who are also lifelong fans and were singing and screaming every single word, fan-girling out just as hard and obsessively snapping photos and trying to get video of all the best moments. We kept looking at each other in utter ecstasy, jumping up and down and squeeing away during each song. Even though I only met them two years ago at my current job, through our mutual obsession, we were all three sisters tonight in Allstate Arena.

I jumped, sang and screamed myself hoarse. Two hours later, sober, I’m still aghast at realizing a 30-year-dream.

I work at 7:30– it’s it’s almost 2 a.m.! Time for sleep.

Thank you, Lord, for New Kids on the Block. And thank you for making me a fan.

Merry Christmas– from One Introvert to Another!

So, I can’t sleep!!

Today is Christmas. Will it snow? That would be so amazing.

I suppose I’m a pretty odd mix of extroverted and introverted.

Why else do you think I’m a writer?!

Even at family events, I will go off into a room by myself periodically.

I don’t flirt wantonly, and am annoyed bye those who do. When I do like someone, it is blatantly obvious.

I never give false compliments. I’m generous with them because I like to make someone smile and most people are having a crap day, I’ve learned. Life is hard– be kind if possible.

I will not hesitate to put someone in their place, however, when necessary.

If someone has pissed me off enough to illicit visible anger, they deserve it. They are button-pushers.

I would rather stay home and read or watch movies alone, or go to dinner alone most times. I like my company!

I love the outdoors. It’s innately calming to me.

I also give my full attention when I *do* make plans. I expect the same.

But when I do make plans, I intend to keep them. I hate when people cancel last-minute, or over-schedule themselves and forget. And if they do it enough times I will just stop asking. I like reliable people.

If I think I’m going to be even a nanosecond late, I will notify the person and apologize. I do my very best to be punctual.

I’m not touchy-feely– this is the most obvious way I’m reserved. Affection must be earned from me.

I don’t hide it if I’m uninterested in someone who flirts with me– I make it very clear. Some consider that rude, but I consider that respectful. I’m direct and don’t waste either of our time. They are free to move on to someone who will reciprocate. And some people don’t respond to hints– be blunt and don’t back down.

I trust very few, but am candid once I know people.

If I’m angry or hurt, I will sooner leave the room than let someone see my cry or lose my temper. I don’t want to give them the satisfaction.

I may seem stoic, but I feel things deeply.

I am great in a crisis.

I prefer to see people one-on-one, or in groups of two and three.

I like when other people talk a lot– I find them fascinating. I like people who surprise and challenge me, who I can’t figure out.

I’m a good question-asker.

I consider revenge a waste of time.

I adore nerds. It’s fun to hear them rattle on about their obsessions.

I am open-minded but do not compromise my core values for anyone.

I’ve become a bit of a loner, though I was uber-social in my younger days.

I heart blogging.

The Beauty of Solitude: Celebrating My Nerdiness

It’s Friday night a little past 10 p.m., and I’m at home.

I love it!

It’s funny, how much I’ve changed in the last decade.

A ton!

I used to be so hyper-social that I went out constantly. I loved it. I also loved calling people up and talking their ears off.

I always laugh when I remember one phone conversation with a former college friend.

She had told me, “Amee, I need to get off the phone soon.”

About 20 minutes ago. I was still going! No sign of stopping. I could really be a motor-mouth.

She realized I couldn’t be stopped, and just yelled, “I’m hanging up on you!”

I couldn’t stop laughing, because she knew me so well and I couldn’t even be offended by it.

Hey, sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do. I tell that story all the time, because it’s hilarious.

When you’re besties, you have the freedom to do stuff like that without worrying.

The funny thing is, it seems I’ve grown out of this. Now I don’t talk nearly as much.

I more often choose to stay in, especially on weekend nights.

I make plans, not very often. I’ve largely avoided crowded gatherings and parties this year.

I sometimes make exceptions, and often when I do it’s spur-of-the-moment.

Sometimes I feel rested enough, and other times I don’t. Rest is vital to me.

When I was younger, I’d go to parties just because I RSVP’d, whether I felt up to it or not.

Now I’ve realized that you’ve gotta make your own health you’re first priority. And if you have to cancel, people may be disappointed, but they usually understand. I’ve become more of an introvert. I like to read, write, and spend time alone. I can be quite social and also talk to a bunch of people, but not for long periods of time. I get exhausted from all that talking! Then I need some alone time to recharge.

I enjoy my friends, but I don’t need to see them as often. We can sustain our friendships quite well by phone and facebook. A lot of my other friends are nerds like me, so they get it. I love communicating by written word and e-mail, too.

So when I do make plans with people, they know they’re dang special! Because I do it on a choosy basis these days.

And that’s all good with me.