I had VIP for 4 of those concerts which I’m still amazed I was able to pull off. Most of what funded my adventures was through the help of selling some items I had lying around in my room plus my tax refund. Thank you eBay, Bonanzle, and Twitter for helping me find a home for the stuff I didn’t need!
6/27/10 - Warfield @ San Francisco, CA
Attending the San Francisco Pride celebration kicked off my week long Backstreet adventure. I had no idea what to expect and see. It was pure madness once I got into the city of San Francisco that afternoon. There were drunk and naked people everywhere. I saw more nakedness than I wanted to see in my life. My friend Dana and I met up with two fans, Jesi from Tennessee and Bettina from Austria.
We walk down to the Civic Center and there are just thousands of sweaty people everywhere. If you read Nick’s tweet from that day he said, “Just performed in front of 200 thousand people. Wow that’s fun.” Honestly, the crowd looked more than that number.
Jesi and Bettina decided to hang back while Dana and I tried to get closer to the stage. The closest we got was on the side of stage right. I couldn’t see much except for when Backstreet would jump up from dancing. It was nice seeing the gay people get into the music. Not many hardcore Backstreet fans were there so I thought it was good exposure for Backstreet Boys.
They sang “Straight Through My Heart” and “I Want It That Way.” During “I Want It That Way” Nick held up a big sign that said “Follow us on Twitter @backstreetboys.” After the second song, the crowd started to chant “One more song.” That’s when they did an acapella version of “Quit Playin’ Games.”
After the Pride performance, I had to say bye to Dana because she had work the next day and couldn’t come to the concert that night at the Warfield. Even though one friend said bye another friend said hi. I met up with my other friend, Samantha (Sam for short), who was going to the concert that night.
At first Sam and I get lost on the way back to the hotel. (Sam, Jesi, Bettina, and I shared a hotel together.) Sam and I had no idea where we were going. Thankfully my memory started to kick in and we make it back. After we all get ready for the concert, Jesi, Sam, and I walk a gazillion blocks to the Warfield on Market St. When we get there the line is already wrapped around the block and it was about 20 minutes before the doors opened. Since I had a general admission ticket I thought there was no way I’d have a close view of the stage.
As we stand in line, in a hotel nearby, two drunk lesbians were shouting out the lyrics to “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” through a window. That kept us all entertained for a bit. Around 8pm the line starts moving. When we get inside, Sam had to go to the balcony area because that’s where her seat was located. Jesi and I had general admission tickets so we make our way to the floor. To my surprise the floor wasn’t full. We find a spot on stage right near the speakers in the front.
There were these really annoying Filipino people behind me endlessly talking in Tagalog. They would also scream in my ear and lean on my back. I could understand everything they were saying and I was thinking, "Oh my gah, shut the hell up." I was dreading having them behind me the whole concert. Plus they kept pushing and jumping up and down. I thought, "Oh hell no, I have to deal with this crap for the whole show?" Thank the Lord above that once Backstreet hit the stage they somehow drifted away from me!
Despite the speakers obstructing some of my view, I didn’t mind because Backstreet was really good about giving lots of attention to each side of the stage. Before Backstreet came on stage an opening act named Christian TV performed. I swear almost all the girls around me were hot for his DJ named Dylan. Christian TV was interesting. He is sort of the male version of Ke$ha. He has a song titled“When she turns 18.” lol! (Apparently on Twitter Britney Spears said she loves that song.)
My feet are killing me at this point. I had to lean against the stage to help get rid of some of the throbbing. The lights then turn down low and it’s time for Backstreet. While I love their vintage music, I was more into seeing how they would perform the songs from the “This is Us” album.
During “She’s a Dream,” Nick took off the hoodie he was wearing leaving him with only a wifebeater and jeans. Of course my first thought is, Damn. My second thought is, Delicious. My third thought is, xxx ;)
There was one song where Nick came to the side where I was standing by. This one girl was literally molesting his legs. She even put her hand right in front of his crotch and she was about an inch away from grabbing his dick. I honestly think if Nick took one step forward her hand would have latched on it. Maybe I’m a nice person but I would not feel comfortable invading Nick’s private area like that without his permission (I know I write about fucking him and grabbing him in that area but I have self-control lol).
I’m not a big fan of the song “All of Your Life (You Need Love)” but when I heard it live it started to grow on me. It’s such a cheesy song but it sounds better live than on the album. Once the concert is over I can’t wait to see it again! (Although I heard this one girl tell her mom, “Mom this was so not worth it.” :-\)
Sam and I are hungry after the concert but it was so hard to find food open late in San Francisco. I thought it would be easy since it’s in the city and it’s a tourist spot. We thought about having food delivered to our hotel room but an itty bitty pizza cost around $20 :O
Sam and Jesi also called up a couple of food places but they all said they closed at 11pm. Sam and I decided to go out to a convenience store a block away. Most of the food looked questionable but Sam and I bought some chips and drinks. I decided to try my luck and buy some lotto tickets (which I didn’t win *pout*).
6/28/10 - Warfield @ San Francisco, CA
Around 2am I finally get into bed and fall asleep. I was so afraid of waking up super late for the 2nd concert on Monday night but I ended up waking up at around 10am. I slept hard and well. After we all get ready, we head back towards the Warfield. Since Sam wasn’t going to the concert that night, we all walk with her to find the bus station that would take her to the Amtrak Train station. Once Sam is gone, Bettina and I walk toward the Warfield since Jesi made a quick stop to eat at McDonalds.
There was another fan I met up with named Erica so we all go to the Westfield Shopping Center to eat at Panda Express because I was craving Chinese food. On the way to Westfield we see Christian TV walking out of it. I was tempted to yell his name but decided not to. (Although I knew that would’ve made his day if I did that lol).
After we eat, Bettina and Jesi decide to explore the Union Square area while Erica and I decide to head back to the venue. I had Platinum VIP so I was paranoid about being late for check in so I thought it would be safer if I stayed close to the venue. When we get there, Backstreet’s buses start pulling in. Some fans migrated toward the buses when they started to park. I honestly didn’t think there was any chance of seeing Backstreet in the buses and getting out of the buses so I didn’t bother getting close to them. Plus I had Platinum VIP so I didn’t really care because I’d eventually see them later.
I noticed around 3:20pm the line for VIP was getting long. I decided to get in line. I ended up making a new friend named Kristle who stood behind me in line. Her boyfriend bought her Platinum VIP for their 7th year anniversary. I thought that was so sweet of him to do that. I don’t think there are very many men out there who would buy Backstreet Boys Platinum VIP for their lady.
Time seems to drag on so slowly as we all wait to get inside for VIP. There were so many VIPs for Monday’s show. It was probably three times the amount of people that went on Sunday. I was beginning to think, damn it, I should have done VIP on Sunday :-\
Once I checked in with Justin from the fan club, we are all lined up by VIP level. I get into the Platinum line and then ask Kristle to hold my spot so I could go to the bathroom. Once I get back from the bathroom, I get back in line and immediately sit down on the carpet. I wanted to give my feet a rest.
There was a security guy who reminded me of Bernie Mac entertaining us while we waited to get inside. He asked us what are the top 5 Backstreet Boys song and people started shouting out the vintage Backstreet songs like "I’ll Never Break Your Heart" and "I Want It That Way." Then he noticed some guys in the crowd so he goes up to them and asks them what they think the best Backstreet Boys song is. One guy says "Incomplete" and then another guy says "Larger Than Life."
Eddie from the fan club makes an announcement and says they’re running late because one Bsb (he doesn’t say who) has a family emergency so they’ll try to get started as soon as possible. Finally, after waiting a long time, Platinums are let inside. Kristle and I immediately notice there are only 3 stools on stage. I already have a feeling something isn’t right. I kind of hoped that maybe they were starting a new thing where whoever the 4th Bsb was would carry their stool out.
Once all the Vips are let inside, Eddie comes back on stage and says that Nick had a family emergency and couldn’t make the sound check. After that is said it sounds like a fan is dying. Someone then shouts out will he be at the concert and Eddie said that Nick will be at the concert or else if he wasn’t they’d have to cancel it.
I was disappointed Nick wasn’t there. (He is my favorite.) I understand that life happens but I spent a pretty penny on Platinum VIP. (I don’t drop $520 on just anyone!) I thought, damn it, I knew I should have done VIP on Sunday especially since I found out that Nick was the one who gave the Platinum tour for VIPs on Sunday AND he took individual pics with everyone there. I just didn’t feel like I got the complete bang for my buck but there really wasn’t anything I could do except suck it up and enjoy what I could.
There were lots of funny rumors flying around about Nick’s “family emergency.” Fans were thinking maybe something was wrong with Aaron. Then apparently on Twitter fans were thinking that one of Lauren’s boob implants popped and that she needed surgery. Whatever the case was, if it was Lauren who got sick and needed to go to the hospital that I thought it was sweet that Nick was there for her.
The first song they sang was "Siberia." Brian gets 10 points for mocking Nick’s “I’ve waited. I’ve waited” line :D The second song they sang was "Bye Bye Love." Howie had no idea what the words were to Nick’s verses so he started making up words. The 3rd song they sang was "PDA" and I was impressed that Brian knew all the words to Nick’s verses in PDA. He earns another 10 points for that :D
Bye Bye Love from 6/28 Sound Check in San Francisco, Ca
PDA from 6/28 Sound Check in San Francisco, Ca
They decide to answer 2 questions each to make up for Nick not being there. Someone asked Howie if they would do something like a Napa acoustic show again and Howie let it slip that they were in the process of planning an acoustic show in Miami so that should be fun for the people in Florida. I hope it happens!
Then we take pictures. Before I take the group pic I had no idea where to put my purse because no one said who to give my bag to. I set it on the ground and approach Brian but he goes to my bag and picks it up and puts it somewhere. While he does this I hug AJ and then when Brian comes back I hug Brian. I usually don’t pay attention to smelling Bsb but Brian smelled really interesting that day. Then I hugged Howie.
Brian with my purse
Here’s my group pic. Just click on it to see the larger version. Who needs Nick anyways? :p
AJ was the one who gave the Platinum VIP tour. While waiting for AJ to give the tour, Brian starts talking about Howie's "I'm big in JAPAN" shirt. Brian started to sing, "He's bigger in Japan" which you can watch here:
It felt like there were over 50 platinum VIPs. We all could barely fit in the backstage area as we walked around. AJ first showed us the sound board and talked about the mixing of the audio. Then we went backstage and encountered the catering area. Then we were taken to the wardrobe area. It was such a tiny area. There were racks of spandex in the hallway which were clearly for the female dancers but AJ remarked that he wouldn’t have a problem wearing them.
While we were in the wardrobe, he explained that he and his fiancé weren’t going to have a traditional wedding. He was going to wear white while she would wear black. After wardrobe we are all escorted to the stage. It was interesting to see the view from the stage.
We take a group picture and I happen to be right behind AJ.
Platinum VIPs get to go inside the venue first before the huge general admission line. I managed to get a spot near stage left at the very front. The stage is up to my neck so I could rest my chin on the stage if I wanted to. I had these obnoxious fans behind me who wouldn’t shut up. I kept thinking why am I doing general admission again? lol
When Backstreet comes on stage my neck hurts from looking up. They are right in front of me with their crotches. My dirty mind thought, "Wow so this is what it would look like if I was kneeling down in front of a Backstreet Boy."
I think this is my favorite picture I took from the 6/28 concert:
During "All of your Life", Brian holds an umbrella but this time the umbrella wasn’t working so Brian starts to smack it on the ground. I honestly thought it was part of the show lol I had no idea it was broken until Jesi pointed it out to me.
When the concert was over, I decided that I enjoyed the first San Francisco show better even though I had a better spot during the second show. I felt more energy in the first one. With two general admission shows out of the way, I was so ready for the next two concerts in Reno and Fresno with assigned seating and front row!
6/30/10 - Grand Sierra Casino @ Reno, NV
I woke up around 7:45am and somehow ended up running late. I rushed all over the house because I wanted to leave before 8:30am. When I make it into my car, I tried to set my GPS which was such a pain in the rear! After I typed in the address for the Grand Sierra Casino in Reno, instead of telling me to go to Nevada, my GPS would tell me to go home to California! That’s why when I stopped to put gas I was like screw this and disconnected the GPS. I printed out directions anyway and Jesi said she had a GPS so we just used that instead.
I picked up Jesi at the BART train station in Fremont and then we commence our road trip. The drive to Nevada was so beautiful. I wasn’t sure what to expect since it’s been so long since I’ve experienced driving to Reno. I’ve been to Reno plenty of times in the past but this was the first time I actually drove there. I was afraid that the road in the mountains would be crazy like the road in highway 152 but it wasn’t. (Highway 152 in Gilroy/Los Banos still holds the #1 spot of scariest place to drive for me.)
It took about 5 hours since we stopped 2 times for gas and to eat. We arrived at Reno at around 2pm which was earlier than I had anticipated. I expected to arrive around 3pm or 4pm. Jesi and I meet up with two fans named Melissa and Erica who flew in from Tennessee to see Backstreet Boys in Reno, Fresno, and Vegas.
I debated with myself whether or not to do VIP for Reno. There was a 1 in 4 chance that Nick would do the platinum VIP tour. I couldn't bring myself to do any other level below gold. Either I go all the way or not. At first I tell myself not to do it and to save my money but then I think I don’t want to regret not doing it. I then check my cell phone and see I have a voicemail from Sam. She told me she was in the casino so I call her back and tell her that I’m deciding on whether or not if I’ll buy VIP or not. She tells me to hold on and that she’ll look for me. We meet up and I’m still on the fence about VIP. Sam was thinking if she did VIP she’d do bronze. I finally decide to go for it and buy Platinum VIP. (Yikes, I know lol)
I jokingly ask Justin if I could have a discount because I went to the Platinum VIP in San Francisco and Nick wasn't there. He told me he couldn’t do that. Oh well, at least I tried :p I tell him I’m going all the way and getting a Platinum VIP. The whole purchase process was done through his iPhone so I ask him if he has the new iPhone 4 and he said no, he still has the iPhone 3g. He said he’d probably get it in the future because he heard news about how there’s a bug in the new phone so he’s waiting. After I’m finished buying my VIP, Sam buys her bronze VIP next. Justin then talks about how he can't wait to go home. Sam asks where he's from so he says he’s from the Sacramento area. Sam then mentions she’s from that area too. He then talks about where he grew up and where he lives now.
After Sam and I are done making Backstreet rich from our VIP money (:p) we stand around and wait about 5 minutes until I hear someone radio Justin telling him that he can go ahead and let people in. We are supposed to line up by VIP level with Platinums first but since Justin could tell Sam and I are together, he lets Sam sneak into the Platinum line with me even though she had bronze. I honestly thought that was super nice of him to do. Plus the VIP crowd was so much smaller in Reno. It was about 20 people!
Once we’re let in Sam and I are in the front row on Brian and Nick’s side which is stage right. The girl sitting right behind us took a picture of us without us knowing. I thought this was such a cool candid picture of me and Sam watching the sound check.
Brian was walking on stage when he looks at something on the stage and says something but I didn’t hear it. So I ask what? Then he says there’s a hole in the stage and he starts kicking it. I was like Ohhhhh.
They say their usual spiel of welcome to the sound check party and request any song from the new album and the chapter 1 hits. I yell out “IF I KNEW THEN” and they all go “HUH.” I yell out again “IF I KNEW THEN.” Then they’re like okay let’s do “Undone” and I’m thinking what the hell are you all deaf? lol!
They perform Undone and near the end of the song (at around 3:50 in the video I recorded), I think Nick was expecting us fans to be screaming and shouting since the song was almost over but it was silent. That’s when he says “Awkward.” Brian then asks, “What you say?” Nick says it again, “Awkward.”
You can watch Undone from the Reno Sound Check here:
Nick and Brian during the Reno Sound Check
Since they didn’t listen to me the first time I shouted out a song, I didn’t shout out another song request. They ended up singing "Siberia" next. I just love it when Brian changes the lyrics to "Siberia." He likes to change the first line to "When you come back I'll grab your rear." I personally enjoy changing lyrics to Backstreet Boys song and making them x-rated. (You don’t even want to know the dirty lyrics I create for Backstreet songs :p)
Also throughout "Siberia" Nick would whisper random things. My favorite part was when Brian sang, "When I came back she wasn't there..." Then Nick asked in a deep voice, "Where was she?" lol! Then Brian sang, "Just some smelly underwear." Then Nick said, "Fruit of the looms."
Siberia from the Reno, NV Sound Check
After "Siberia" AJ says they have time for one more song and someone shouts out "Just Want You To Know" and I think blah because I really wanted to hear "If I Knew Then" but they killed that idea. AJ asks their DJ if he has "Just Want You To Know" and he doesn’t. That’s when AJ says let’s do "If I Knew Then" and I thought, excuse me I was shouting that earlier but y’all weren’t listening to me hmmmmph!
During Howie’s verse in "If I Knew Then" he does some funny hand/body motions to describe the lyrics he’s singing. Since according to the song love has no instructions, it’s possible it can turn into have a baby. Then he starts rocking an imaginary baby and then it even looks like he’s breast feeding it lol It’s pretty obvious he’s been hanging around his baby James a lot which is totally adorable.
Howie's part in "If I Knew Then" and Nick giving him a round of applause:
After they’re done performing they answer questions. A foreign fan asked Nick the weirdest question about artists touring and I could tell he has this WTF expression on his face. It looked like he was thinking, fuck I got the hard question.
It took him about a minute to finally formulate an answer which I honestly thought he was just babbling since he really didn’t know what to say. He said that people are being wise with their money and that he hasn’t been to the movie theatre in a long time.
Once the questions are over, Justin kicks Sam and the other bronze VIPs out. The silvers, golds, and platinums then take pictures with Backstreet. I cross my fingers for Nick to be the tour guide and it’s Howie. I really wanted Nick but it was okay, I love Howie too. There’s only 7 platinums so it’s a nice change from the gazillion platinums in San Francisco on Monday.
Howie takes us on stage and to the tents where they change their outfits during the concert behind the projection screen. The female dancers have their own tent. Howie and Brian share a tent and Nick and AJ share one. I asked Howie if they had ever accidentally switched clothes. He said no but that one time he put the wrong shoe on the wrong foot. There wasn’t time to change them so he had to go on stage and dance with the wrong shoes on the wrong foot.
Howie makes a remark that they have job openings in every city for people to help them change their clothes during the concert. He said the job doesn’t pay but that the perks are good lol! (I wish it was a real job. I’d love to be Nick’s clothes changer :p muahaha)
Howie then takes around the back and there’s a big model airplane that says Grand Sierra (which is the name of the casino they’re performing at). Howie makes another remark that he used that plane to get there. We pass by Nicole who handles most of their wardrobe. She said she spends most of her time bedazzling everything. Then she talked about the umbrella that broke in San Francisco and how the $5 to buy the previous umbrella really went a long way. She got a new umbrella which made its debut that night.
I found this picture Justin took during the backstage tour when Howie takes us to Nicole’s area. I look so bored at whatever Howie is saying.
Howie then takes us to the catering area where Brian is eating. When Brian sees us, he takes his green napkin and tries to hide. Howie explains the catering and once that is over Justin says to get in a line to get our passes signed. I asked Howie if they would do Live in the Vineyard again and he said he hopes so. Then ask him to personalize my pass and he spells my name Joselyn but then I tell him it’s Jocelyn so he turns the s into a really fat c lol
We all huddle into a group picture and I’m surprised that Howie chooses to stand next to me! I thought for sure that fans would push their way to get next to Howie. I wasn’t even trying to be next to him and it happened. Then as we’re about to take the group photo, Brian runs into the picture and makes a funny face. Then Justin takes another photo and Brian covers his face with his green napkin and tries to look incognito but fails.
After the tour, I meet up with Sam, Jesi, Erica, and Melissa. We get a quick bite to eat before the concert. Then it was time to go in.
A few weeks before the show I managed to get a front row ticket. Then when I saw the seat next to me was still available I bought it. I knew Sam lived in Sacramento and I held on to a small thread of hope that she could come with me so we could sit next to each other. Thankfully she was able to come so I was happy I got to share the concert experience with a friend :D
Me and Sam sitting in the front row:
We’re sitting in row 1, section AA, seats 1 and 2. We were so glad there wasn’t a barrier in front of us. I think that's the closest I've ever been to the stage during a concert. Plus the stage was low which meant I didn’t have to hurt my neck looking all the way up at Backstreet.
Once the video intro is done, Backstreet pops out from behind the screen. They stand at the top of the stage and absorb the screams from the crowd. As Backstreet stands there, Sam and I notice that Nick scratches his dick through his jeans. Sam and I look at each other and go did Nick just… lol
What a way to kick off the show! :p
It was so nice to see them without any barriers or space between us. You can see how close they are in this "More Than That" video I filmed. Brian was right in front of me most of the time for this song.
The best song of the night for me was "Undone." When it was near the end of the song, where they sing “You’re talkin’ now and I’m hearing everything that you say…” Nick starts to slowly take off the scarf he’s wearing and he looks right at me with this intense sex face look that seems like he’s thinking “Fuck yeah, I’m hot” as he’s doing this. My heart just explodes. I was like whoa :O
Nick during "Undone" in Reno, NV:
When it’s time for the last song of the night, I decide I should try to hold up a ghetto sign I made earlier in the hotel. I scribbled “BRIAN VIEW FROM THE BAY SAYS HEY” on a piece of paper. I almost chickened out but I went for it.
When Brian was standing in a spot that I know he could see my sign I hold it up. He immediately spots it and squints at it. Then I see his face light up and I see him mouth “Yeah I remember you!” :D
While on youtube I actually found a video of Brian reading my sign. I'm so happy someone was able to capture that moment. You can see Brian reading my sign at 2:36 in the video:
Plus the person who recorded that video has a lot more videos from the Reno concert where you can see Sam and me in the front row having a great time.
-Everybody from Reno: http://www.youtube.com/watch?
-QPG & ALAYLM http://www.youtube.com/watch?
-Larger Than Life http://www.youtube.com/watch?
-All of our Life http://www.youtube.com/watch?
-Bye Bye Love http://www.youtube.com/watch?
When the concert is over and I still can’t believe I have two more shows to go! A few minutes after we leave the venue, we spot Howie at a gambling table in the casino. I thought wow, he’s already out gambling? He’s fast!
Sam, Jesi, Melissa, Erica, and I spend some time wandering the casino. Jesi decides she wants to play on the penny slot machines. Then Sam does too. I had $4 in my wallet so I gave the slots a try and I lost it all :(
While at the slot machines, Jesi spots two of Backstreet’s dancers, Jamie and the Japanese one (who I’m not sure what her name is… Megumi? Mayumi? Something with an M.) She also spots Backstreet’s DJ. Then we see Backstreet’s road manager checking them all out of the hotel which meant they weren’t staying overnight in Reno and were headed to Fresno in the middle of the night.
Sam then decides it’s time to drive back home to Sacramento. We say bye and hope that we can see each other soon. (I think I’ve helped her get addicted to seeing Backstreet in concert :p) Jesi, Melissa, Erica, and I decide it’s time to go back up to our hotel room since we have a long drive to Fresno in the morning. Melissa has AAA so she was able to get a great discount on a room at the casino. Just like in San Francisco, I don’t get to sleep until a little past 2am.
7/1/10 - Save Mart Center @ Fresno, CA
Around 7am I wake up from the multiple cell phone alarms that were set. I really wanted to keep on sleeping but I had some Backstreet Boys to see in Fresno.
Once we check out of the hotel and go to my car I noticed something wasn’t right but I didn’t realize until later in the night that my car was broken into. Either I forgot to lock my car or the robbers were really good. I noticed that my doors were unlocked, the center compartment between the driver’s seat and passengers seat was up when I usually keep it down and there was a stinky cigarette smell lingering in my car.
Jesi realizes that her GPS is gone since she can’t find it anywhere in her bags. Then I discover my $25 gas gift card and another gas gift card with about $12 on it are gone. I was relieved those two things were the only stuff of mine that was stolen because I used money I won to buy them so it wasn’t like I lost anything since they were both free anyway. This puts a tiny damper on our trip but Melissa reminds us that whoever did this would get their karma back. I’m just thankful that my car wasn’t damaged and that my car wasn’t stolen too.
I wasn’t sure what to expect on the drive from Reno to Fresno. I’ve never experienced that drive before so I hoped it wouldn’t be so complicated. Fortunately, the drive was smooth and nice. I was glad there weren’t any crazy mountains I had to go through.
Around 2pm, we arrive at the Fresno hotel we were all staying at. Once we get out of the car, it’s blazing hot. It’s over 100 degrees! We all change and make it to the venue around 4pm since I had to be there for VIP check in. I had Platinum VIP for Fresno. It was my 3rd and last platinum for the 5 shows I attended. Jesi, Melissa, and Erica didn’t do VIP with me so I went by myself.
It was all right though because I talked to some nice girls in the Platinum VIP line. I found out that one of the girls I talked to had her boyfriend buy her platinum VIP for their anniversary. She’s the second fan I’ve met this tour that had her boyfriend do that for her. Geez, I need to find me a man who’d do that for me!
We all wondered which Backstreet Boy was going to do the backstage tour. I said I thought Brian would do it because Nick did the tour on Sunday in San Francisco, AJ did it on Monday in San Francisco, and then Howie did the tour in Reno which by process of elimination left Brian. Two of the fans hoped it would be Nick since he was their favorite and I told them I hope it’s Nick too but I just thought the odds weren’t good.
After going down a gazillion stairs we all finally make it to the stage area. The energy during this sound check feels higher than the other 2 I previously attended. I can tell Nick is ten times more hyper than he was in Reno. In Reno he was more chillaxed but in Fresno he was spazzing out and looking like he took 10 dozen happy pills. (That’s the Nick I personally like to see :p)
The first song they sing is "Shattered" which is so pretty live. Nick was really getting into singing it. The second song they sing is Panic which I am so happy to hear because I haven’t heard any songs from their "Unbreakable" record in the other sound checks.
During the second verse Nick completely forgets the words so he just goes “something, something…” lol Then he just goes crazy and Brian sings “If he could just remember the words.” After AJ’s verse, Nick starts jumping up and down and we can see glimpses of his skin. Then Brian sings “You can say no to crack” as Nick is doing this.
Panic from 7/1 Fresno, CA Sound Check
The third song they sing is "Drowning." It was so cute during Howie’s verse when he sang “I can’t imagine life without AJ, Nick and Brian.”
Then it’s time for questions. Someone asks Nick about his solo record. He says he has a small amount of space called October. He says it’s his favorite month because Halloween is in it. (It’s my favorite month too because my birthday is in it :p My birthday is on October 5th for those who want to send me a present). He plans to release his solo record which should be interesting. He said when he gets back home in a week or two from that day he’ll start recording. The record will be released in Japan first (those lucky Asians!) but I’m hoping we’ll get to hear it too in the US.
Nick talking about his solo record plans at the Fresno, Ca sound check:
It’s time for pictures again. This time I decide to greet Brian by saying “View from the Bay” and he gives me a big hug. Then I hug, Nick, AJ, and Howie. We take the picture then I wait with the other platinum VIPs for whoever would be giving the backstage tour.
After the last picture is taken, Nick jogs away so I thought he definitely wasn’t giving the backstage tour. Howie and AJ leave a minute after Nick went away. Brian was standing around so I was all ready to have him as the tour guide when Nick’s bodyguard says, “Everyone is clear but Carter.” I was thinking whaaa?
Brian then walks away and Nick comes jogging back. Us platinums catch on that Nick is our tour guide which makes me so happy since I really wanted him as a tour guide. Nick said that he really had to go pee . That’s why he left right after the pictures were taken.
He said he wanted to be the best tour guide and asked if anyone had done this before. A few people raised their hands so he starts to talk about the stage and set. He said the theme of the show is a night at the movies since it went along with the photoshoot pictures for the "This is Us" album.
Nick talking about the set/stage:
He talked about how drew storyboards for the concert. He said, “I like to draw.” (Once he said that, I immediately thought about the short story I wrote entitled "Drawing Reality" that he inspired. If you haven’t read the story, it’s about a young man who likes to draw and draws some sexually explicit pictures of his crush.) Then he talked about how they used footage from different films and then he remarked that it’s a surprise they haven’t been sued yet for doing that.
Then he talked about the stage and how it’s been with them through 3 continents which were Europe, Asia, and Australia. He mentioned that they had a DJ instead of a band for this tour. He said for budget reasons it’s better. Plus the one DJ can do everything a band of guys can do. He asks us if we have any questions and my mind is so blank. I wished I could have asked him something but my mind couldn’t come up with anything. (Of course when the tour is over I can think of a gazillion questions to ask him.)
After he talks about the stage and set, he walks us over to an area near stage left:
He explains the audio and what the sound guy controls while they sing. He asks the stage crew if there's an earpiece so he could show us what he was talking about but there wasn't any around. He said that he’s worn his specially molded ear piece for 2 or 3 years and that his ear hasn't grown much.
Nick talking about the audio/mixing board:
Next we walk over to where Backstreet rests and relaxes before the show. I saw a whole bunch of vitamin bottles and supplements on a tiny table. It’s a really nice looking area that looks like a hotel room from a five star hotel. Then we walk into the next room which is the catering area. Howie and AJ were in there getting food. Nick was like everyone come in and have a seat but then he said he was just kidding. He said that since they burn a lot of calories and use a lot of energy during the show that they all needed to eat a big meal.
Nick showing us the catering/dining area:
He then takes us to a room with clothes and shoes everywhere. He makes a joke and points to the mess of shoes on the floor and jokingly says those are all his shoes.
I think at this point Justin takes a picture and in the picture all the fans except me are looking at Nick. I happen to look like I’m more interested in the shoes than in whatever Nick is saying.
I call this picture of Nick and his bodyguard "Bromance" because it looks like his bodyguard is giving Nick a "hey baby" look.
Nick introduces Nicole who does their wardrobe. She then explains what she does and where everything is. We then walk into a hallway and Nick points out Backstreet's dressing room but he doesn’t take us in there.
We pass by a room with a sign that says "Production." Nick jokingly says don't look in there lol
Then we’re led into an open area backstage. Justin tells us to get in a line so that Nick can sign our VIP passes and take an individual picture with him. This totally surprises me because I thought that wasn’t going to happen since when I did Platinum with AJ and Howie they did not take individual pictures with anyone.
When it was my turn to get my pass signed, I ask Nick so you’re releasing your solo album in October? He shakes his head and then I tell him that’s great because my birthday is in October. Then I ask him if he could personalize my pass so I spell my name.
I think I spell it too fast for him because I see his brain pause and then his forehead scrunches in concentration. When I got my pass back I read what he wrote and it looked like he wrote my name “Joeelyn” instead of Jocelyn lol Oh well, I give him an A for effort. We take the picture, then I pat his back and thank him.
That whole Platinum VIP experience was super amazing. It was by far the best VIP I've ever done. Nick truly made it worth every penny. I was so happy I got to finally have him as a tour guide. It was one of the things I really wanted to experience during the "This is Us" tour. Having him as a guide also reminded me of him being a teacher and I was a student absorbing information.
After all the platinum VIPs are finished taking pictures with Nick, an usher tears off the platinum VIPs concert tickets and gives us the option to stay inside the venue or go out. I choose to go out because I wanted to check out the merchandise stand and get a drink.
I decide to buy merchandise first because I’ve been wanting to buy a Backstreet Boys "This is Us" tote bag. The bags were sold out in San Francisco and weren’t sold in Reno. There was also a lot more merchandise in Fresno too.
I wanted to buy everything but I ended up buying the tote bag ($15), a keychain ($5), an 8x10 group pic of Backstreet ($5), and a solo 8x10 picture of Nick($5). When I told the merchandise lady I wanted a picture of Nick, she grabbed a picture of Howie. I told her that’s Howie, so she went back and got a picture of Brian. I told her that’s Brian and she went back and grabbed a picture of AJ and I told her that’s AJ lol! She stands still for a moment as I see her trying to process who Nick was and finally she grabs the picture of Nick and I just laugh. I could tell she was having a long day and was scrambling Backstreet Boys in her mind.
I then go buy a drink which hurts my wallet because a small soda was $3.50! I was so thirsty though so I had no choice but to buy it. I wouldn’t have survived the concert if I didn’t drink any liquid. I then head to my seat which is in the front row. I’m off to the side in the stage right area.
The energy during the concert is so much higher in Fresno than in Reno. It was a mixture of the fans excitement and Backstreet looking happier to be performing in a bigger venue.
I think because I reminded Brian in Reno with my sign that I used to work at "View from the Bay" that he started to recognize me. During "As Long As You Love Me" he first spotted me in the front row. Then he ended up waving and smiling at me a lot during the show.
Before the concert, I had made a ghetto sign that said “ROSE PLEASE =)” with the intention of flashing it to Nick. For those who don’t know, during :I’ll Never Break Your Heart: they throw out roses into the audience.
My plan was to hold it up for Nick if he came to my side. Howie and AJ come to my side but I didn’t want their roses. As Brian sang his verse, he walked to my side and stood right in front of me. I wanted to wait and see if Nick would come to my side but then I thought what if Nick doesn’t come over?! I decided right then to screw Nick and flash my sign to Brian. I hold it up and pout like the biggest baby in the world.
It takes me a while to realize that Brian is singing to ME. At first I was thinking man, he’s not going to throw me his rose because he was taking a long time. Then I realize he didn’t throw the rose to me right away because he had to finish singing his verse first lol! It’s good I didn’t wait for Nick because he did not walk to my side at all during "I’ll Never Break Your Heart."
While browsing through youtube I found someone got video of Brian singing to me starting at 0:35 but the video cuts away right when Brian throws me his rose.
During "Quit Playing Games," Nick enters from stage left and as he’s walking to his mark, he looks at the audience. That’s when our eyes meet and he smirks and points at me since I figure he recognized me from doing Platinum VIP earlier.
I’m glad I decided to record "She’s a Dream" in Fresno because it’s super hot. The song is cheesy but damn, Nick makes me love it with the way he sings it live. In the video he strips off his hoodie and gah, it’s just a whole bunch of deliciousness. (He didn't strip off his hoodie during the 2nd San Francisco show, Reno, and in Vegas.)
There was just tons of energy in Fresno and it was easily the best out of the 5 concerts I attended. I wasn’t standing next to annoying fans and Backstreet poured everything into their performances in Fresno.
7/2/10 - The Beach at Mandalay Bay Casino @ Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas marked the end of my personal "This is Us" tour. It was a last minute decision for me to go. I didn’t plan on driving down to Vegas but after I did the math I saw I had room in my budget to make the trip. I ended up paying only $4.50 for the concert ticket since I got a $50 Ticketmaster for free. Plus Jesi was nice enough to offer me her friends and family discount at a Comfort Inn which helped me so much! A hotel room that normally would cost close to $100 only cost me around $44.
The drive from Fresno to Vegas wasn’t bad at all. I’ve never driven from Fresno to Vegas so it was all new to me. I got to drive through the city of Delano which my dad always talks about because he knows a lot of Filipino’s live there and it’s where a lot of grapes come from.
We arrive to Vegas around 2pm. I wasn’t sure what to expect with the Vegas concert being general admission in a pool! I’ve never been to a concert like that before. By the time I get to my hotel, it’s past 3:30pm. I’m panicking because I have Gold VIP and the fan club said VIP check in was 4pm. I wasn’t even close to ready. I throw on my clothes and make up and drive down to the Mandalay Bay Casino. Finding the parking lot was so tricky but I managed to find it.
At around 5:15pm I power walk into the Mandalay Bay Casino and I had no idea where to go to find the beach venue and box office to pick up my ticket. I was thinking oh no, I’m going to miss the VIP sound check. None of the signs were helpful. I asked a security guard where to pick up my concert ticket and he tells me the wrong place. It turns out I had to go to another box office which I vaguely remember from the last time I went there in 2005.
I pick up my ticket and the box office employee asks me if I have the meet and greet. I tell her that I do have it. She then tells me that the meet and greet starts at 6:30pm and in my mind I was like ugh! I was in a hurry for nothing!
Then she asks me how much I paid for the meet and greet. I laugh nervously and tell her I paid over $300 and she had a look of shock on her face. I told her I know it’s expensive but that I really love them (Backstreet Boys). She then gives me my concert ticket and says that to get to the beach area I have to go down the escalator.
Since it’s not even close to 6:30pm I decide to not go down to the beach area yet since it’s too early for VIP check in. I walked to the nearest window because I wanted to see the beach area outside. All I could see was a bunch of trees and plants blocking the area.
I then decide to find a place to buy a drink because I’m so thirsty. I find a gift shop that is selling soda for $3 a bottle! There wasn’t any other place for a drink so I buy it. I did pack a chicken sandwich I bought from Wendy’s earlier and eat that too.
When it’s around 6pm I head down to the beach area. There’s no one anywhere and I don’t hear any people so I start to panic again that I am in the wrong place. I had two choices: either walk to my left or walk to my right. I decided to walk to my right and then I find a line of girls. I heard one of the girls asking the other girls about VIP and none of them have any clue. I then mention I’m looking for VIP too so the girl, whose name is Kara, and I get out of line to try to find where the VIPs need to be. We spot a restaurant and she asks a server where to go for the concert at the beach. He tells us to keep walking toward the right because he knows that’s where the backstage area is.
Kara and I keep on walking but we are not seeing any beach anywhere. Finally after almost circulating the whole area we spot another line of girls. Two girls who I met in Napa, Lorena and Jessica, were in line and they call out of my name. I ask them if they know about the VIP line and they said that the line they were in was the VIP line.
Kara and I are relieved that we found the line and we hang out in the hot sun while we wait to check in. It also turned out that near where I was standing was one of the twins who I spent time with in Napa at Live in the Vineyard. She and her twin apparently decided to skip doing VIP for the show.
When it’s my turn to check in for VIP, Justin from the fan club recognizes me. He tells me, “You’ve been hitting all of them up huh?” I jokingly reply, “I have to.”
Once we’re all checked in, we all line up by VIP level. The silvers are let inside first and then the golds. Vegas’ VIP was done in a different order than a regular VIP. Usually the song performances are done first and the pictures are last. This time the pictures were done first and the songs were last.
Upon entering the beach area, I saw that the stage was indeed in the pool. I wondered how they were going to do the pictures since there was a pool.
The stage with the pool surrounding it:
The pictures ended up being taken in a place called the Smoothie Shack. When it’s my turn to take a picture, I shake hands with Howie and AJ who ask me how I am. I say I’m hot and AJ nods his head in agreement and says I know. Next I shake hands with Nick who gives me a sweet smile. Then I shook hands with Brian but he was on the phone so I didn’t really get to say anything to him. I get in between AJ and Nick and take the picture.
Once the picture is done, I was about to walk away when I felt a hand rub my back. That’s when I realized, Nick just rubbed my back. I look back at Nick and say Thank you and walk away lol I was a bit flustered because I did not expect him to do that at all. I’ve met him a bunch of times but we’ve never ended up at the back rub territory lol (Maybe he knew I needed a back rub from all the driving and standing I’ve been doing all in the name of Backstreet :p)
Here's my VIP picture from Vegas. I don't understand how Nick is so close to me yet AJ is so far with a huge gap between us :-\ lol
After all the pictures are taken, the fans are led back outside so we’re all standing on the sand. Backstreet gets on stage and welcomes everyone to their sound check party. They ask for song requests and first sing "If I Knew Then."
During the middle of "If I Knew Then," fans start going into the pool, so I take off my shoes and step into the pool which wasn’t so bad. The water went up to the middle of my shin and never reached my thighs.
The next song they sang was Drowning lol! It was just so perfect since we were in the pool. They said, “Don’t drown!” I was hoping they’d sing a 3rd song but then they move on to the questions part. Lorena asked if they could be part of any other band who would it be. Nick jokingly answered New Kids on the Block.
Throughout the whole sound check Nick kept texting and reading texts on his phone which irked some fans there. I'm used to Nick doing that though so I didn't really care.
When sound check is over, we’re escorted out of the beach area and have to line up outside. A few minutes later we all power walk into the pool. I wasn’t sure where to stand because there were these huge speakers right in front of the stage. I was torn between staying in the spot I had which was in front of stage right or moving more to the side. I was afraid if I left my spot that I would only make my view worse so I stayed. I only had about half visibility of the stage but I honestly didn’t mind since I already had front row for Reno and Fresno. I wasn’t so concerned with being close. I just wanted to enjoy the music.
While waiting for the show to begin, I take a picture of the Mandalay Bay Casino which can be seen behind the beach.
During the show, there were so many times I saw Brian look and wave at me. He is truly the best when it comes to fan interaction from the stage.
Brian and AJ during PDA in Las Vegas, NV:
When Nick threw his rose during "I’ll Never Break Your Heart," a petal from his rose strayed away and fell into the area near me behind the barricade. I couldn’t reach for it though. I could feel some fans were interested in getting it but when the female venue security guard picked it up we made eye contact and she gave me Nick’s petal :)
My favorite picture of Brian I took during the Las Vegas, NV concert:
They didn’t sing "Larger Than Life" and they didn’t change into their regular concert clothes for more than half the show.
I thought it was interesting Nick's shirt said Paris on it ;)
For the last batch of songs, they wore swimming trunks. Nick pulled up his trunks and showed off his thighs. I could easily tell he runs a lot because the muscles in his thighs were flexing.
When they sing "Straight Through My Heart" they all come out with squirt guns and start shooting water at the audience. I had to dodge myself from the oncoming water. Throughout the concert I managed to stay dry.
It wasn’t until after Backstreet was done that people start surging toward the stage which resulted in water splashing everywhere. I thought, of course I get wet when the concert is done.
My feet are killing me by the time the concert is over. I spot a place selling pina colada’s by the merchandise stand and I wanted to buy one so bad but first off I’m driving and second I didn’t want to carry that drink around while I was juggling my heavy bag. Someday I will get a pina colada in Vegas, someday!
I also notice I have a bruise on my arm. I don't know when and how I got it. I call it my "This is Us Tour War Wound."
I then head up to the Mandalay Bay Hotel lobby which is where Jesi was. When I meet up with Jesi, she asks if I saw Nick by the elevators. I say no and she said that he just walked toward the direction I just came from when I got there. Jesi and I then sit down in the lobby. It felt so good to finally sit down after standing around for hours. We then see Howie walk by but it looks like he’s on his way somewhere in the casino.
There’s also 2 fans with their boyfriends waiting to see if any more Backstreet Boys would walk by. I see the boyfriend of one fan whisper and mouth really loudly “BRIAN”. Sure enough 2 minutes later Brian walks out from the elevator carrying a gazillion bags. It looks like he’s on his way to leave Vegas. Brian tells those 4 people to follow him so Jesi and I decide to join them and we follow Brian until he stops at another elevator. The 2 fans take pictures with him.
When Brian sees Jesi he hugs her and then when he sees me, his face lights up and he gives me a hug. He then tells me, “I’ll give you a view from the air.” lol! It was such a nice ending to my adventures for Brian to be the one initiating a hug with me and making an inside joke. (I never did get my view from the air hmmph :p) Usually I’d be obsessed with asking for a picture but I honestly preferred Brian recognizing me and giving me a warm hug verses a picture. Plus I already have a lot of wonderful pictures with Brian so I really didn’t need another one.
Jesi and I stick around the lobby for a while until 1am. As much as I didn’t want the night to end, I had to get back to my hotel since I’d be driving home to California in a few hours. Jesi and I say goodbye, then I walk back to my car.
When I got into my car I decided I wanted to cruise down the strip while blasting Backstreet Boys music before heading back to my hotel. My plan was to drive from the start of the strip all the way to the end. Then I'd find a place to eat and drive back to my hotel. I thought the plan was simple but I ended up getting severely lost.
I drove straight through the strip and when it was over, I drove about a mile more and then I made a u-turn at some street. However when I went back toward the direction I thought I came from, nothing looked familiar. I began to panic because it was the middle of the night and I had no idea where I was going. Plus I didn’t have my GPS with me because I left it back at the hotel. I keep on driving back and forth while my stomach is screaming for food and a drink. I decided to stop by a Del Taco since it was the only place that had a 24 hour drive through that didn’t look shady.
As I’m driving I’m gulping down the soda and it feels so good to have liquid in my body. When I feel like I’m driving the wrong direction I make another u-turn. It’s when I do that u-turn that I see from a far distance the Stratosphere tower which is at the end of the Vegas strip. I had never been so relieved to see a landmark before. I start to drive toward it and when I get closer there’s a bridge that leads to the I-15 freeway. I’m sitting at a stop light for the longest time and I didn’t know whether if I should keep driving straight or make a right turn to get on the freeway.
The light wasn’t turning green, so I decide to make a right turn and get on the I-15 freeway. It’s a good thing I did because once I get on the freeway, I see from a far distance the Las Vegas strip. I thought, how the fuck did I get so far from the Vegas strip to wherever I was?!?!
What I originally planned to be a 30 minute sightseeing drive on the Vegas strip turned into over 2 hours of me being lost. I thought, gah, I should have just went straight to the hotel right after I left the Mandalay Bay casino.
It’s past 3am once I get back to the hotel. I wasn’t sure how I was going to get up before 11am to check out of the hotel. I even considered extending my stay just so I could get some rest but I managed to get up at around 9:30am. The free breakfast at the hotel ends at 10am so I get some food. I was pleasantly surprised at how much good food there was. Usually cheap hotels are stingy with their breakfast but I was so happy to find they had waffles! That made my morning.
After I checked out from the hotel I wanted to visit the Vegas strip before heading home. I park my car at the MGM Grand parking lot and then visit a couple of places. I first go to M&M’s world. Then I buy shirts for my parents at a souvenir shop. I visit the Coca Cola Store and I really want to drink the different world flavors of Coke but I wasn’t sure if I could drink all that Coke by myself so I had to resist.
I wanted to start a new tradition where everytime I go to Vegas I’d get a cupcake at the Cupcakery at the Monte Carlo casino. (I had visited the Cupcakery before in February when I went to Vegas to meet Kim Karadashian.) I ordered a cupcake called Peanut Butter Jammy. It was a delicious cupcake and I loved the glitter on it.
After I get my cupcake, I try my luck on the slot machines. I’m not a big gambler so I tried out the penny slot machines. I’d turn my $1 into $2 but of course since I wanted to win more I ended up giving what I won back to the machine. It was fun though hearing the machine making it’s ringing noise when I’d win a $1 :p I ended up losing around $15 in the slot machines :-\
At this point, I get so hungry that my whole body is shaking. (Perhaps it was my body telling me that I had to stop gambling.) Thank goodness the Monte Carlo has a food court so I go there and buy some delicious greasy Chinese food from Manchu Wok :D
After I eat, I try my luck again at the slot machines in the Monte Carlo and MGM Grand. I lose again so I decide it’s time to start my journey back to California. Before I left Nevada, I stop by the outlets in Primm and browse around. Nothing catches my eye so I officially start my road trip back home.
I am so tired but I kept myself entertained by listening to Backstreet Boys music and reflecting back on everything that happened. Being a Backstreet Boys fan has really helped me meet a ton of wonderful people and has exposed me to beautiful places. I cannot wait until the next time the Backstreet Boys tour near where I live. I’ll definitely be there!