Ever have those moments or experiences that you just want to stay fresh in your mind forever? I had one this summer, and it’s not what you may think…or it might actually be what you might think, considering the title of this blog and of this particular post. But I digress.
Anyway. Buckle up, kids, this will be a long one. 🙂
I’ve been a Backstreet Boys fan since I was 14. I had just discovered MTV the year earlier (at that time my parents were pretty strict and I grew up in a very religious home/family, not that that’s bad, but they kept a somewhat tight leash on me), and I very distinctly remember flipping through the channels and seeing the video for “Quit Playin’ Games (with My Heart).” My teenage hormonal self saw cute boys singing a love song in the rain and was hooked. Fast forward however long to a weekend church trip to Atlanta, Georgia where I bought the “Quit Playin’ Games” cd single at FYE music store in Lennox Square Mall…you could say it was all over at that point. That’s how you know it was life-changing…I distinctly remember when and where I bought the thing. Sometimes I don’t remember what I did 10 minutes ago, but this? I remember. Through all of this and my super fandom, I still had never managed to meet all five members of the group.
So again, it was all over. I was obsessed. Posters covering the walls, searching this new thing (to me at least) called the Internet to find any and all information, you name it, I did it. Saw the “Into the Millennium” tour in November of 1999 and thought my life was complete, went to more concerts over the years, etc. Cried when AJ went to rehab…cried when Kevin announced he was leaving in 2006…cried when I saw video of him joining the other 4 on the NKOTBSB tour in LA to sing “I Want it that Way”…cried when they announced he was coming back…wished and wished that their tours would come close to me or that I could actually manage the time and money to go…the whole 9 yards.
Fast forward to this year. I had never really had a favorite Backstreet Boy (I kind of floated between Nick and AJ). Some friends and I had gotten tickets to go to Vegas to see BSB during their residency. I start to notice Kevin in interviews/on social media and all, with his long hair and glasses, and just aging like a fine wine…and I do mean a FINE wine. I had never really noticed him back in the day, but now I was all aboard the Kevin train. So pretty. So, so pretty. I was considering doing Vegas VIP, but that $500 price tag was stopping me. Then they announced that they’d be playing a few stadium shows with Florida-Georgia Line and one of them would be in Boston. We had already planned on being in Boston to see NKOTB play Fenway Park the day after, so even though we’re not FGL fans, we took a closer look at that date. We had kind of talked ourselves out of it, but then we saw that BSB meet and greets for that show were only (ha!) $250. That was doable, so my roommate and I took the plunge and got them. She and another friend called me on FaceTime after the purchase and I happened to be at Walt Disney World and slightly freaked out in front of people I don’t know. LOL but I would be meeting my teenage/adulthood heroes…what else am I going to do?
Fast forward again to the night of the show, July 7th. I was unbelievably nervous…like, once we got into the meet and greet room, I shut down and stopped talking completely. I mean…they were RIGHT. THERE. The way we came in the room was behind the picture backdrop, so we couldn’t see them, only hear them. I heard their voices and was DONE. Roommate said I was turning a concerning shade of green. So before it’s our turn, we go up to Nick’s security guy, he tells us how everything works while we’re watching the person in front of us. So they’re right in front of me at that point and suddenly it was my turn. Brian was first…dude has the BLUEST eyes and quite possibly the greatest dimples I’ve ever seen. Said “hi sweetie” and gave me the best hug and we exchange pleasantries. AJ was next. Opened his arms wide and said “hey sweetie” as well, pleasantries exchanged, and so on. Then there’s Nick. Oh, Nick. I had met him on the All-American tour last year and that was the first ever interaction that I had ever had with a Backstreet Boy, and was doubled over wheezing in an alley after that happened, so I was slightly prepared. Also some amazing blue eyes on that one. Called me sweetheart, we take the pictures, I prayed with everything I had that my eyes weren’t closed. Then…
There’s Kevin. He just looks at me, smiles, and opens his arms so wide for the best hug. Let’s go back to that look, though. His eyes will make the strongest woman’s knees buckle. I know, because it pretty much happened to me. It’s like he just stared right through me and into my soul, it was that intense and amazing and…ahem. Anyway. So while we’re in that hug, he’s all lowering his voice and thanking me for coming and saying that he hopes I have fun and to enjoy the show. Called me sweetie. Let’s be honest, his low voice was rivaling Donnie Wahlberg’s “DDub” voice for sexiness at that point in time. Pretty sure I blacked out because I can’t remember my response. Something like a gushing “thank you so much” or another thing along those lines. I die.
Finally, I said hi to Howie, who, bless him was very sweet, but I was in my Kevin haze and don’t have the foggiest idea what I said to him. Then, just like that it was over. I practically ran out of the room to meet up with Roommate, and it was approximately 1.2 seconds before I burst into tears. I cried for at least 20 minutes. BSB is a group that has been there and that I’ve grown up with through all of the important moments in my life, from my teen to adult years. That happiness has stayed with me this entire time, so this being my first time meeting them was SUPER emotional. I want to remember it forever.
I thought my BSB fandom was all downhill after buying the cd single so many years ago, but I had no idea. Their Vegas shows were everything any lifelong fan could have hoped (I cried at those too, don’t you worry), and seeing them still doing so well after almost 25 years together makes me unbelievably happy. Our Uber driver after the NKOTB show the next night heard we were at both shows and asked us which was better, and I couldn’t answer…New Kids were my first love, but I was so young that when they first broke up it didn’t affect me really at all. They came back and they’ve BECOME a huge part of my life. BSB was there all the time. To have something bring you joy for SO LONG is extremely precious to me, and I can’t thank them enough.
So yes, that’s the story of how Kevin Richardson ruined me. At this point in time I’m giving up doing things that I would normally do (John Mayer was playing 20 minutes down the road from me two weeks ago and I didn’t go…that’s a show I’d normally spend whatever I needed to for a ticket) and not going to/doing a lot of things that cost a lot of money so I can save to go back to Vegas and/or go to as many BSB World Tour shows next year for their 25th anniversary, and to do at least one VIP at those shows. We got to see BSB and FGL tape their CMT Crossroads special (yay for free stuff!), and I basically squealed and smacked Roommate every time Kevin breathed/sang/spoke/ran his fingers through his hair. I will probably do the same once it actually airs next week. From seeing BSB 4 times in a span of 12 years to seeing them 4 times in the span of 3 months. Now I can’t imagine not having them. So thanks, Kevin…it’s all your fault. 😀