Warning: This review is extremely long.
If you want the Cliff's notes version: 1 kissy face from Nick, 1 Silver VIP Win from Ground Control, 1 serenade rejection from Brian, 2 Platinum VIPs I bought for LA & Anaheim, 3 Incomplete videos featuring only Nick, 4 NKOTBSB shows in LA, San Jose, Vegas, & Anaheim, & 5 Backstreet Boys in LA
My original plan was to see NKOTBSB in San Jose, Ca on July 2nd, 2011 and in Anaheim, Ca on July 6th, 2011. The San Jose show was at HP Pavilion which is very close to where I live. It's also very close to San Jose State University which is the college I attended.
I wanted to go to Anaheim because at the time I was making plans my favorite Backstreet Boy, Nick Carter, was scheduled to do the backstage tour for those who purchased Platinum VIP.
I bought a concert ticket for the San Jose show from the Backstreet Boys fan club the day before I left for the cruise in December 2010. The ticket was located in section 128 row 4.
A few months after buying the ticket I changed my mind and I wanted to buy a floor ticket. I found a pair of floor tickets through Ticketmaster's Platinum Seats in section 8 row 6 which were located near the tip of what New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys/fans of both groups have dubbed the "penis stage." The tickets cost $135 each. I had a hard time selling the spare ticket but I finally sold it to a New Kids on the Block fan.
Then one Friday night in June, a fellow Backstreet Boys fan named Jaime and I began chatting on Twitter about possibly going to the Las Vegas NKOTBSB show on July 3rd, 2011. I love the city of Las Vegas and even though I previously told myself I wouldn't go to Vegas this year, a part of me itched to go again. After multiple tweets and direct messages between Jaime and I, we decided to go to Las Vegas together.
Jaime and I found a pair of section 8 row H aisle seats near the tip of the penis stage on Stubhub for the Las Vegas show. The tickets were very expensive at $184 per ticket BUT there weren't any other cheaper floor seats available anywhere else.
I handled booking the hotel for Vegas. When I went to Vegas in 2008 to see Backstreet Boys during the Unbreakable Tour at the Palms Hotel, I stayed at the Gold Coast Hotel across the street. It was a decent hotel that was also cheap. I booked 2 nights there for about $82.
Since I had the San Jose, Ca concert to attend on July 2nd and Vegas was on July 3rd I decided it was best to fly instead of drive to Vegas. I had a $50 Southwest gift card that I earned from Swagbucks which you can join by clicking here.
My flight from San Jose International Airport to Las Vegas' Airport cost $99.70 but after my gift card it cost $49.70. I couldn't find a cheap flight between Las Vegas and San Jose so I chose to fly into San Francisco instead. My flight between Las Vegas and San Francisco cost $99.70. My round trip total was $149.40.
About 3 weeks before the July 6th Anaheim concert, I found a section 110 row 3 seat 14 floor ticket on Razor Gator which was on the aisle and right in front of the tip of the penis stage. I had been watching this ticket like a hawk. At first it cost over $200 but I didn't want to pay that much for a single ticket.
Then on June 13th I noticed the price dropped to $127 so I bought it. After the Razor Gator fee and shipping fee the ticket cost $156.65. Luckily, I found a free shipping code so the price of my ticket dropped to $139.70. It's always important to search for a promotional code online before making a purchase.
I thought my NKOTBSB concert plans were set after buying my Anaheim concert ticket. I was ready to go to San Jose, then fly to Las Vegas, and then make a road trip down to Anaheim for Platinum VIP where Nick Carter would be the backstage tour guide.
However, that all changed when the Memphis, TN VIP was cancelled for some unknown reason. The rumor was the VIP was cancelled because of low sales but Backstreet's photographer, Justin, insisted on Twitter that wasn't the reason. Fans weren't given an official reason on the cancellation so it remains a mystery.
This cancellation threw a wrench in my NKOTBSB tour plans because it changed the Platinum VIP order. Nick was scheduled to be the Anaheim tour guide but with the Memphis cancellation, he was now scheduled to do the LA Staples Center backstage tour.
I originally didn't want to go to the LA show because it was on July 1st and the San Jose concert was on July 2nd. I didn't want to drive down to LA and then drive back up to San Jose the next day...
BUT I really wanted Nick as the Platinum VIP tour guide so I relented and I began to make plans for LA. I scoured eBay, Stubhub, Craigslist, Twitter, message boards, and the Backstreet Boys fan club for a decent ticket to LA. I didn't know if I wanted another floor ticket or if I wanted to sit in the lower or upper level.
About 4 days before the LA concert, I looked through the comments on the tour page for the LA show on the Backstreet Boys fan club. I saw a fan named Tim mention he had 1 ticket in section 101 row 4. He didn't put a ticket price but he wrote if someone made an offer he would consider it. My budget was already tight since I was attending 3 other concerts. I made him an offer of $70 and I hoped he would accept it.
I anxiously waited for his response and when I got it, he accepted my offer! I was so happy that not only did I have a ticket to the LA show but that I also got to save lots of money. Face value for the ticket was around $119 so paying $70 was a great deal.
The stars were aligning for me because I also found a fan on the fan club named Kim who offered to let me stay at the hotel room she booked at the Hotel Figueroa. I Googled Hotel Figueroa and I saw it was very close to the Staples Center.
Kim offered $40 to stay with her for 2 nights and that I'd pay for my own parking. I had a $50 Ralph's gift card that I wouldn't use so instead of paying her $40 cash I gave her the $50 gift card and I paid $25 for 2 nights of parking.
Once my LA ticket and hotel were arranged, I bought Platinum VIP from the Backstreet Boys fan club. VIP includes a sound check where Backstreet Boys sing 2 songs, a Q&A, a picture with Backstreet Boys, an 8x10 autographed picture, a souvenir laminate pass, a backstage tour with one of the Backstreet Boys, and an individual picture with the Backstreet Boy who gives the tour.
I decided to drive down to LA on June 30th which was 1 day before the concert at Staples Center. I didn't want to feel rushed driving to LA and traffic is very crazy down there. Before I began my road trip, I checked my e-mail and I saw I received an e-mail from Ground Control, the company that manages the Backstreet Boys' fan club.
The subject of the e-mail said, "You have won Backstreet Boys Silver VIP Upgrade on 7/3!"
I immediately felt like I won a million dollars. I thought about buying Gold VIP at $312 for the Las Vegas concert on July 3rd but I already bought Platinum VIP (which cost $520) for LA and I was already spending a lot of money on the 4 concerts I was attending. The value of Silver VIP is $208 so I very happy to have won it for free.
I actually entered to win VIP for Anaheim first but when the Platinum VIP backstage tour order changed, I switched my entry to win VIP for LA. I lost for LA so I entered to win VIP for San Jose. I lost that too so before I went to sleep on June 30th I entered the Vegas contest. I wanted to wait to enter Vegas after I woke up but I changed my mind and I entered before I went to sleep. It's good I did that since I ended up winning!
Having that good news was very helpful in keeping me pumped up on my long drive to LA. I got on the road around 2:30pm. I ended up stopping 3 different times. There was construction on Interstate 5 which is also known as "the 5" or I-5.
There were 2 points where the normally 2 lane I-5 turned into a single lane. At the 1st point, I almost crashed into a pickup truck but thankfully I have great reaction time and my car's brakes are good. Before the second point where the I-5 turned into a single lane, I hit stand-still traffic. I have seen this kind of traffic on TV and in the movies but I had never experienced it until then.
Nothing was moving forward on the I-5. People in the cars and trucks in front of me had turned off their ignitions and got out to stretch their legs and look to see if traffic was moving. I turned off my ignition and relaxed for a few minutes.
It felt like traffic was stopped for about 10 minutes. I was beginning to worry that I'd be stranded for hours but thankfully I saw the people in front of me rush back to their car and traffic began to move slowly again.
Apparently what caused the traffic was an accident. From the little rubbernecking I did, I saw a burnt motorcycle and a car with a huge dent on it. It happened right in front of where the 2 lanes merged into 1 lane.
My theory is that both the motorcycle and the car wanted to be first to get into the single lane but they both ended up crashing into each other. It's unfortunate that people have this "I have to be first to merge" mentality on the road which mostly ends up in accidents.
It was around 8:00pm when I arrive to Laval Road in Lebec, Ca. Laval Road along the 5 has a bunch of fast food places and gas stations. I usually stop here before passing through the Grapevine/Tejon Pass section of the 5. The Grapevine/Tejon Pass is a mountainous region travelers have to drive through to reach Southern California. While it's beautiful to look at the mountains and the view, it's a dangerous place to drive because of all the twists and turns and having to drive up and then suddenly down. That is why travelers like to stop before having to drive through the Grapevine/Tejon Pass.
I stopped at In 'n Out because the last time I was at Laval Road, I saw it was under construction and I told myself the next time I stop here I'd go to In 'n Out. I ordered a double double protein style, fries, and a drink. I don't know if this was a good or bad omen but my order total was $6.66.
After I ate, I stopped at a Shell gas station in Grapevine and I used the $25 Shell gift card I earned from MyPoints to fill up my tank. (On the topic of gas, I had only spent $5 so far on my trip to LA. I used a $20 Visa gift card I won from a contest to buy a $25 Arco gift card at Safeway which I used to fill up my tank before I had the road. Then when I stopped the first time on the way to LA, I used a $10 Arco gift card I earned from spending $30 worth of items at CVS.)
It was dark by the time I drove through the Grapevine/Tejon Pass. I was so anxious to arrive in LA. Once I hit the 110 freeway, I could see downtown LA. I felt close to my destination... until I saw that the Olympic Blvd. exit I was supposed to take was closed due to construction!
The detour signs said to take the 8th street exit so reluctantly I followed the detour signs. As I followed the detour signs, I passed by an exit that said "Figueroa St." which I know is the street the hotel is on but I decided to trust the detour signs.
I expected the detour signs to guide me to Olympic Blvd. but they didn't. I kept driving straight and I hoped to find more detour signs but the further I drove, the more I felt like I was going in the wrong direction.
The area I was driving through looked a bit shady and nothing like downtown Los Angeles. I knew I had to turn back so I found a road to do a U-turn at and I sat at a stop light for the longest time. I was getting impatient but finally after 3 minutes the light changed and I headed back.
I had no idea where I was going and I was panicking. I didn't have my GPS with me. I only had the directions I printed from Google Maps. Kim didn't have a cell phone so I couldn't call her to ask for new directions and I didn't have a phone number for the Hotel Figueroa.
My new plan was to look for the Staples Center and then find the Hotel Figueroa from there since they were close to each other. I remembered from watching "Keeping Up With The Kardashian's" that the Staples Center has bright search lights protruding from it.
I followed those search lights and I eventually drive into the middle of downtown LA. Some of the streets were 1 way so it was difficult to maneuver around the area. I finally got onto Figueroa St. BUT I was too far from the Staples Center.
I remembered the address was 1111 for the Staples Center but the buildings around me were in the 700's and the numbers grew smaller as I drove. I couldn't make a U-turn to go back since Figueroa St. was a 1 way street. After I drove around in a circle about 3 or 4 times, I finally spot Hotel Figueroa!
I had no idea where to park though. To the right of the hotel was a parking lot so I entered it. I told the parking attendant I was staying at the Hotel Figueroa but he tells me that I have to go to another parking lot. I don't even fully understand the directions he gave me but I figured it out on my own. I entered the hotel's parking lot which is near a car wash.
The parking attendant asks for my name but it isn't on the list so I tell him Kim's name and he finds it. I parked my car, got my hotel key from the front desk, and went to the hotel room. It felt so good to officially arrive in LA! It was about 11:30pm. I settled into the room and took a well needed shower. Then I finally slept.
I wanted to get as much sleep as I could so I slept in as much as possible. I think it was around noon when I finally got myself out of bed to prepare myself for the long day ahead. I had Platinum VIP so I wanted to be at the venue around 3:30pm.
Time went by fast and it was suddenly 3:30pm. I power walked to the Staples Center. On my way there, I noticed a bunch of people dressed up in weird costumes. I felt out of place in my concert outfit.
Apparently, there was some sort of anime/comic convention happening nearby. I was kind of disappointed to see more anime/comic fans than Backstreet Boys or New Kids on the Block fans walking around.
When I arrived at the Staples Center I noticed there was a line in front of the box office. I assumed it was the Backstreet Boys VIP line but a guy made an announcement about "I Love All Access," which is the company that handles the New Kids on the Block VIPs, and I immediately knew I was standing in the wrong area.
I called a Brittany, a fan who I met on the Backstreet Boys fan club, to ask where she was and where the Backstreet Boys VIP line was. We decided to meet up since we were both doing Platinum VIP alone. She told me that she was in line around the side of the building.
I saw the line she was talking about. It was a VERY long line but I was glad that I made it in time and that VIP check-in hadn't started yet. I still get paranoid about being late to VIP ever since I was late to VIP in Canada last year.
I joined the line with her and then I called Tim to ask where he was so I could get my concert ticket. He finds me and I get my concert ticket. After we all checked in, we waited in another line in the lobby area of the Staples Center. It was surreal to be inside a venue that I had seen on TV and heard about so much about in the media.
Me (wearing green) and Brittany (wearing purple) waiting in the Platinum VIP line:
While we waited in line, I could hear Backstreet Boys rehearsing their hit song "I Want It That Way" a bunch of times. I sensed that something was going to happen during the song but I didn't want to say anything about it at the time. I didn't want to jinx what I was thinking.
Justin, Backstreet's photographer, walked down the line and he told everyone that there was a 15 minute delay. That didn't surprise me since it's very rare that Backstreet Boys start anything on time. I also knew that their constant rehearsal of "I Want It That Way" was the cause of the delay.
After a long wait, Justin leads us to the stage area. I got to sit in the front row since I had Platinum VIP. VIPs were seated in front of the shaft portion of the penis stage. There were stools and mics on the stage anxiously awaiting for their Backstreet Boy to occupy them.
Finally, Backstreet Boys make their way to the stage. Nick was on stage right. I was so happy that Nick didn't wear his black fedora hat to VIP! He had been wearing it so much and I think it makes him look funny. Brian was in front of me, Howie was next to him, and AJ was on stage left.
Nick and Brian:
Howie and AJ:
When I looked through my pictures, I saw that the first ever picture I took for this tour was of Brian and he was blurry! "Blurry Brian" has been a joke in the Backstreet Boys fandom because he was blurred out in an episode of "House of Carters," Nick's old reality show.
Backstreet Boys welcome everyone to the sound check/VIP and then start to sing their song "Siberia." I was a bit disappointed they sang "Siberia" because they frequently sing it at almost every sound check. Although, I did like that Nick made funny sounds and played the drums during the song.
I loved it when Brian sang, "When I got back, Nick wasn't there..."
To the naked eye, it wasn't very dark inside the venue during VIP BUT when I watched the videos I took, they were completely dark! Nothing can be seen. If I had known the videos would come out dark, I would have focused more on taking pictures rather than video.
I did try to brighten my "Siberia" video a bit in Windows Movie Maker. This was the best I could do:
After "Siberia" they sang "Drowning."
Brian, Nick, and Howie like to play on their phones during sound check (I didn't catch AJ on his phone):
Sometime in the VIP, Nick mentioned that he was surprised that there were so many fans to see them in LA. He didn't think they had many fans in LA. He seemed pretty proud to know that there were still lots of fans in the LA area.
The Q&A questions were okay. They're never anything spectacular. Nick, Brian, and AJ were asked about their solo albums.
I think Nick mentioned doing some promotion in Canada for his solo album. Brian mentioned that he just had a recording studio built in to his house and that he was working on another solo album.
AJ said his solo album would be coming out sometime in the fall. I don't believe him though because he said on the cruise last year that his solo album would come out in March 2011 and that didn't happen.
I think Howie was asked what was the most embarrassing question he's been asked. He talked about how in another country he answered a question but he didn't know that what he said meant something else in that country. I don't remember the exact details.
At some point while they sang one of their sound check songs, Nick walked over to AJ and took his sunglasses that were on his stool. AJ didn't notice this since he was busy singing. It wasn't until after the Q&A was over that AJ saw his sunglasses were missing. He looked over at Nick, who had hung the sunglasses on the back of his shirt, and saw that he had taken it. AJ walked over to Nick and grabbed them right off his shirt.
Nick acted shocked and looked toward the VIP crowd and asked, "Really?! Who told him?!"
Then AJ replied, "Good people told me. That's who."
Nick wondering who ratted him out to AJ:
After the Q&A were the VIP pictures with Backstreet. Radio/contest winners went first, then Silver VIPs, Gold VIPs, and Platinum VIPs went last. Even though I've met Backstreet Boys before, I had a nervous feeling in my tummy.
Before it was my turn, Drew, who is mainly Brian's bodyguard, greeted me and hole punched my VIP pass. Then I was up. I thought it was lame that handshakes were only allowed instead of hugs. In past Platinum VIPs I had, fans were allowed hugs.
I first shook AJ's hand and then Brian's hand. I was in the middle of moving on to shaking Nick's hand when I heard Brian say to me, "It's good to see you again." I did a double take and went whaaaa?
I was so flustered and speechless that I couldn't even think of anything to say to him so I continued to shake Nick's hand and then Howie's hand. I know I've met Brian lots of times before but it really stunned me that he recognized me and that he acknowledged that he saw me before.
VIP pictures are always rushed so after I shook Howie's hand, I turned around and posed for the picture. I learned from my previous VIP pictures that I shouldn't pose with my arms straight along my body since it makes me look stiff and like I'm a soldier standing at attention.
I also remembered what Tina Fey said on Ellen Degeneres' show about her experience with photo shoots. Tina said that it's important to have angles in pictures. I smiled and placed my left hand near my thigh to create a slight angle and I placed my left leg out a bit.
After I posed, I felt a hand grip my shoulder but I didn't know who's hand it was. It was either Nick's or Brian's. I couldn't move to see who it was since at any moment Justin would take the picture.
I found out later that it was Nick who held onto my shoulder. I know some fans like to ask their favorite Backstreet Boy to put their arms around them in the VIP picture but I feel awkward asking for something like that with the other Backstreet Boys around. I don't want to hurt their feelings or make them feel left out.
I'm flattered that Nick put his hand on me on his own and without me asking. This is the second time he's done this. He did it before in my VIP picture in Canada. He sure loves touching my shoulder ;)
My LA Platinum VIP Picture:
After my picture I didn't know where to go and Mike, mainly Nick's bodyguard, waved at me and said, "I got you." Then he handed me a pre-signed autographed 8x10 picture of Backstreet and told me to sit down where the other Platinum VIPs are sitting.
The autographed 8x10 picture Gold and Platinum VIPs receive:
While I waited for the other Platinum VIP pictures to be taken, I mentally prepared myself to be disappointed that Nick wouldn't be the backstage tour guide. Thankfully, the order was followed and Nick was the guide! I breathed a sigh of relief.
Nick as the Platinum VIP guide (I love that I got the NKOTBSB in the background):
Nick stood in front of the Platinum VIPs and he asked if any of us had ever done Platinum VIP before. Even though I have, I didn't raise my hand. He asked if anyone had any questions and before I could even blink, he clapped his hands together and walked away quickly to begin the backstage tour. I wish my brain was sharp enough to think that fast for a question.
There were a lot of Platinum VIPs in the group so it was hard to get close to Nick. We walked behind a black curtain where Nick stood on a black box so that everyone could see him.
I tried to snap a picture of Nick on my cell phone but I was quickly told by Mike the bodyguard to put my phone away. I just think it sucks so bad that pictures weren't allowed backstage but last year they were allowed. I was also disappointed that Justin didn't take many candid backstage pictures.
As Nick stood on the black box, he said that we were standing in an area where Kobe Bryant has probably stood during a Laker's game and that Kobe's sweat probably dropped onto the ground. Then he gave a concert spoiler and mentioned that Backstreet's wardrobe person, Nicole, was preparing the Laker jersey's they were going to wear at the concert.
Then he asked if anyone had any questions and a guy quickly asked, "Are you a Laker's fan?" Nick laughed, jumped off the box, and then ran off to the next stop.
We stopped in front of an open area. I don't even know what Nick was talking about it. There was a guy on a segway that Nick pointed out but I forgot who he was. There really wasn't anything interesting to see... until New Kids on the Block came up from behind us Platinum VIPs and they needed to walk by us. It was my first time seeing them up close. For some reason, I thought they'd be taller but they were a bit on the short side.
Donnie tried to shake hands with a girl in a wheelchair but she was looking back and finally she looked forward and shook hands with him. Then Donnie went over to Nick and wrapped his arm around him and said, "Nick is the best!"
Once again Nick asked for questions but before anyone could even blink he clapped his hands together again and walked away to continue the tour. We were lead to the back of the penis stage. I couldn't get to the front so I didn't completely hear what Nick said. I kind of wanted to scream at Nick to talk louder but I felt weird doing that.
Nick mentioned something about radiation and there was what looked like a venue security guard standing up on the penis stage. Nick said something like if we get too close and pass the guy we'd be exposed to radiation. Then he laughed and I think he said something like if you believe me then hahahahahaha. (Of course I could be totally wrong about this but it's what it sounded like.) Then he ran off to the final place of the backstage tour.
Nick and Justin led us to where their tour buses were parked so that each Platinum VIP could take an individual picture with Nick and he could sign our VIP pass. As I waited in line I had two things I wanted Nick to do:
1. Have Nick personalize my Platinum VIP pass.
2. Have him look like he was going to kiss me in my picture.
When it was my turn I say "Hi Nick" and I hand him my Platinum VIP pass. I asked him if he could personalize it so he asked me ,"What's your name?"
I say my name and spell it out for him. I made sure to enunciate my spelling because on my Platinum VIP pass from 2010, he spelled my name JOEELYN and I didn't realize he spelled it wrong until I walked away.
Nick heard me clearly this time and spelled my name correctly:
I felt like a complete dork but I pointed to my cheek and asked Nick to do a kissy face. I saw him lean in close to my cheek but I wasn't even sure if he heard exactly what I asked him. It went by too fast.
I was so relieved when I saw my picture and I saw that Nick did what I asked! I kind of wish I leaned in closer to him but I do like that the picture came out great and that I didn't blink.
I hoped that Nick would show us the catering area like he did in the previous Platinum VIP tour he did in 2010 but he didn't. I wanted to make a remark to him about him trying to be a vegetarian.
After the backstage tour, Platinum VIPs took the elevator up to the lobby level. We were given the option to either stay inside or go back outside. The disadvantage with going back outside was having to stand in the long line outside. I didn't want to stand in line so I had my ticket scanned.
I wasn't sure what to do yet. The lines to get food and merchandise were long so I stood against a wall and checked if I could get free wi-fi on my iPod touch. I found a free wi-fi connection and I spent some time on twitter.
After a couple of minutes of playing on Twitter, I got in line at McDonald's and bought a 10 piece chicken nuggets meal. It was my first meal of the day. I didn't want to eat too much before VIP because I was afraid I'd spill food or drinks on my concert clothes and I didn't want anything in my teeth.
Once I got my food, I tried to find a place to eat. While I looked, I spotted Anne Marie, a fellow Backstreet Boys fan I met on the cruise last year, standing in line to get merchandise. I called out her name and said "hi" to her. She was with her friend. We chatted for a bit.
After we chatted, she and her friend headed to their seats. I found a table where I ate my food at. While I ate I heard Jordin Sparks performing her set. I'm not a big fan of hers so I didn't care that I missed her performance.
Also, while I ate, these New Kids on the Block fans asked me to take their picture which I did and one of them said, "You're so nice!"
When I finished eating, I went to the merchandise stand. I wanted to buy a tour program and a key chain but they were sold out at that stand. I didn't want all that time I waited in line to go to waste so I asked if I could see the BSB necklace. I wanted to see if the chain was long or short. I saw that it was long. It turned out that the BSB necklace was the last one at that stand so I bought it for $20.
Behind that merchandise stand was another stand so I asked if there were any programs left. There weren't any so the employee told me to come back during intermission. I thought, What? There's no intermission at a Backstreet Boys concert. I then asked for a key chain. They had the key chain so I bought it for $5.
I was determined to get a program so I walked to the next merchandise stand and thankfully they had some. I bought one for $30.
Once I had all the merchandise I wanted, it was time for me to go to my seat. As I walked to my seat I noticed walking in front of me was DJ Lani. He was the DJ for the Backstreet Boys during their This is Us tour. I wanted to say something but I was too shy.
I went to my seat in section 101 row 4. I arrived just in time because the lights dimmed down about a minute after I found my seat. There was a slight downside to my seat. The floor was wet! Apparently someone had spilled their drinks all over the floor. I suspected the 2 tipsy girls who sat next to me had spilled their previous drinks.
When Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block hit the stage, the 2 tipsy girls jumped and I felt the spilled drinks splashing onto my shoes. I was so glad I didn't wear my fancy Chanel shoes or I would've had a heart attack. I chose to wear my cheap $16 Naturalizer wedges.
I haven't had lower level seats for a Backstreet Boys concert since the Black and Blue Tour in 2001. I'm used to seeing them from the floor section. I actually thought I wouldn't have a good view but I later discovered that LA gave me the best view from the lower level.
NKOTBSB during the "Single/The One" mashup:
Nick looking like he's going "WAH!":
Joey during "Please Don't Go Girl" on the tip of the penis stage:
When I watched my video of Backstreet Boys performing "10,000 Promises" I noticed that for a few seconds starting at 1:01 in the video I accidentally focused on the bottom half of Nick's body (his crotch & legs).
Backstreet Boys being dramatic during "10,000 Promises" in LA:
I like to think that Nick was looking right at my camera in this picture:
This is my favorite picture I took of Nick in LA (Doesn't it look like Nick farted a bright light?):
AJ looking snazzy:
During "I'll Never Break Your Heart," I saw that Brian picked one of the twins I know from attending previous Backstreet events for the serenade. I also noticed that AJ picked his good friend Mark to be serenaded. At one point during the serenade Brian came over and serenaded Mark too.
Brian serenading AJ's friend Mark:
There was one point where New Kids on the Block were on stage and Joey talks about how they like seeing fans from different generations. Before Joey talked, "California Love" played and the crowd cheered. I liked that they played that song just for the California shows.
I don't know what Nick was holding in this picture (is it a bra or thong or ???):
Jordan Knight during "Tonight":
I was already aware that during "Shape Of My Heart" Backstreet Boys would walk through the audience. I just didn't think they'd walk by the section I was in until I noticed the Staples Center security and employees putting rope along section 101. That's when I knew Backstreet would soon walk by. The girl next to me and I kept looking back to see when it would happen.
The lights dimmed down and I heard the beginning of "Shape of my Heart." When the lights turned on, the crowd screamed loud when they realized Backstreet was walking through the crowd.
At first I couldn't see anything but then I spotted Nick walking down the stairs. He was closer to section 102 which is on the right of section 101 so I couldn't reach out to him for a handshake and his bodyguard and Staples Center security surrounded him.
I thought Nick was the only Backstreet Boy that would walk by but I saw fans kept looking back and sure enough a few steps behind Nick is Brian. Brian was shaking hands with people.
I wasn't expecting anything more than a hand shake but when he got to where I stood, his beautiful blue eyes locked with mine and he opened his arms wide for a hug. I hugged him and while we hugged, he said to me, "It's good to see you."
I was floating on a cloud after he hugged me. That small gesture meant so much to me. I had seen him shake hands with most of the people in the crowd so I couldn't believe I got a hug instead of a handshake.
I tried to find videos of "Shape of my Heart" in LA on youtube but there weren't many. I found one video that nearly captured my moment. You can see me and Brian before he hugged me starting at 2:21 in the video. Right when the hug happened at 2:25 into the video, his bodyguard Drew and a Staples Center security guard block the view :( You can see my hand sort of pat Brian's shoulder.
Video of Brian walking through the crowd during "Shape of my Heart" (I tried to embed the video into my review but it wouldn't embed.)
Here are some screen caps of when Brian passed by me during "Shape Of My Heart" (I drew a red arrow over my head.):
I got video of Nick singing Prince's song "Raspberry Beret." I love anything berry related. My original fan fiction website was called Berry *Delicious* Nick Carter Stories. Nick gets a lot of brownie points for singing it!
Nick singing some of Prince's "Raspberry Beret":
Just when I thought the concert couldn't get any better, it does. Earlier in my review I had written about how while I waited in line for VIP that I heard Backstreet Boys rehearsing "I Want It That Way" over and over. I had a feeling something major would happen during the song so in the middle of their performance I began recording.
When the song reached Kevin's part, Backstreet Boys pause their dancing on the shaft of the penis stage. I noticed a figure walk onto the tip of the penis stage and I immediately knew it was Kevin! The roar of the crowd was earth shattering. The entire Staples Center is freaking out.
Kevin absorbed the screams and cheers and then went into his verse. As he sang , the other 4 Backstreet Boys joined him on the tip of the penis stage and they finished off the song. I noticed AJ and Nick looked so happy to have Kevin on stage again.
"I Want It That Way" with Kevin in LA:
After "I Want It That Way", Backstreet Boys joined New Kids on the Block to do the band and group introduction. It hit me that I was looking at the FULL NKOTBSB group. It wasn't 9 guys on stage but 10! I got to see with my own eyes something that previous NKOTBSB concert go'ers haven't seen before.
5 Backstreet Boys AND 5 New Kids On The Block together on stage in LA:
It looks like Kevin is going, Hmmmm... I surprised y'all didn't I?:
I don't know if Kevin recently got into martial arts but I noticed he kept bowing. He would put his fist into his palm and bow. I saw a moment where Joey mocked his bowing. They all introduce each other and when it's time for them to perform "Don't Turn Out The Lights" Kevin leaves the stage.
I thought Kevin wasn't going to come back on stage but once again I was surprised when he came out for the encore/mash-up of "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)"/"Hanging Tough"/"We Will Rock You". As Nick said in the Platinum VIP tour, Backstreet Boys came out wearing Laker's jerseys.
As I watched the video I took of the encore, I thought it was cute that the other Backstreet Boys would help Kevin out with the cues. I liked that Kevin looked like he had been doing the NKOTBSB show lots of times before even though it was his first and only appearance.
Encore/mash-up of "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)"/"Hanging Tough"/"We Will Rock You":
Having Kevin come on for the encore was a spectacular way to end the show. When it was over, I didn't know how the other 3 upcoming NKOTBSB shows I was attending would live up to this one.
I knew it was a long shot to see any NKOTBSB members but after the show I wandered off to where the buses were. On my way there, I wanted to take a picture of the Staples Center sign. A lady from Indonesia asked me if I could take her picture in front of the sign. I said I'd take her picture if she took mine.
Me in front of the Staples Center:
There were some fans hovering by the buses. I decided to see if I could get wi-fi so I could check Twitter. I was able to get wi-fi so I spent a few minutes tweeting and looking through tweets. Apparently, the news of Kevin on stage in LA caught on quickly and he and Backstreet Boys were trending on Twitter.
I also saw Mike, a fellow Backstreet fan, by the buses area too. He told me earlier he saw Kevin, Kristin (Kevin's wife), AJ, and Rochelle (AJ's fiance) by the buses area. He also showed me some pictures he took.
While we stood outside, Kristin walked by the group of fans and waved and blew a kiss at us.
Then out of nowhere a HUGE spider landed on my arm and I squealed and flicked it away. Out of all the places, the spider had to choose me to be its landing place!
It was past midnight and I had a long drive back to Northern California in the morning since I was going to the NKOTBSB show in San Jose. It seemed useless to wait by the buses so I told Mike that I had to go back to my hotel. Plus one of the Staples Center's security started to bitch out loud to the fans that it was pointless to be waiting and that nothing was going to happen. That was another cue I needed to leave.
It was bittersweet walking back to the hotel. I was happy that I got to have an amazing first NKOTBSB show but I was sad that I had to leave LA so soon. There were restaurants near the Staples Center that looked so alive and I wished I had the time to go browse. I saw Katsuya which is a restaurant celebrities go to. I told myself someday in the future I'll go and eat at Katsuya.
When I got back to my hotel, Kim was already there fast asleep. Before I went to sleep, I madly dashed around the hotel room as I packed my belongings. I learned from my dad that it's best to pack things up ahead of time so that when it's time to leave, just pick up everything and go.
It was about 2am by the time I got into bed. I had so much energy and I didn't know if I could fall asleep. I thought maybe I should have just driven home after the concert since I was so pumped up.
I eventually fell asleep for about 4 hours and I woke up around 6am. I hit the road around 7:30am and I hoped that I could stay awake on the long drive home. I only stopped once on my drive home. I stopped at a Shell gas station in Castaic. I used the Shell gift card I earned from MyPoints to fill up my tank with $35.46 in free gas.
I hit horrible traffic along I-5 where the two lanes became a single lane. I was in traffic for nearly an hour. I thought that I wouldn't make it home in time for the concert. My thought was wrong because even with traffic, I arrived home earlier than expected. It was around 1pm when I arrived home. I was so exhausted.
I checked my e-mail and Twitter. The Backstreet Boys Twitter account tweeted that there were a limited amount of VIP's available for the San Jose show. I tweeted them back saying "OMG don't tempt me."
To my surprise the Backstreet Boys Twitter account tweeted me back with "Too late!"
I couldn't decide if I wanted to buy VIP for San Jose or not. I already did Platinum VIP in LA where I had Nick as the Platinum guide and I had won Silver VIP for Las Vegas the next day. Then there was Anaheim coming up and if I did VIP in San Jose then I definitely couldn't do it in Anaheim.
After doing some calculations with my finances, I decided to resist temptation and not do any VIP in San Jose. It felt weird not doing VIP at the show closest to me but it was the best for my wallet.
I was so happy I was seeing NKOTBSB in San Jose because they haven't done a concert in San Jose since 2001! Another reason I was happy was my neighbors were throwing a party and I didn't want to suffer through listening to them blast loud music.
I almost brought my dad to the concert with me but I didn't want to pay for his ticket. He ended up going to the movies to see Transformers 3 instead.
At around 5:30pm I left the house for the concert. I felt very late since I knew doors would open at 6:30pm. I expected traffic in the parking lot. I stopped by the Shell gas station near my house to use up the remaining $14.54 of my Shell gift card I earned from MyPoints.
When I arrived to the HP Pavilion I expected a long line to pay for parking and that I'd park in far space. When I got there, it was the total opposite. There was 1 car in front of me and the parking lot wasn't full. There were lots of open spaces. Even though I felt late, I ended up being early. I found a parking space and I waited in the scorching sun for about an hour.
There was such a long line to get inside the venue which I didn't understand because the concert was assigned seating. After about fifteen minutes of watching the line, I decided to get in line since it seemed like the line was never ending. It was interesting seeing the different people in line. I liked trying to see who was a Backstreet Boys fan and who was a New Kids on the Block fan.
From my perspective it seemed I saw more New Kids on the Block fans wearing band shirts than Backstreet Boys fans. As a Backstreet Boys fan, I'm not into wearing band shirts in public. I even saw a bald guy wearing a red shirt with "NICK" was written on it. I thought that was funny.
Even though in my perspective I saw more New Kids on the Block fans, there were 2 people behind me in line talking about how it seemed there were more Backstreet Boys fans around. One of them even said that New Kids on the Block probably needed to tour with Backstreet Boys so that they could play in a venue like HP Pavilion.
The venue was packed when I got inside. I noticed some fans wearing Backstreet Boys VIP passes and of course there's a part of me that wished I could have done VIP in San Jose. Before I went to my seat, I got hit with sudden hunger. Being surrounded by food and people eating food didn't help.
I didn't want to buy food but the hunger in my tummy proved to be strong so I gave into temptation. I bought popcorn chicken, french fries, and a soda. I knew I was consuming a ton of calories Nick Carter wouldn't approve of but mmmmmmm the food hit the spot especially when I dipped the popcorn chicken into barbecue sauce. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.
While I ate, I could hear the opening act, Ashlynne Huff, doing her set. I had no interest in watching her so I took my time eating. After I ate, I went the bathroom, and then I checked to see if the venue had free wi-fi. I found a weak connection but I was able to log on to Twitter so I just looked through some tweets and then headed down to my seat.
The San Jose show was the first time I had a floor seat for the NKOTBSB tour. I bought a Platinum ticket off Ticketmaster for $135 which was higher than face value but still a better deal than the scalpers on Stubhub and eBay. I was in section 8 row 6 seat 3. This was close to the tip of the penis stage.
My view was okay but since I'm a short person at 5'2" there were times it was difficult to see. Plus it didn't help that the girls in front of me put their arms up a lot. That's why I'm glad that the tip of the penis stage had the ability to rise. That definitely helped make my view better when the stage rose.
Backstreet Boys during "Larger Than Life" (le sigh, I just love Nick's arms & tattoos):
Nick looks like he's about to beat the crap out of AJ:
This is my favorite picture of Nick I took in San Jose. I love his tongue and I just want to do obscene things with him O-:-)
This is my 2nd favorite picture of Nick I took in San Jose (I just want to lick his bicep):
I love wet Nick and I want to get wet with him. I also love what he's doing with his right hand:
I love Nick's profile:
A happy Jon from New Kids on the Block:
I loved it whenever Backstreet Boys or New Kids on the Block would say "San Jose." They don't come to the Bay Area often so I felt a lot of pride having both groups perform where I live.
During "Tonight," New Kids on the Block went into the audience. Jordan stepped onto a black box near the section I was in and Donnie was in a nearby section. I remember hearing a Backstreet Boys fan say out loud, "I wish Backstreet Boys would do that!" I almost wanted to say that Backstreet does come into the audience too but I didn't want to spoil it for her.
I didn't really see much of Backstreet when they came into the audience during "Shape of my Heart." They didn't walk near the section I was in.
Brian and Joey during the band introduction:
Backstreet Boys at the end of the San Jose show during "We Will Rock You":
When the concert was over, I really didn't want to go home. I tried to call my dad to see if he wanted to meet at In 'n Out but he didn't answer the phone. I let the parking lot traffic go for about 30 minutes until I started my car.
I usually take the back exit out of HP Pavilion on Julian Street but this time I thought it'd be faster to leave through the front exit. I was wrong! Traffic at the front of the venue was horrible and I regretted not taking my usual exit. I learned my lesson and I will exit through Julian Street the next time I go to HP Pavilion.
As I sat in traffic I blasted my Backstreet Boys "This is Us" album. Yes, I was one of those obnoxious people who blasted music LOUD after the concert. When I got home, I noticed that my dad wasn't home. I didn't want to go inside the house yet so I tried calling him again and he finally answered. We decided to meet at In 'n Out for a midnight dinner. I ordered a protein style cheeseburger, fries, and a drink.
I knew I was procrastinating on packing for Vegas but I wasn't ready to go home yet. I just wanted to relax for a moment before diving into the stress of packing.
It was around 1am when I got home. It didn't help that the moment I got home, my mom got mad at me and my dad. She was mad because I had called home earlier asking for either her or my dad to answer the phone but no one answered so I hung up. She was mad because she didn't have my cell phone number and she couldn't call me back. It was just a bunch of unnecessary drama I didn't need the night before leaving for Vegas.
Drama aside, I took a quick shower since it was a hot day and I did a lot of sweating. After my shower, I packed my bag for Vegas to the best of my ability. Then I tried to get as much sleep as I could before my morning flight.
It was already hot when I woke up Sunday morning and it was only going to get hotter in Vegas. My dad dropped me off at San Jose International Airport. I feel like a pro now going through airport security. The process doesn't seem tedious anymore.
After going through security, I found my gate and waited to board the plane. I had about an hour before my flight so I used the airport's wi-fi to check Twitter. I saw Nick tweeted that he loved golf so much that he was doing it on the hottest day in Vegas. I jokingly replied to him that I guess I'd be sweating him with him later in Vegas.
I flew with Southwest airlines and they're an airline that doesn't have a great reputation for comfort. I found an open seat in the back and I almost didn't have a place to put my carry-on bag. A flight attendant kindly cleared a space that held airplane snack baskets and let me put my carry-on bag there. The seat was uncomfortable but I got what I paid for since the flight only cost me $49.70.
I arrived to Las Vegas around 11:40am'ish. The moment I got off the plane, I saw slot machines in the airport which I thought was funny. Jaime, the Backstreet fan who I had made plans with on Twitter, was still en route to Vegas from Phoenix, AZ. Apparently, her flight was delayed a few minutes so I waited for her near the baggage claim area.
What I'm about to type is a bit on the TMI side. While I waited for Jaime, I went to the bathroom. When I reached for the toilet paper, I couldn't figure out where the roll started. I kept rolling it but I couldn't pull any out. After about a minute of rolling the toilet paper I began to get frustrated. I couldn't walk out of the bathroom without wiping!
Since I couldn't find the start point of the toilet paper, I decided to try to rip it so I could pull it out. However, the toilet paper wouldn't rip! This was the most frustrating roll of toilet paper I have met in my entire life! I regretted coming into this bathroom stall.
After prodding and pulling the damn toilet paper for a minute it finally rips and I could pull out the toilet paper!
I go back to the baggage claim area to wait for Jamie. After about two minutes, Jaime spotted me and we took a taxi to the Gold Coast Hotel and Casino. It's about 2pm by the time we get there. VIP check-in was 3:45pm but I wanted to be there earlier since we had to find a taxi to get there and it was a long walk from the lobby of Mandalay Bay to the venue's box office.
Jaime and I rushed to get ready and it's a bit past 3pm when we're done. We found a taxi and headed to the Mandalay Bay where the concert was happening. It was then that I realized how expensive cabs were in Vegas as I watched the meter grow. For a short ride it was around $10 or more for 2 people.
Before we got to Mandalay Bay, Jaime read on Twitter that the VIP check-in time was moved to 4:30pm which was a huge relief to us since we didn't have to rush.
When we got to the box office there's fans scattered around but there's no sign of VIP check-in anywhere. I wanted to sit down so Jaime and I walked toward Starbucks which is near the box office. That's when Laurel spots me and she tells me that she just saw Donnie Wahlberg walk by and point at her Mac Pac bag.
That meant either Jaime and I were probably walking behind Donnie and we didn't notice or that Donnie was walking behind us and we didn't notice.
I got in contact with Naomi, who is my cruise roommate for the upcoming Backstreet Boys cruise in December. She told me she was at Starbucks and I told that I was at Starbucks too! Then I thought what if there's more than one Starbucks in the casino?
After exchanging a few texts we finally found each other and meet for the first time in person. I told her "Happy Birthday" since it was her birthday. She was spending it in Las Vegas by seeing the concert.
Naomi, Jaime, Laurel, a fan Laurel knows who I don't remember who her name was, and Rose, who I previously knew from Livedaily, all hang out for a while until we see some activity by the box office so we shift over there.
Someone in a suit announced that the New Kids On The Block I Love All Access VIPs needed to line up on the right side facing the venue doors so all of the Backstreet Boys VIPs automatically lined up on the left side. It felt like a battle of the lines to see which VIP line had the most people. It looked about the same amount to me.
Jaime had planned to buy a Gold VIP and I planned to upgrade my Silver VIP win to gold. Jaime went first and she was told that since the VIP was packed Ground Control was not selling anymore.
I was told the same thing by the bald guy from Ground Control. Eddie from Ground Control apologized to me and said they can't let anyone upgrade because of the amount of people already in VIP. I was disappointed but on the bright side I got to save money.
Bald guy from Ground Control tells me to wait off to the side of the check-in table since I was a VIP winner. There were 2 other fans, a guy and a girl, there waiting. Justin is sitting at the end of the check-in table. He whipped out his iPhone, did some finger scrolling and asked each of us for our name. Once he verified our names, we stood in another line.
The girl who is a fellow contest winner then strikes up a conversation with me. She told me that she needed me to be her buddy. She was by herself and I was by myself so I was glad that she was friendly enough to join forces with me.
It was her first time doing VIP and it was her first time meeting Backstreet Boys. I told her that winning VIP was a great way to meet Backstreet for the first time. She said that she was looking around on the Backstreet Boys fan club and thought "what's this?" when she saw the VIP contest. She entered and she won. The fans in front of us in line also struck up conversation with us so we passed the time chatting with each other.
VIP was running late like always. As I stood in line I recognized two different Mandalay Bay employees from last time I was there in 2010. One was a man I talked to last year when Backstreet Boys did their concert at The Beach in Mandalay. The other was a woman. Last year when Nick threw his rose out to the audience during "I'll Never Break Your Heart," a rose petal went one way while the rose went another way. She picked up the rose petal and looked at me. I stuck my hand out and she gave me Nick's rose petal.
The lines finally started to move into the venue. Once we were in the lobby area, the line stopped again and I stood in front of the merchandise stand. As much as I'd love more merchandise, it just wasn't in my budget, so I resisted.
The line moved again and when I'm inside the stage area, I sat in either row 6 or 7. When the VIPs were all seated, AJ rolls by on his Segway. He waved and said "hi" to everyone.
AJ on his Segway during Las Vegas' VIP:
Backstreet Boys then made their way to the stage. Howie is on stage right, AJ is next to him. Nick sits in the stool that's in front of where I'm sitting. Brian is on stage left.
Howie holding a beverage:
Brian wearing interesting shorts... (the shorts make his legs and butt look wide):
AJ and Nick with his sexy knees:
Nick is wearing a white hat, white t-shirt, and white shorts. (Was this his way of trying to look pure when we all know he's very dirty? :p) I personally cannot wear an all white outfit. I'd end up spilling something on it or getting it dirty some other way.
Nick did an eye scan of the audience. His eyes arrived in my direction and paused. I could be very wrong but it felt like his eyes were looking right into mine. I held my gaze at him and I waited for him to look away but he didn't. I felt like I was engaged in a staring contest with him. We kept this up for a few seconds until he smirked, pointed in my direction, and then looked away. I joked with myself that Nick and I totally eye-fucked.
I became fascinated with Nick's knees during VIP. They just look so good.
The first song they sang was "More Than That." During the song, Brian sings, "Howie hurry up." I moved my camera to Howie's direction and he was in the middle of signing the 8x10 pictures given to Gold and Platinum VIPs.
Also, Nick must have been bored because toward the end of the song Nick stood up from his stool, walked over to AJ, and read whatever was on the back of his shirt for a few seconds. I was impressed. He can sing AND read at the same time.
Backstreet Boys singing "More Than That" during Vegas' VIP:
The second song they sang was "Drowning." Nick must have read my mind because I didn't want to hear "Drowning" again. Before they started to sing it he seemed disappointed that they were singing it. He said something along the lines of he wanted to sing something different and that they always sing that song. I totally agree with him! At most VIPs they either sing "Drowning" or "Siberia." I'm glad they didn't do "Siberia" in Vegas BUT I guess it's either that or "Drowning."
I did love that Brian changed the lyrics to "Drowning" a bit. He sang, "Girl you leave me breathless, that's without oxygen."
Backstreet Boys performing "Drowning" at Vegas' VIP:
I don't remember much of the Q&A. I think someone asked AJ about touring with 'NSync too. He pointed to the projection screens that flanked the stage and said something along the lines of they were "NKOTBSB" not 'NSync/Bsb.
Then Brian chimed in and said, "Ya know what NKOTBSB stands for? New Kids on the Backstreet Boys. It gets kind of heavy." He then hunched over and pretended that the New Kids were on his back.
Also, Howie mentioned that one of the VIPs told him that he/she heard on the radio that NKOTBSB stands for "No knocking over the beer stupid biatch." Then AJ said he was looking for the best NKOTBSB meaning and to tweet him if any of us had one.
In the middle of VIP a large group of people entered and sat down in the section next to the Bsb VIPs. It was like another set of VIPs but I knew they weren't fan club VIPs. I assumed they were radio/contest winners.
After the Q&A, the people in the large group get their pictures taken. When they're done, the Silver VIPs line up. Drew, Brian's bodyguard, recognizes me as he hole punches my VIP pass. He greets me with a bright smile and says, "Hello again."
I greet him back and ask him, "How are you?"
He tells me he's tired. Then I tell him, "I actually won this VIP from the fan club."
He tells me, "Congratulations" and then moves on to hole punch the other VIP passes.
Silver VIPs are only allowed a group picture which meant taking a picture with other fans who you may or may not know. In my case, I did not know the fans in my VIP picture except for the fan who wanted to be my VIP buddy who I had talked to earlier and another fan who I stood in line with who I discovered later her name was Shauna.
I wanted to stand next to Brian in the picture since I already had a picture with Nick in LA but it went by too fast. I ended up standing in the middle with Nick behind me. I found it ironic that when I wanted to stand near Brian I was near Nick because I usually want to stand next to Nick.
Handshakes were only allowed again. When I shook Brian's hand, he recognized me again and said, "It's good to see you."
Justin snaps the picture and it's all over in an instant. Since Brian is at the end, I say, "Bye Brian" and he tells me "Bye" back.
Me in the silver top in my Silver VIP picture (I didn't wear silver on purpose. It was pure coincidence):
The first thing I noticed about my silver VIP picture is I am the shortest person! I do feel bad for the 2 fans on the left side of the picture who didn't even get to stand near a Backstreet Boy. I didn't even notice there were 7 fans in the picture until Anne Marie mentioned it to me on Twitter.
Silver VIPs were escorted back out. The Mandalay Bay venue didn't give Silver VIPs the option to have their tickets scanned and stay inside. There was a HUGE crowd standing outside waiting to go through security. I didn't feel like standing in line. It had been hours since I had anything to eat or drink so I went to Starbucks. Plus I had a Starbucks gift card so I didn't have to worry about spending any money.
As I walked to Starbucks, I felt my Silver VIP getting looks from the people standing in line to get inside the venue. I even heard one girl say, "Lucky!" I thought it was funny that my Silver VIP pass got looks but when I had my Platinum VIP pass in LA I didn't get any looks.
There was also a long line at Starbucks but it wasn't as long as the lines in front of the Mandalay venue. I ordered a tall Cafe Vanilla frappuccino. When I got my drink, I sat down at a table. I was lucky to find a place to sit since the place was so busy. I had a S'mores Crunch Bar in my bag so I ate that along with my frapp. As I ate and drank, I decided to check Twitter.
About five minutes later, a lady asks me if she could sit down in a spare chair at the table I was sitting at. I told her she could so she sat down. She told me that she was meeting her friends but she wanted to sit down first. I saw her rubbing her belly and that's when I noticed she was pregnant! I hadn't even noticed when I first looked at her.
She was wearing a shirt that said "New Kid On The Block" with a picture of a toy block and an arrow pointing to her belly. I thought it was funny that out of all the tables in Starbucks, it was mine that the pregnant lady picked to sit with. I was immediately reminded of Viola in my "Fantasy/Reality" fan fiction story. I wondered if this was some sort of sign to use this encounter with a pregnant lady as research for my story.
The Pregnant Lady told me that she wasn't even supposed to be at the concert. Her doctor had placed her on bed rest very recently. Her husband didn't even want her to go but she wanted to see NKOTBSB with her friends. She was over 8 months pregnant and she was about to pop at any moment.
I observed her actions and mannerisms and I tried to compare them with how I've written a pregnant Viola. I noticed Pregnant Lady touched and rubbed her belly a lot. There were times she took deep breaths.
She told me that she was having a girl. She said that her baby was sleeping since she wasn't kicking and was calm. She said earlier that the baby girl was kicking a lot.
Since she was wearing a "New Kid On The Block" related shirt, I assumed she was a huge New Kids fan. When I made small talk with her I kept the conversation New Kids related since I didn't think she was a Backstreet fan.
I asked her who her favorite New Kid was and she replied, "The divorced one." She didn't know any of New Kids on the Block's names. I don't even know who "the divorced one" is.
Then she tells me that she's more of a Backstreet Boys fan than a New Kids on the Block fan. I totally assumed wrong by thinking she was a huge New Kids on the Block fan by her shirt.
Lesson: Don't judge a fan by the shirt they wear! I told her that I'm more of a Backstreet Boys fan than a New Kids on the Block fan too. Then I somehow let slip to her that I love Backstreet Boys so much that I'm going on the cruise in December.
She then got in contact with her friend and goes to find her. Before she left, she thanked me for letting her sit down. Pregnant Lady was very nice and I'm glad to have met her. She definitely gave me a little inspiration for writing Pregnant Viola. She helped reassure me that I'm on the right track with how I'm writing how Viola feels with the belly rubbing, needing to sit down, the baby kicking, and being on bed rest.
I finished off my frappuccino, went to the bathroom, and then go to the venue's entrance. There are still long lines outside the venue but they're thinner than before and move quickly. After I passed through security I walked to my seat. The screens inside the venue were playing Brian's "Welcome Home" music video as I walked down the steps to the floor.
I found my seat which is next to Jaime's who is already sitting down to my left. Our seats are right on the aisle by the tip of the penis stage. We discovered that we're 1 row closer than we originally thought. Our tickets said we were in row H. The seating chart online said row C was actually row 1 so I thought row H meant row 6. It turns out that row H was actually row 5!
Seated to my right are a young girl and her mother. I discovered that they both flew from Australia to Las Vegas! They were so cute with their Australian accents. Once again I'm wondering if this is another "Fantasy/Reality" sign because I started to think about how it would be like if Viola took the twins as young children to a Backstreet Boys concert.
I overheard the Australian mom tell her daughter that Johnny is standing near our section. I'm aware from Twitter that Johnny is someone who works closely with the New Kids on the Block and he helps arrange their after parties. He was chatting with a few girls. One of the girls is a short Asian chick.
A tall chick in a red dress approaches the Asian chick and they begin their own conversation. She had her back toward our section so I couldn't see her face. After a few minutes, the tall chick turns around to take a picture with the Asian chick and I quickly recognized her as Lauren, Nick's girlfriend.
I was surprised that tall chick in a red dress was Lauren because she looked so much thinner than the last time I last saw her on the cruise in 2010. It looked like she lost half her weight. I know it's wrong to assume but it also looked like she did something to her face. I don't know if it's botox/fillers or getting her lips plumped but her face just seemed so stiff and cat-like.
For a split second I considered calling out her name but it wasn't meant to be because right when Lauren and the short Asian chick are finished taking their picture, the lights dimmed down and she walked away.
A group called Midnight Red was the opening act. They're like a young wannabe boyband. Nothing about them really stood out to me musically. They did have very interesting hairstyles. One had his hair off to the side. That had to take a lot of hairspray. Thankfully Midnight Red's set is short and they're off the stage after about 15 minutes.
The show begins and I'm in my element again. I love the energy Backstreet Boys bring to a concert.
Nick looking intense:
Nick looking delicious as he sings:
Nick looking more intense:
I like to think that AJ was blowing me a kiss:
I love how Backstreet looks like they're all the same height here:
Joey during "Please Don't Go Girl":
When New Kids on the Block are on stage and talking about the different generations in the audience "Viva Las Vegas" by Elvis is playing. Then it got me wondering what songs have they been playing in the other places they've visited? I know in California they played "California Love."
Before New Kids On the Block performed their song "Tonight," Joey mentioned that someone would kill him if he didn't bring him on stage and it was past this someones bedtime.
A little boy is then brought onto stage and Joey mentions that it's his son named Griffin. Once again my inspiration is tickled when I think about what if Nick does the same thing to the twins in my "Fantasy/Reality" story.
Griffin is so adorable! At the beginning of the song Joey tried to get Griffin to sing. He sang along the best he could. The other 4 New Kids went into the audience while Joey and Griffin stayed on the tip of the penis stage.
I found this video of "Tonight" on youtube:
I could see myself at some points of the video. This is the best screen cap I could get. I put a red arrow to where I am.
I just want to pinch Griffin's cheeks. He's so cute!
I love how Griffin's head is at the bottom of this picture:
After "Tonight" was "Shape of my Heart" where Backstreet Boys goes through the audience to get on stage. Nick and Brian passed by my section again. Nick ran by so fast so I didn't get to shake his hand or get a hug. Brian went by fast too but I had my hand out so he slapped it when he passed by.
Backstreet Boys with the backs toward me:
My feet start to hurt around the time Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block introduce each other. I rest my right knee on my chair as I stood to relieve some of the throbbing in my feet.
Brian singing like Joey to get the girls:
Brian looks like he's crying over Joey:
I love how Nick looks so happy to be in a Knight sandwich:
Nick looking gangsta, whut, whut, yo:
Donnie representing Boston:
Brian representing Orlando:
I wonder what they're pointing at:
After the concert, Jaime and I attempt to walk to Planet Hollywood for the Backstreet Boys after party because we saw the taxi line in front of the Mandalay Bay was long. Despite my feet feeling like a million bricks fell on it, I do my best to walk.
We had no idea when the after party would start. I feared that we were going to miss the whole thing and that I had wasted $20 on nothing. When we reached the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino I saw a sign that pointed to the Monorail. I thought it was best we take the Monorail to the nearest station in front of Planet Hollywood.
It turns out that the Monorail station is all the way in the back of the MGM Grand! The sign should have indicated that. Jaime and I were already deep into the casino so it was too late to turn around.
After crossing the entire MGM Grand, we found the Monorail station and board it. Even though the ride was about 5 minutes, it felt SO good to sit down. My feet hurt so bad! We got out at the Paris/Bally's stop and it's another long walk to the front of the casino. Once we're out, I could see the Planet Hollywood across the street. We were finally close to our destination!
We cross the street and pass by the Sugar Factory. I noticed a huge picture of Kim Kardashian in the store's front window display. I didn't find out till a few hours later that Nick and Howie were inside the Sugar Factory before they went to the after party at Planet Hollywood! If I had known I would've hovered there.
Upon entering Planet Hollywood I braced myself for disappointment. It was already past midnight and I had no idea if the after party had started or if Nick and Howie were there yet. When we reached the Gallery night club's entrance I noticed there weren't many people outside. I spotted Jamie who I met when we went to see Backstreet Boys on Bonnie Hunt together in 2009. I asked her for an update and she told me that nothing happened yet. I was so relieved!
Jaime and I entered the club at around 1am. It doesn't feel very full. We stood near the edge of the dance floor and wait... and wait... and wait. Once again I had felt late but it turned out I was very early.
My feet were throbbing so I leaned against a block type looking thing to relieve the pain. Above the dance floor was what looked like a pirate's net that had 3 girls in black bra's and black panties. They were rolling around the net and grabbing onto the outer poles while dancing, grinding, and gyrating.
At one point I saw one girl lie down on the net and another girl get on top of her as they practically dry humped each other. I thought, Am I watching a live lesbian porn? I even caught one guy looking pretty pervy as he filmed them being naughty on his digital camera.
Around 2am, I spotted some action by the DJ booth. Nick, Lauren, Howie, Leigh, their bodyguards Q, Mike, & Josh, Eddie from Ground Control, Justin the photographer, and the rest of their extensive entourage entered the club through a door behind the DJ's booth.
They all hung out at a table in front of the DJ's booth. Within minutes they're all drinking and I'm beginning to wonder if I had paid $20 watch them drink. I noticed Lauren was double fisting and I thought damn, girl. I personally don't want to drink with my hands full. I like to have one hand free. Plus I want to finish my drink first before even considering getting another one.
I was able to get near the VIP area along with other fans for a short while but then we were kicked out by the club's security to clear the walk way. I noticed that Nick kept staring at the girls in the net above the dance floor. He was clearly hypnotized by their girl on girl action.
Nick looking up at the undies girls frolicking up in the net (a few minutes after being in the club he put his hood on. I guess he thought it made him look cool?):
At one point I see Nick wrap his arm around Howie as he pointed up to the undies girls in the net with a big grin on his face.
Nick goes into the DJ booth and gets on the mic to pump up the crowd. Also while on the mic, Nick said something like, "There's people up in a net doing shit!" Then he pointed to his left and said, "There's people over there doing shit!"
Howie then goes into the DJ booth with Nick and he sings his solo single "100." I couldn't see Howie at all from where I was standing. I had a decent view of Nick so while Howie sang I did my best to focus my camera on him. When I watched my video I saw that even though I focused on Nick, Lauren blocked some of his face while she danced with her hands up in the air.
Since I wasn't close to the DJ booth, I had to stick my hand up in the air with my camera while I filmed. My arm hurt but I was determine to record.
A very shakey, unfocused, kind of Nick centered, Lauren's hands block Nick's face video of Howie performing "100" in Vegas:
Right after Howie finished singing "100" my camera battery died. I thought, OMG Nick don't sing, while I switched my dead battery for a charged one. Thankfully he didn't sing.
Nick got back on the mic and he said that he wanted to play a special song for us. It was "Let It Rock" by Kevin Rudolf featuring Lil Wayne. Nick is so obsessed with that song. He had this song played at the after party in Winnipeg last year.
A few minutes passed by and Nick got back on the mic. He pointed to the net above the dance floor which he called "a circle." He said there's some "naughty shit" happening there and that what was happening there was hot.
Nick then went into singing his song "So Far Away" which is off his "I'm Taking Off" solo record. I recently fell in love with this song so I was happy to hear it live. I also thought it was so fitting he sang it because I was literally so far away from him during the performance. It was good Nick wore white because it made it easier to find him in my camera's view finder as I recorded the performance.
Nick performing "So Far Away" at the Vegas after party:
After "So Far Away" I hoped Nick would perform more songs. I know at some after parties he sang 2 or 3 songs. Unfortunately after "So Far Away" he said that he would sing one more song. The last song he sang was the remix of his current single "Just One Kiss."
Nick performing the remix of "Just One Kiss":
While he performed "Just One Kiss" these white guys in a table near me were dancing. Whenever Nick would sing the line "just one kiss" one of the white guys would sing it too. One of them even tried to be in the video I was filming but I had my camera straight up in the air so I didn't catch them on film.
When he finished singing, he went back to the table in front of the DJ booth to continue hanging out. I could tell he was more loose and he was bursting with energy as he started to get into the songs the DJ was playing. He was dancing a little bit and bopping his head to the beats.
At one point I noticed Nick put his left hand on the back of Lauren's neck and it looked like he was trying to strangle and choke her. I'm still trying to understand why he did that.
It was around 3am and I was very tired and I was very grumpy. I just wanted to go back to the hotel and sleep. My feet were practically numb. I was amazed I hadn't crumbled to the ground yet. I saw people getting pictures with Nick in the VIP section and it killed me because I wished I could have gone into VIP to get a picture with him. However, I reassured myself that it was okay and I didn't need another picture with Nick since I have a lot already.
Jaime and I hung out for a few minutes before I couldn't take the pain in my feet anymore. I had to leave the club to sit somewhere. When Jaime and I left the club, I spotted a stack of Backstreet Boys after party postcards on a table. However, there was a bouncer and a girl in front of the table and I wasn't sure if I could take one. I didn't want to get yelled at so I thought never mind and continued walking.
I spotted a vacant slot machine and sat on the chair. My feet thanked me the moment I sat down. I kept my eye on the table that had the Backstreet Boys after party postcards. Once the bouncer and the girl walked away, I got up and grabbed as many postcards as I could and went back to sit down. I figured these postcards are the least I could get for spending $20 for the after party.
While Jaime and I sat at the slot machines to rest our feet, a group of random guys approached us and tried to flirt with us. They weren't even cute. They tried to get us both to put money into the slot machine. One of them even said that he was our good luck charm and that we'd win because he was there. I politely declined and refused to put money into the slot machine.
First off, I was grumpy so I wasn't in the mood to spend money.
Second, I didn't want to waste money.
Third, I was paranoid that once I whipped out my wallet they might rob me.
Fourth, as I mentioned earlier they weren't even cute guys. They were like these skinny, short, barely college aged guys. If they were on Nick Carter's level of looks then maybe, just maybe I would have played into their silly game.
They eventually walked away when they realized that Jaime and I weren't going to put money into the slot machine. I didn't want to risk them coming back to bother us again so I felt it was time to head back to the hotel we were staying at.
When we left Planet Hollywood, I loved how the Bellagio looked from across the street. I took out my cell phone and took a picture of it and posted it to Twitter.
Jaime and I walked along the Vegas strip until we reached what I think is the Cosmopolitan hotel. The sidewalk in front of it was closed. There were a lot of police cars were parked with their lights flashing. I even saw a Las Vegas CSI truck. There was a stinky smell that surrounded the area and it smelt like death.
Jaime and I decided to turn around and walk back toward the Bellagio. We tried to figure out how we're going to get a cab. Jaime called a cab company. The person on the phone told her there's cabs in front of the Bellagio so we walked up a long path to the front of the Bellagio. We got into a cab and begin our journey back to the hotel. On the ride back, we passed by a car that had crashed and fallen into a ditch. We suspected it was because of drunk driving.
On the walk back to the hotel room we passed by a vending machine in the hallway. I immediately bought a diet pepsi for $2.00. I needed something to drink so badly! The walk to our hotel room seemed never ending! I was so over walking!
I immediately sat down on the bed the moment we got inside our room at around 4am. Once again I'm hit with bittersweet feelings. I'm sad that the Backstreet Boys portion of our trip was over but I was happy that I had the opportunity to go to Vegas to see them.
I eventually fell asleep and got a much needed rest. It was about 10am when I woke up. Jaime and I decided to explore the Vegas strip. I wanted to go to places I haven't visited before.
I've never been inside the Bellagio so I wanted to go there to explore. Plus I had heard great reviews on the buffet in the Bellagio so I wanted to go there to eat.
We take the Gold Coast Casino's free shuttle to the strip because taxi's are so expensive. The shuttle stopped in front of Bills on the strip which worked out perfectly for us since it is close to the Bellagio.
Upon entering the Bellagio we were met with high end boutiques like Louis Vuitton and Gucci. Then I saw the boutique of my favorite luxury brand Chanel. Apparently their boutique was undergoing construction so there was a temporary boutique open.
In front of the construction was a huge Chanel logo that I had to have my picture taken in front of. I was carrying my first Chanel bag, the black petite shopping tote that I got in 2007 from my parents when I made the dean's list in college.
Jaime and I go inside the boutique and I'm just in Chanel heaven. I wished I could have bought something but my budget didn't allow it. I could only look and admire all the delicious pieces that surrounded me. I did notice that most of the bags inside the boutique were seasonal bags. I didn't see many classic bags. I personally like the look of the classic bags more than the seasonal bags.
After visiting Chanel, we look for the buffet. Once we find it, we see there's a long line outside of it. Our wait time was approximately 30 minutes. I felt like I was in line at an amusement park.
Since it was the 4th of July, the Bellagio buffet had a special 4th of July buffet. The cost was about $36 per person. I know that's very expensive but it's not everyday I'm in Vegas so I wanted to try it out.
I hadn't been to a buffet since my aunt's funeral in February so I pig out. I ate as much as I could. It felt so good to indulge in the world of gluttony for a while. The food was decent. I didn't love it but I didn't hate it. We went during lunch time so most of the food was more breakfast and brunch related.
I liked that their waffles had a B on them. B stood for Bellagio but in my world it either stood for my last name, Bringas, or Backstreet Boys. I wished they had a bigger sushi selection. They mostly had California rolls rather than sushi. I loved their Tiramisu cake.
After over an hour of indulging myself, I had entered a food coma. Despite that, I was ready to see more of the Las Vegas strip. When Jaime and I left the Bellagio we passed by the Sugar Factory near Planet Hollywood. Since Nick, Lauren, and Howie went there the previous night, Jaime wanted to check it out.
The Sugar Factory was filled with lots of different candies and treats. They even had a place where to buy ice cream. I saw a banana split cost almost $10! Even though it was expensive lots of people were buying them since it was a hot day.
Off to the side of the Sugar Factory was an eating area. On the wall are pictures of celebrities with Sugar Factory items. I saw a huge picture of Paris Hilton on the wall and I wondered if Nick and Lauren had to walk by it. Hell I wondered if Nick was reminded of Paris since the Paris Hotel & Casino was near the Sugar Factory.
Since I had never been inside the Paris Hotel & Casino, Jaime wanted to take me there to explore. Upon entering I noticed the interior was similar to the Venitian's. The ceiling has blue skies and clouds to imitate the atmosphere of the real Paris, France. The shops inside also are designed to look like Parisian store fronts.
After exploring Paris, Jaime and I decided to go to the Venitian because we wanted to ride the Gondola. Riding the Gondola in the Venitian had been on my long bucket list of things I wanted to do in my life.
Jaime and I decided to buy a Monorail day pass to spare our feet from walking from Paris to the Venetian. We took the Monorail to the Harrah's casino since it's the closest station to the Venetian.
By the time we get to the Venetian my feet hurt so we took a break from walking and sat on some stairs near a bridge where the Gondolas pass.
I took a picture of my view from the stairs inside the Venetian:
Once my feet feel better we tried to find the place to embark on the Gondola ride. We finally found the boarding place but we had to buy a ticket first. A private Gondola ride cost $65 and a general admission ticket cost $16. Jaime and I bought general admission tickets.
As we waited in line, I saw a stuffed monkey wearing a Gondola driver outfit. I wish I had bought it because the next day, Nick had a Twitter contest where the first 10 people to send him a picture of themselves spanking a money would get a follow from him.
After we bought our tickets, we got in line. Since we bought general admission tickets and the Gondola holds 4 passengers, we rode the Gondola with a couple from Virginia. Our Gondola driver's name was Samina. I thought she was very funny and she had an Italian accent. I have no idea if the accent was real or if she was just acting.
She said it was good luck to kiss when the Gondola passes underneath a bridge and that whatever happens underneath the bridge stays underneath the bridge. The couple kissed and Samina jokes that it's okay that me and Jaime don't kiss.
Samina then asked us where we're from. I said I'm from California, the couple said they're from Virginia, and Jaime said she's from Phoenix. Samina said she used to live in San Francisco and in Hollywood. She then made a comment that there's a lot of weirdness in Hollywood.
Samina then asked us if we had any song requests. Since Jaime and I had just seen Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block I jokingly ask if she knows any Backstreet Boys or New Kids on the Block songs.
Samina says "no" and that she doesn't even know any Lady Gaga songs. Then she starts singing a song. While she sings a guy standing on the outside of the water starts asking her questions. She keeps on singing though as she stares at him. Then when she finishes singing she says, " I'm trying to sing and this guy is trying to talk to me."
Samina then asked us if we wanted a funny song or a romantic song for the last song. The 4 of us look at each other unsure of what to say. Then the woman from Virginia said, "Funny." Samina started to sing "That's Amore" on the way back to where the Gondola docked.
The Gondola ride was longer and more entertaining than I thought. Next time if I ride the Gondola I want to ride on the outdoor one. After we disembark from the Gondola, Jaime and I go to see the picture that was taken by the Gondola photographer. Jaime and I decided to buy 2 wallet sized pictures and 2 key chains so that we could each have a souvenir of our experience.
Me, Jamie, and our Gondola driver Samina:
After we get our Gondola pictures printed, I spotted a huge US flag hanging up to celebrate the 4th of July. Jamie and I took a picture in front of it to show our American pride!
By this time I was thirsty and I wanted to go to The Coffee Bean. I remembered when I was in the Venitian in 2010, I had went there and drank a frozen lemonade that was so good. Jaime and I found The Coffee Bean and I ordered a frozen lemonade. It hit the spot from the first sip! I had ordered a small but I wished I ordered the large. It was a perfect drink for a hot day.
After we finished our drinks, Jaime and I thought it was best we go to the Monte Carlo so that I could get a cupcake from the Cupcakery. I hadn't eaten a cupcake in almost 2 months because I told myself that I wouldn't eat one until after I had seen at least 1 NKOTBSB concert.
I've made it a tradition to visit the Cupcakery in the Monte Carlo every time I'm in Vegas. I first went there in February 2010 and then again in July 2010. This was my third time going there. When we got to the Cupcakery, there were no customers. My mouth watered as I looked at the array of cupcakes.
I love peanut butter so I ordered the peanut butter cupcake with glitter on it. I wish I could have ordered more than 1 but one cupcake cost $4.05 so I needed to restrain myself. It was so delicious! I thought it was funny that after I ordered, all of a sudden people started to line up behind me and Jaime. I helped them get business.
Glittery peanut butter cupcake:
I needed a drink while I ate my cupcake so I got a shaken iced tea lemonade from a nearby Starbucks since I had a gift card. Starbucks is sneaky sometimes. I felt the drink had way too much ice.
After we finished off our cupcakes and drinks, we tried to find a place to watch 4th of July fireworks. Unfortunately we couldn't find any. It was already dark when we got outside so we decided to head back to our hotel.
When I booked the hotel room at the Gold Coast Casino, their website had a $50 in dining discounts promotion. I was given a coupon booklet at the front desk. In 2008, I did a similar promotion and I was given a $50 dining credit to any restaurant in the casino.
Unfortunately, this year's promotion was lame. Most of the coupons in the booklet were useless except for 1 coupon that said "buy 1 drink get 1 free at TGI Fridays." Jaime and I decided to use that coupon to buy a much needed alcoholic drink.
We used the coupon at the right time because it was happy hour when we went to TGI Fridays. All drinks were $6 and since we had a coupon, Jaime and I ended up paying only $3 for each of our drinks. I ordered an Ultimate Mango Berry Margarita in tribute to my love for all things berry. Jaime ordered a frozen glory.
My Ultimate Mango Berry Margarita:
Appetizers were also $6 each so I ordered buffalo wings while Jaime ordered chips and spinach dip. Jaime and I chatted for a while and reflected on our Backstreet weekend. I was sad that it was our last night in Vegas. I would have loved to stay longer.
When we finished our appetizers and drinks, we go back to our hotel room. On the way out I saw an astronaut figure and it reminded me of Nick's song "I'm Taking Off." Some of the lyrics are, "I think I'll put my space suit on." I had to take a picture of it!
When we get back to our room, I finished packing up my stuff so that I didn't have to worry about it in the morning.
Jaime was browsing through Twitter when she noticed there was some Twitter drama happening with AJ. We had a fun time trying to figure out what was going on. Apparently someone posted a picture of a girl on AJ's lap and accused him or cheating on his fiance Rochelle. However, both AJ and Rochelle tweeted back saying the picture wasn't recent.
Jaime and I gossiped some more before we both succumbed to sleep.
The next morning I woke up right when Jaime was about to leave for the airport. Her flight was earlier than mine so she had to leave first. After she left, I laid in bed and I replayed my NKOTBSB adventures so far.
It was around 8am and I thought about going back to the strip for one last time before I left for the airport. I decided against it because I didn't want to end up being late for my flight. Plus I only had $33 in my wallet and I didn't want to spend much. I knew most of it would go toward the cab ride to the airport.
Thank goodness I followed my instinct because my cab ride to the airport cost me $20 including tip. That left me with $13 in my wallet. My original plan was to take the BART train home from San Francisco which cost $11.20. However, I was very hungry so while I waited for my flight, I ate at Burger King where I spent $10 on chicken tenders, fries, and a drink. That meant I couldn't take BART home anymore since I only had $3 in my wallet. I had to call my parents to pick me up from San Francisco International Airport (SFO).
After waiting, I finally boarded my flight home. I had a coupon that I've kept for years for a free mixed drink on a Southwest flight. I ordered a coke with Bacardi rum. Normally the drink would cost $5 without a coupon!
When I got my drink, I thought it was cute it came with a heart shaped decoration. It definitely fit in with the theme of my adventures so far since Backstreet Boys have so many songs with the word "heart" in it. (Brian referenced this at one of the VIPs I went to. He said that Backstreet Boys have a lot of songs with "heart" in it.)
When I arrived to SFO, it felt good to be in cooler weather. My parents picked me up and then treated me to Happi House on El Camino Real in Mountain View. After we ate, I asked my parents to take me to CVS so I could buy contact lens cleaner since I had run out in Vegas.
I was barely functioning by the time I got home. I asked my dad to help me with my laundry as I attempted to prepare for my last NKOTBSB adventure in Anaheim the next day. I packed as much as I could into my bag and then laid down in the comfort of my own bed. I tried to stay awake so I could finish up what I needed for Anaheim like finding a hotel to stay in but my eye lids weighed a ton. I eventually fell asleep at around 9pm.
I woke up around 3am and I didn't want to fall back asleep. I was paranoid that if I fell asleep again I couldn't wake up in time to drive to Anaheim. It didn't help that before I woke up, I had a nightmare that I missed the Anaheim concert.
I immediately turned on my laptop to tried to book a hotel in Anaheim at the very last minute. I originally wanted to use my American Airlines miles to book a hotel so that I could get a discount but I found out that I had to book a day in advance so it was too late to use my miles.
I had heard great reviews about Hotwire so I decided to try it. Hotwire is website where you can book a hotel, flight, or rental car at discounted prices. The catch is the identity of the hotel, airline, or rental car place is not revealed until the price is accepted and a credit card is charged. All sales are final and there are no refunds accepted.
It was a risk I was willing to take. Since the Anaheim concert was happening at the Honda Center, I entered its address into Hotwire's website. I was then given a list of hotels that were close to the address I entered.
The hotel at the top of the list was a 3.5 star hotel at $64.00 a night. It was recommended by 95% of Hotwire users. The price was decent compared to the other hotels listed plus I liked that it was highly recommended by other Hotwire users.
I went to a Hotwire message board called Better Bidding to try to figure out what the hotel was. From their hotel identification thread, I speculated that the hotel was a Holiday Inn. The downside was the hotel's check-in time was 4:00pm. I had planned on buying Platinum VIP in person at the venue and VIP check-in was usually before 3:45pm.
Despite the hotel check-in being 4:00pm, I booked the hotel which did end up being the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites in Anaheim. The hotel ended up costing me $92.55 for one night even though I was quoted $64. The hotel had a 17% tax and an $11.70 resort fee. If I booked the hotel from the hotel's website it would have cost around $140-$160 so I did have some savings.
After I booked the hotel, I finished off packing and then tok a shower since it was already so hot in the morning. After my shower, I finished up packing and then hit the road around 7:30pm.
I stopped by an Arco gas station near my house before getting on the freeway. I wanted to use my credit card but the machine charged a $0.45 fee for using a credit card. I didn't want to deal with that fee so I ended up paying cash.
My drive down south was going fine until I hit the 5 freeway. A wave of sleepiness started to consume me. I turned up my music loud to keep me awake but it wasn't working. I stopped at a Chevron gas station in Little Panoche to rest my eyes for about 30 minutes. I then bought 2 Rockstar Energy drinks and chugged 1 down in less than 5 minutes. I wanted to save the other Rockstar Energy drink for when I arrived to Anaheim.
I didn't want to stop too long so after I finished drinking the Rockstar Energy Drink I got back on the road. While the drink tasted good, it didn't give me much energy. About two hours later I had to stop and rest again. I stopped at Lost Hills and ate at the McDonald's there. Then I filled up my gas tank.
I began to wonder if I could make it to Anaheim in time to buy VIP. The chances were looking slim.
By the time I arrived at the Holiday Inn in Anaheim it was past 3:00pm. That meant I had about 30 minutes to get ready for the concert and try to buy VIP at the door.
I knew the hotel check-in was 4:00pm but I tried to check-in anyway. I figured if they told me I was too early that I could change in a bathroom in the hotel. Thankfully, the employee at the front desk lets me check-in early so I rushed to find my hotel room.
Once I found it, I changed as fast as I could and slapped on some make-up. When I got to my car it was around 3:40pm and I still had to find the venue. It was about a 10 minute drive from the hotel to the Honda Center. After I paid for parking, I found a parking spot, and then power walked to the venue.
I saw a line near the box office but I quickly discovered it was the New Kids On the Block I Love All Access VIP line. I spotted another line further down the venue and I saw people wearing Backstreet Boys shirts so I figured it was the Backstreet Boys VIP line and I was right.
VIP check-in had already begun and I was the second to last person in line. I was relieved that I had made it in time. I saw inside that VIPs were already lined up by level. The Anaheim VIP crowd looked smaller than the LA and Vegas VIP.
I told the girl behind me who was last in line that she could go before me since I was trying to buy VIP. She said that it was okay and let me go before her. Then she complimented my Chanel earrings. She said she liked them which made me smile. I rarely wear my Chanel earrings because I'm afraid of the Swarovski crystals falling out.
When I got to the check-in table, I encountered Bald Ground Control guy again. I told him that I wanted to buy VIP. He said that I had to wait and see if there was space available. I waited with a small group of fans who were Silver VIP contest winners that wanted to upgrade their VIP win to either Gold or Platinum.
Justin then asked if we were paying by cash or credit. The group then separates into a cash line and credit line. I don't usually carry $520 for Platinum VIP in my wallet so I had to go into the credit card line.
Justin has an iPad that has a tiny credit card swipper on top of it. He told us that he may or may not be able to process our payments with his iPad since his internet connection wasn't good. There's a fan in front of me who Justin said would serve as a guinea pig to see if his iPad would work to purchase VIP with a credit card.
Justin swipes her credit card and unfortunately it doesn't work. He then tells her there's an ATM around the corner to withdraw cash. I'm second in line and Justin tells me "Sorry sweetie but my iPad isn't working." I then ask him if they accept check and he tells me "no." Then he tells me the same thing he told the fan in front me that there's an ATM around the corner.
I walk away from the VIP table feeling disappointed. All that hard work I did to try to get the venue before VIP check-in time seemed like a waste. I had never used an ATM before to withdraw money from my bank account. I almost walk out of the venue but I decided to walk to the ATM machine to figure out how to withdraw money.
The fan who was in front of me was currently withdrawing money so I watched what she was doing. She withdrew $300 so that she could upgrade her Silver VIP win to Platinum. After she was done withdrawing I decided to give it a try. I barely memorized my PIN number but I tried anyway. I swiped my card and thankfully I remembered my PIN correctly.
The screen then asked me how much money I wanted to withdraw. Since platinum VIP was $520 and the machine only gave money out in $20's, I entered $520. While the machine processed my transaction I crossed my fingers and I hoped that my transaction would be approved.
My transaction was denied because my withdrawal exceeded my withdrawal limit. I didn't even know I had a withdrawal limit. I walked away from the machine feeling even more sad than before because I felt so close to buying VIP. I put my debit card back into my wallet. I had a credit card so I go back to the machine to try to withdraw money from my credit card. However, I don't have a PIN number for my credit card so I had no choice but to cancel my transaction.
I thought it was hopeless and that all the rushing I did to get to Anaheim in time for VIP was a total waste. I thought about calling my bank's customer service to try and get them to raise my ATM withdrawal limit but I don't. I figured if I tried to call customer service I'd just get put on hold and they'd probably think I'm a robber.
I was about to give up when I decided to try one more time. Since the machine had told me that I had exceeded my withdrawal limit at $520, I decided to try a lower number. I go through the withdrawal process and withdraw $300. To my surprise, my withdrawal was accepted and the machine gives me $300! I grab the money and go back to the check-in table.
I felt like a drug dealer as I counted out the money to Justin. I was so excited that the ATM machine had given me money that I had failed to do the math first. I only had $400 for platinum VIP! I needed $120 more. I told Justin to wait as I ran back to the machine and I hoped that I would get approved for another $100 since I already had $20 in my wallet.
My $100 withdrawal was approved so I hurried back to give Justin the final $120 for platinum. After I paid my VIP in full, Justin gave me a platinum VIP pass and I breathed a sigh of relief.
Next to Justin at the check-in table was the Howie D 100 kisses chapstick I had been looking for at previous shows. I grabbed 3. I honestly wanted to grab them all since there were less than 10 left but I didn't want to look too greedy.
When I go to find the platinum VIP line, Brittany, the fan I met in LA at Platinum VIP, spots me and says "hi" to me. She had won Silver VIP for Anaheim but she upgraded it to Gold. It was good to see a familiar face at VIP. I told her about how I barely made it to VIP and that I almost didn't get to buy VIP until I figured out how to use the ATM.
We didn't get much time to catch up because Justin started to lead Platinum VIPs inside the stage area. I get in the Platinum line and get a seat in the second row. I spot Tim, the fan who sold me his LA ticket in the front row and say "hi" to him.
A few minutes after everyone is seated ,Nick and AJ make their way to the stage. Nick occupied the stool in front of me near stage right. AJ is closer toward stage left. They don't say anything to us for a moment. Nick played with his phone while we all waited for Howie and Brian to come out.
Nick enthralled by his phone:
More of Nick enthralled by his phone:
Nick saying something:
I don't know what the hell is going on and what prompted Nick to pose like a mummy...:
Howie and Brian were taking a long time so Nick looks up from his phone and asks if we have any questions. My mind is blank but a fan in front of me asks about his music video for his Canadian solo single "Love Can't Wait."
Nick said that he shot the video the day before and that he has a girl dancing all up on him for the video. Then he mentions that in Howie's "100" music video that the girl doesn't even dance close to him.
Someone then asked AJ a question that I forgot what it was exactly. I vaguely remember it being about his solo album. AJ kept babbling and babbling so I think I tuned out. I think the question was about when his solo album would come out. AJ replied hopefully in the fall but I don't believe him since he said on the cruise his solo album would come out in March 2011. That clearly didn't happen.
I remember thinking why can't AJ stop talking so I could ask Nick a question. When AJ was done babbling, someone was faster than me and asked Nick about his spank the money contest he had the day before on Twitter.
Nick explained that he had a contest where the first 10 fans who tweeted him a picture of themselves spanking a money that he'd follow them. I wanted to ask Nick when his music video for "Love Can't Wait" would come out but before I could, he said that he was going to check on Brian and Howie and see why they were taking so long.
While Nick left, Howie came on stage and then Nick came back and a few minutes later Brian came on stage. I really regret not having a sharp mind. I'm kicking myself for not thinking to ask Nick when he asked for questions if the VIP pictures in Anaheim could not have the barricades. :( It didn't hit me until after the concert that that would have been a great question for Nick. I really need to work on sharpening my mind.
The lighting during VIP was dark like it was in LA. My videos are nearly black. They sang 2 songs. I don't even know why Ground Control bothers to advertise Backstreet Boys sing 3 or 4 songs during VIP when they only sang 2 songs at the 3 VIPs I went to.
The first song they sang was "More Than That":
The second song they sing is "Shape of my Heart." For the second song, some fans yelled out "Straight Through My Heart" but Backstreet acted deaf and said, "Shape of my Heart." I swear, the sound check song selection is rigged.
"Shape Of My Heart":
After they sang the two songs it's the Q&A. Someone asked Nick about touring for his solo album. He mentioned that he was going to Canada to perform at WBFF and he was hoping to do some touring in the fall for his solo record.
Someone asked Howie what he orders at In 'n Out. I immediately thought WTF?! Out of all the questions to ask him, you ask him that?! It's freaking In 'n Out. You either order a burger or you don't. Howie seemed stumped with the question and he couldn't answer for the longest time. I think it was Nick who said, "You get stomach problems." lmao
Howie said that he hadn't been to In 'n Out in a long time so he didn't really know. Brian chimed in and said that he likes to order a burger protein style to save on carbs. Then he stuck out his stomach and rubbed it. I loved that Brian said he ordered his burger protein style because that's how I order my burger at In 'n Out too. I try to cut down my carb intake too!
Brian talking about carbs:
I don't remember the question for Brian. I think it was related to his family and his son but I'm not too sure.
Someone asked AJ if he would do private events where he would do something like perform with puppets. AJ said sure he'd do private events if he was asked. Then Nick started to say events like bar mitzvahs and birthday parties. Then Brian said as long as he's not a clown. AJ agreed and said he didn't want to be a clown.
AJ's question reminded Brian of a time when he was asked by a man to record a special video message for his soon to be wife. The man wanted to surprise his wife at the wedding with the video of Brian congratulating them. The man offered Brian $10,000 to do it.
Brian joked and said something like, "$10,000? Sign me up. What do I have to do?" Then Brian said that he did the video for the man for free since he felt that the man could use the $10,000 toward their honeymoon. (I vaguely remembered Brian telling this story in Napa last year.)
Brian talking about the $10,000 offer & AJ talking about doing personal appearances:
After the Q&A were the meet and greet pictures. Nick and Howie made their way to the tip of the penis stage for the pictures while AJ and Brian lingered in front of the VIPs for a few minutes.
Out of nowhere AJ suddenly starts ranting about the Casey Anthony verdict. He said that Florida's judicial system wasn't very good. Then AJ and Brian randomly mention that one of their bodyguards live in Florida.
AJ didn't agree that Casey Anthony was found not guilty on what happened to her daughter Caylee. He related her not guilty verdict to how gay marriage wasn't accepted. He thought it was unfair that gay marriage wasn't widely accepted but that it was okay Casey Anthony got to be free.
AJ was really passionate about the Casey Anthony verdict and Brian had to remind AJ to tone down his rant and keep it G-rated because there were little ears in the audience. Seated in the front row was a little girl about 4 years old who had Platinum VIP along with her mom. I thought damn, that 4 year old has Platinum VIP which is something many Backstreet fans sextuple or more her age wanted but couldn't afford.
I thought it was cute Brian was like the topic police and that he cared about what was appropriate to be talked about in front of children. Once again I was reminded of my Fantasy/Reality story and I entertained the thought about how Nick and Viola would react to mature/adult type of conversations in front of their twins.
Brian and AJ are then dragged to the picture taking area. I was disappointed there were barricades up in the pictures but it was too late to try to get rid of them. While I waited for pictures to be taken, I spotted Rachel, a fan I had exchanged messages with on the fan club sitting in the front row with Platinum VIP too. We say "hi" to each other and formally introduce ourselves.
While the Silver VIPs and Gold VIPs take their pictures, someone spots Matthew Morrison in a cap rehearsing for his set. His band, backup dancers, and singers were familiarizing themselves with the penis stage and practicing their marks.
Matthew Morrison rehearsing for his first performance on the NKOTBSB tour:
It's finally the Platinum VIPs turn to take pictures. We get into a single file line and once again I have butterflies in my tummy. No matter how many times I've met them, I still get a little nervous inside.
I was torn between asking Backstreet to do the Glee "L" loser pose or posing like zoo animals while I was the cheesy Asian tourist since I felt the barricades in the picture make them look like a zoo attraction.
I got my pose answer when I saw Matthew rehearsing during the VIP pictures. Drew the bodyguard recognized me again when he hole punched my Platinum VIP pass. He asked me if this was my last one and I told him, "Yes it is unless I win the lottery."
He laughed and replied, "I need to win the lottery too." He went on to talk about how there was a lot he could do if he had more money. I then thought, don't Backstreet Boys bodyguards make a lot of money? I guess not? lol
When it's my turn, either Josh or Q yells at me "handshakes only!" Their yelling doesn't even phase me anymore. I had my mind set on asking them to do the Glee "L" pose. I first shake hands with AJ who says, "Hi, how are you?"
I tell him "I'm good." Next was Nick and he gives me one of his killer smiles. After Nick was Howie and then I shake hands with Brian who tells me for like what seems the millionth time, "It's good to see you again." It's like Brian can't you think of anything else to say to me? I get it, you've seen me before lol
After I shook hands with Brian, I faced all of Backstreet and say really fast, "I love Glee, can you all do the Glee sign in my picture?" I held up my left hand to my forehead with the "L" sign to show them what I wanted. I was so paranoid that they'd hold up their right hand instead of their left hand and that their the "L's" would be backwards in my picture.
While I do this Josh the bodyguard is rushing me and saying, "Yes you can get that but turn around for the picture!"
Sometimes I think Josh needs to take a chill pill and be more calm and relaxed like bodyguard Drew. Drew is very calm and he never acts like things need to be done in a snap. Josh frequently seems very anxious. It's like he has a lot of pent up anxiety inside him dying to be released. He also acts like he wants VIP to be over quickly so that's why he rushes fans with their pictures.
My Glee "L" tribute picture in Anaheim:
I turned around and centered myself the best I could for the picture. It's over fast and Josh gives me back my bag. I see Mike the bodyguard holding the pre-signed 8x10 autographed pictures. He gives me one and motions me to take a seat with the other Platinum VIPs who are done taking their pictures.
While I waited for the other platinum VIPs to finish taking their pictures, I put my pre-signed 8x10 autographed picture into a sheet protector I had in my bag. The fan seated to my left said that it was a good idea and I came prepared with the sheet protector.
I had learned from previous VIP experiences that I needed to bring either a sheet protector or folder to prevent the 8x10 picture from getting crumpled or folded. Last year I ruined two 8x10 pre-signed pictures because I wasn't prepared.
When all of the VIP pictures are finished taking their pictures, Brian stays as the Platinum VIP guide while Howie, AJ, and Nick leave. As Nick walked away, he puts on a black fedora. At first I thought it was the fedora he had been wearing a lot but I later discovered that it was Brittany who gave him that hat lol
I expected Brian's backstage tour to be quick like Nick's. It wasn't. Brian's backstage tour was the polar opposite of Nick's. It turned out to be the best Platinum backstage tour I had ever experienced. I had AJ, Nick and Howie for the "This is Us" Platinum VIP backstage tour in 2010 and Nick again for the "NKOTBSB" Platinum VIP backstage tour but none of them compared to Brian's.
Brian talked a little about NKOTBSB and then he asked if any of us had questions. He didn't pull a Nick and quickly walk away before anyone could blink. He answered as many questions as he could before moving onto the next part.
I don't remember all of the questions that we asked. It was hard to hear some of what the questions and answers were because Matthew Morrison had started to rehearse the songs he was going to perform. He rehearsed the "Don't Stand So Close To Me/Young Girl" mash-up from Glee a lot. Even Brian started to sing a bit of "Don't Stand So Close To Me" while Matthew rehearsed.
Someone asked Brian about "Get Down" and "10,000 Promises" being incorporated to the show since they took out "Bye, Bye, Love" which was the only new song from their latest "This is Us" album on their set list.
Brian explained that it was Nick who really wanted "10,000 Promises" to be added to the set list. He said Nick came to him with the idea. Brian agreed with him so they both tried to make it happen and they successfully got it added to the set list. I think Brian said that "Get Down" was a fun song that they thought the fans would enjoy seeing performed live.
He also talked about the song "If You Stay." He said that he's aware people thought "If You Stay" was a solo song of his since he sings most of it. (I didn't know this?) He said that in his house, he has a Bootycall soundtrack plaque hanging up because the soundtrack sold a lot of copies. (I thought it was funny hearing Brian saying "bootycall.") He said that the song got a lot of R&B radio airplay and that people were surprised to discover it was white guys singing the song.
Brian also talked about how he finds it difficult to keep a straight face while performing serious songs like "10,000 Promises." He then mocked the other Backstreet Boys' serious/sexy faces while he just wants to burst into laughter.
Brian also mentioned that the other Backstreet Boys say that they live and breathe their job as a Backstreet Boy but he personally wants the freedom to turn off being a Backstreet Boy and have his own time and spend time with his family.
A male fan asked Brian about NKOTBSB touring in Europe since his European friends were curious about it. Brian explained that they were all wrapped around Donnie Wahlberg's shooting schedule for the second season of the TV show "Blue Bloods." More NKOTBSB shows would depend on whether or not if Donnie had free time between shooting "Blue Bloods."
Brian also added that currently in Europe a singing group called Take That was touring. I'm American so I'm not familiar with the significance of Take That. Apparently they seem like a really big deal in Europe. Brian said that since the economy is bad, they (NKOTBSB) didn't want their European fans to choose between seeing Take That or NKOTBSB in concert.
Someone asked if there were going to be any surprises in the show like what happened at the LA show when Kevin came out. Brian shook his head "no" and said that there wasn't going to be any surprises. He said that they'd love to have Kevin on stage again but that it was up to Kevin if he wanted to do it again.
Since I was going on the Backstreet Boys cruise in December, I decided to ask Brian about the cruise. I asked him if they were going to do an acoustic before the cruise and what themes have they been thinking about having?
Unfortunately, while I asked my question, Matthew Morrison was rehearsing one of his songs so Brian misheard the first part of my question. Brian said that for this cruise they were doing 2 or everything so it would depend on how much time they have if they were going to do an acoustic show or not on the boat. (I didn't mean acoustic show on the boat! I meant before we got on the boat but I let him babble lol)
I quickly followed up my acoustic show question with the cruise theme question. He said that they were talking about having a records theme that represented each of the albums they have released.
I mentioned that I saw there was talk of a "white" theme online and I said that it's a bad idea.
Brian's eyebrows furrowed and he asked me, "Why is it bad?"
Then I said, "The white outfits might turn brown from everyone spilling their drinks." Brian looked at me with this WTF look lol I dont' think he understood my joke... :-\
Then Brian explained that they've had a lot of meetings, discussions, and conference calls about what should happen on the cruise that he can't talk about or else he'll get in trouble because they're "top secret." (Which he said "top secret" in an effeminate voice.)
Brian kept answering questions even though it was hard to hear everything he said. He took questions until no one had anything else to ask. I think he spent around 10 minutes answering questions and he hadn't even taken us backstage yet!
When we had run out of questions to ask, he then says he's going to take us backstage and show us around. When we're backstage, we stop in a hallway area in front of wardrobe. Brian says that being backstage isn't as exciting and glamorous as it sounds. It's mostly a place with a lot of signs directing people where to go. (Gee, what a great way to sell Platinum VIP to us Brian :p)
We passed by Nicole, their wardrobe girl, standing in front of a door. Brian stopped and explained that Nicole was excited there was an Off 5th Saks store nearby and she had asked him if he wanted to go shopping since there's a lot of good deals there.
Next Brian stopped us in front of room that had a "Catering" sign taped next to the doorway. He was about to explain catering when he noticed a silver rack on the opposite side of the doorway. He briefly mentioned that the NKOTBSB show has a lot of lights so that rack was one of many that carried their lights from venue to venue.
Brian went on to explain the catering area. He said that each crew member wears a special pass to make sure that they can get a meal in the catering area. He said that each meal costs them money so it was important that only those with a special pass get access to catering.
Brian explaining the catering and the different crew passes:
We're then taken to another open area where I can see it's close to where the buses and trucks are parked. A few feet away from Brian is a coffee maker. He explains that the crew sets up the stage and lights early in the morning so it was very important to have a lot of coffee around.
Brian then leads us underneath the stage where Backstreet does their costume changes. Brian makes a comment that there's carpets on the floor. I ask him, "Is there usually no carpets?" He didn't hear me the first time so I had to repeat my question. He replied, "No there isn't." Then I joked and said, "Oooh, you guys are getting the luxury treatment here."
Brian explained that each NKOTBSB member has their own table with their own accessories. He indicated that the table with the most hats and sunglasses is AJ's because he likes to have a lot of options and he changes his mind a lot on what he'd wear on stage.
Next to AJ's table is Nick's table since I noticed there was a piece of masking tape on the table that had "Nick" written on it. Nick didn't have as many accessories as AJ. In front of AJ and Nick's table was a rack of clothes. I noticed that in some of the pockets of the clothes was a lot of Kleenex tissue packets.
Brian said that the changing area gets really busy during show time since there's a lot of people walking by. He then pretended that a lot of people were passing by and he had to dodge them as they passed. Then he explained that sometimes they had quick changes where they had to change in a hurry and get back on stage fast. (Of course I secretly wished I could have been in this particular area during show time to watch Nick change his clothes :p)
Brian also explained that part of the stage was magnetic so if they brought a laptop there it would get ruined. I wondered if this had a correlation to what Nick said during his backstage tour in LA about the stage having radiation?
Underneath the stage was the last area Brian showed us. We were led to a very dark area near the balls of the stage to take pictures. I was a bit paranoid that all of our individual pictures would come out dark. I stood in line with Rachel and I told her that I wanted to be the last one to take a picture with Brian. We both moved to the back of the line.
As I stood in line, I decided to try and ask Brian if he could pick me for the "I'll Never Break Your Heart" serenade. I figured I had to at least try to see what he would say. While us Platinum VIPs take individual pictures with Brian, Matthew Morrison is rehearsing above us so it's very loud.
When it's my turn, I grin at Brian and we hug tightly. He screams something in to my ear and I have no idea what he said lmao I think he asked, "What's my name?" as I handed him my VIP pass to sign.
I wasn't completely sure so I screamed into his ear, "CAN YOU PERSONALIZE MY PASS?"
He screamed back, "SURE, HOW DO YOU SPELL YOUR NAME?"
I screamed back the letters of my name. After he signs my pass, we take the picture. Unfortunately, he misheard my screaming letters because he spelled my name "JOCELIN." Oh, well, at least Nick spelled my name right in LA lol
When the picture is done, I go for the serenade question, "I SAW YOU SERENADE ONE OF THE TWINS IN LA DURING "I'LL NEVER BREAK YOUR HEART," CAN YOU SERENADE ME TONIGHT?" (For those who don't know, the twins I'm referring to are Kristy and Kathy whom I know from seeing each other at a lot of Backstreet Boys events such as Napa and the talk shows in LA.)
Brian gives me this awkward look and I can see in his blue eyes that his answer is "no" but he screams at me, "I DON'T KNOW. I DON'T KNOW."
I pout at him and scream back, "OH WELL, I TRIED."
Boo, I just got rejected by a Backstreet Boy BUT I wasn't too sad since he had given me the best Platinum VIP backstage tour ever. I waved bye to Brian and followed the rest of the Platinum VIPs outside.
It was about 6:00pm and the venue's security gives us the option to either stay near the venue's entrance to avoid getting in the massive line outside or to go back to our cars or somewhere else. I chose to stay near the venue's entrance to avoid the line.
Once it was 6:30pm, my ticket was scanned and I entered the venue. I had no cash and I didn't feel like using my credit/debit card so I didn't buy any food. I went to my seat and sat down to rest my feet. My seat was on the floor in section 110 row 3 seat 14 which was on the aisle facing the tip of the penis stage. Midnight Red was the first opening act to go again but I didn't pay attention to them.
I was very excited to see Matthew Morrison's set. I hoped that his set wouldn't be short like Midnight Red's. After Midnight Red's performance, I had to go to the bathroom... apparently so did nearly most of the females in the venue. The bathroom closest to my seat had a long line so I walked to the next one but it had a long line too. I went to a third bathroom and there was a long line there too so I decided to get in line and wait.
While I waited in the bathroom line, I noticed Mark McGrath from the band Sugar Ray walk by. Some people recognized him but they were too shy to say anything to him. He practically walked by without getting bothered by anyone. I thought it was nice he was there to see NKOTBSB. I had wondered if any celebs in the Southern Cali area would check out the show.
After I went to the bathroom, I power walked to my seat. I was paranoid I would miss the beginning of Matthew's set. I made it to my seat with time to spare. Before Matthew went on stage a group of tall photographers surround the tip of the penis stage! I was so disappointed! I'm very short. I'm barely 5'2" and there were these tall people with their long cameras blocking my view of the penis stage :(
Matthew Morrison then hits the stage wearing a tuxedo. He kicks off his set by singing his cover of "Sway." Then he sings an extended version of the "Don't Stand So Close To Me/Young Girl" mash up from Glee. He sings "Summer Rain" which he said is the first song he ever wrote. He also performs covers of "Mrs. Robinson" and "Gold Digger."
Matthew performing "Gold Digger":
He performs his current single, "Still Got Tonight." He also performs a song from his album called "My Name." Then he ends his set with a song from his solo album called "Don't Stop Dancing." During the song he does a dance tribute for his favorite performers Michael Jackson and Patrick Swayze by using some of their signature moves like Michael Jackson's moonwalk and some of Patrick Swayze's "Dirty Dancing" moves.
I thought Matthew did a good job but I felt he needed to work on his stage presence and crowd interaction. I did love that he came up with a new acronym: "NKOTBSBMM," like Mmmmmm good. His initials "MM" stood for his name Matthew Morrison.
NKOTBSB then hits the stage. My view is still obstructed by the tall photographers. They obstruct my view for about 3 or 4 songs and they finally move away. However, there's a tall guy in front of my seat so I had a hard time seeing most of the time until he went away.
I found it ironic that even though my seat in Anaheim was technically the closest seat I had out of all the 4 NKOTBSB shows I went to since I was in the 3rd row, it was definitely the worst view I had!
The view in LA I had in the 4th row of the lower level was the best since there weren't tall people in my way. Vegas was the 2nd best view, San Jose was 3rd, and Anaheim was 4th.
3 New Kids:
Backstreet during "Larger Than Life":
Nick being delicious:
Joey during "Please Don't Go Girl":
Someone gave Nick a lei and Howie made a joke that Nick just got lei'd/laid and Nick burst into laughter.
Howie working it:
Brian:A few songs before the "I'll Never Break Your Heart" serenade I noticed Justin the photographer with a girl. He brings her up to the front of the penis stage. At first I thought, is that some groupie he's giving a front row hookup to?
When it was time for Backstreet to pick fans to bring up on stage for the serenade, I hold up my ghetto sign that said "SERENADE PLACE" and I frantically jump up and down trying to get their attention. I held on to the small morsel of hope that Brian would pick me since I had asked him earlier.
I failed BUT I noticed that Howie totally faked looking for a serenade girl. He acted as if he was looking for a fan. The girl Justin brought up just raised her hand in the air and she didn't act excited or anything.
It was so obvious that she knew she had the serenade with Howie and she wasn't even trying. Howie then winked and pointed at her. That was security's cue to let her on stage. I was kind of irked that Howie's serenade was rigged and fake but then again nothing in the Backstreet world is ever fair.
Backstreet Boys without zoom:
New Kids On The Block without zoom:
I love the perspective of this picture of Backstreet I took:
New Kids on the Block during "California Love"... there's a glimpse of Donnie's abs in this video:
While New Kids on the Block were performing their song "Games" I noticed Bald Guy from Ground Control getting really into this show. He was walking around bopping his head and mouthing the lyrics. I thought, Hey, you work for Backstreet Boys why are you enjoying New Kids music more? :p
Honestly, on the outside, Bald Guy from Control looks very mean and intimidating but I definitely saw a different side to him at the Anaheim show. There was one point where he accidentally bumped into me. He felt really bad and apologized to me as he quickly massaged my shoulder.
During New Kids on the Block's song "Tonight" I knew they would walk through the audience. I saw Joey walk to the section next to where I stood so I kept my eyes on him just in case he walked to my section.
I was so occupied at looking at Joey that I didn't notice Jonathan was right in front of me! We awkwardly looked at each other and he extended his right hand to me. Since I had my camera in my right hand, I couldn't properly shake his hand. I ended up sticking out my left hand which he awkwardly shook. Then he shook hands with the people next to me.
If I had time to prepare I would have tried to hug him or take a picture with him but it just happened so fast! I felt so bad that I didn't act more excited to see him. He was actually the first New Kid on the Block I ever touched.
After "Tonight" was Backstreet's "Shape of my Heart" song. I wondered which Backstreet Boy would pass by my section. It ended up being Nick and Brian again but they didn't reach the row I was in. By the time they reached my section they ran straight to the tip of the penis stage.
Backstreet Boys during "All I Have To Give":
The end of my last NKOTBSB show was fast approaching. I didn't want those minutes to pass. I wanted more Backstreet Boys. I didn't want to go home and go back to my boringly stressful life :'(
I was so occupied with thinking about the end of the concert that I had missed what made Jordan Knight laugh and mess up his verse in "Don't Turn Out The Lights." I then refocused my attention on present and soaked up as much as I could.
The confetti and streamers fell on me and in an instant the concert is over. My NKOTBSB adventures are over. I put some confetti into my bag and I rip a piece of silver streamer as a momento.
I gathered up the guts to ask the people, a girl and a guy, sitting next to me if they got pictures of Jonathan Knight walking by when he passed through our section. I discovered that they're both from Temecula. They managed to get a candid picture of me with Jonathan.
I gave them my e-mail address so that they could send the picture to me but I haven't received it yet :'( I'm beginning to wonder if I'll ever see it or if it'll end up in the "Land of Unseen" with the picture Laurel and I took with Brian in Napa in 2010.
If any of you know a New Kids on the Block fan named Crystel who lives in Temecula, Ca please tell her Jocelyn really wants to see her candid picture with Jonathan Knight from the Anaheim show.
I slowly walked back to my car because the Post Concert Depression is settling in way too fast. On my way back to my car Kristy and Kathy, the twins I mentioned earlier, spotted me and they say "hi" to me. We chatted for a bit. I found out which twin got serenaded by Brian in LA. The other twin almost got picked by AJ in Anaheim but AJ chose a little girl instead. They told me that they went to the Vegas show too and that they left the Backstreet Boys after party at the Planet Hollywood early because they thought it was boring.
After I chatted with the twins, I continued the journey back to my car. I noticed there were a group of people standing in front of where the buses were parked. I went to that area for about two minutes and I quickly got over it. I had already met Backstreet and I didn't feel like being surrounded by obnoxious fans so I walked back to my car. I paused for a moment take a picture of the Honda Center/Anaheim Ducks sign in front of the parking lot.
When I reached my car, I sat there for a few minutes as I figured out how to get out of the parking lot. I noticed that the place I entered the parking lot earlier in the day was blocked off and closed.
A lot of the cars were going toward the right of the parking lot so after letting some of the traffic pass by, I started my car and followed where the other cars were going. I had no idea where I was going so I just followed the flow of traffic. When I reached the stop light, I noticed everyone was making a left turn so I made a left turn too.
Most of the cars entered a freeway going to Ponoma. I wasn't going to Ponoma so I continued to drive straight. I was completely lost but I kept on driving straight. After about 5 minutes of driving, I told myself I need to go back to the venue and figure out how to get back to my hotel from the original way I took earlier. As I tried to find a place to do a u-turn I noticed that the street names looked very familiar.
I kept on driving and I realized that I was on the same road as my hotel! I had no idea that my hotel and the venue were on the same street! When I had looked for directions to the venue from the hotel, Google Maps had told me to the take the I-5 freeway to get to the venue when it turns out I could have just stayed on Ball Rd. (which is in front of the hotel) and drive straight to the venue.
Before I went to my hotel, I decided to fill up my gas tank at the Shell gas station next to the hotel. After I filled up my tank, what was supposed to be a 30 second drive from the gas station to my hotel turned into 5 minute drive. There were street dividers that prevented me from making a left turn to drive toward my hotel. I had no choice but to sit at the stop light for about five minutes to wait to make a U-turn as the stop lights let the other lights be green except the one I was facing. It was pure torture.
Finally, the light turned green and I made my U-turn and drove into the hotel's parking lot. Thankfully, I found a parking spot that was very close to my hotel room. Once I got into my room, I laid down on my bed and checked Twitter on my iPod touch. I know I was supposed to sleep but I was bursting with energy from the show so I couldn't fall asleep.
Apparently sometime on July 6th, Justin had uploaded the LA VIP pictures. I was afraid to look at my individual Platinum VIP picture with Nick. I thought Nick hadn't heard me when he asked me to do the kissy face. I was also paranoid that I had blinked or looked a mess in the picture.
Michelle on Twitter had tweeted me a link to the picture and she said she loved my picture. I reluctantly clicked on the link to look at the picture. Even though I was viewing the picture on a small iPod screen, I saw that Nick had heard my request and that I didn't blink. I was happy with my picture and I loved the sexy look Nick was giving the picture. I then looked at my group VIP picture with Backstreet in LA and I liked how it turned out.
After I wasted time on Twitter, I got up to pack up as much of my belongings I could and then I attempted to fall asleep. The bed was very comfortable so it didn't take long for me to doze off.
It was around 8am when I woke up a few hours later. I barely had 5 hours of sleep. I finished up packing and then I logged onto Twitter. I wanted to see if Sprinkles Cupcakes had tweeted the secret phrase to be whispered in order to get a free cupcake. A few weeks earlier, I had planned to go to Sprinkles in Beverly Hills after my NKOTBSB adventure in Anaheim.
However, it was over an hour drive from Anaheim to Beverly Hills and that didn't factor in the horrible LA traffic. Sprinkles had another location in Newport Beach so I went on Google Maps to see how close Newport Beach was to Anaheim. To my surprise they were about 30 minutes away from each other! I scrapped my Sprinkles Beverly Hills plan and I decided to try to go to Sprinkles Newport Beach instead.
I monitored Sprinkles' Twitter and Facebook page and finally at around 9:30am they tweeted the free cupcake whisper phrase of the day which was "photo finish." I quickly checked out of the hotel and drove to Newport Beach. I had never been to Newport Beach before. I hit traffic and I slowly lost hope that I could get a free cupcake.
On the freeway signs to Newport Beach I saw there was an upcoming toll. I started to panic because I didn't have much cash to pay the toll. I hoped the toll would accept a credit card for payment. I also didn't remember Google Maps saying there was a toll for Newport Beach.
Thankfully I didn't have to pay a toll. The exit I had to take was way before the toll area. I immediately got the feeling I was driving through an affluent city as I drove through Newport Beach. The houses looked pristine and there were a lot of shiny luxury cars on the road.
While looking for Sprinkles, I saw a sign for Fashion Island Mall. I had read about the mall on the Purse Blog since some ladies have purchased luxury bags like Chanel and Louis Vuitton from there. I told myself I had to go there after Sprinkles and look around.
It took me a while to figure out where Sprinkles was but I eventually found it! I parked my car and power walked to it. I noticed another girl power walking like me and I wondered if we were there for the free cupcake . She got there first and I see she gets 2 cupcakes but only pays for one which meant she whispered the free cupcake phrase. I hoped that she didn't get the last free cupcake.
I asked the cupcake associate if there were anymore "photo finish" cupcakes and he says yes. I was relieved. I then ordered another cupcake which was mocha since I had never tried that flavor before.
I know what you're wondering and no I didn't eat the two cupcakes at the same time. I actually didn't eat them right away. I decided to save 1 to eat while on the drive home and the other 1 for when I got home.
After I got my cupcake, I drove to the Fashion Island Mall. July 6th was my mom's birthday so I needed to find her a gift. I parked my car in front of Macy's and then I explored the mall. I had never seen such a clean mall in my life. There was no trash anywhere. The landscaping was crisp and the flowers were colorful.
I looked at the mall directory to get an idea of what stores I had to visit. The mall's anchor stores are Macy's, Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, and Neiman Marcus. I browsed through Neiman Marcus first, Bloomingdales second, and Macy's was last. I wasn't impressed with the clothing selection at Neiman Marcus and Bloomindales. I liked the clothes at Macy's so I bought my mom a top there.
I had been walking around trying to find my mom gift for about two hours so I really wanted something to eat. I saw a Wahoo Taco's place so I checked it out but I didn't see anything I liked on the menu so I went to the mall's indoor eating area. I was craving french fries and I spotted a Five Guys. My excitement was short lived when I quickly discovered it wasn't open yet. There was a sign up that said "coming soon."
I decided to eat at a Chinese fast food place. I ordered fried rice, orange chicken, and mushroom chicken. There was a cute guy in line and I had known I selected the right place to get food ;) I noticed that a lot of the guys at the mall were dressed in buttoned down shirts and slacks.
The food tasted so good! I liked that the orange chicken was crispy and not dry. It's almost 2pm in the afternoon when I was done eating. I still had a long drive home to go through.
Before I went into my car, I tried to discreetly take a picture of the view of the ocean from Macy's. I succeeded in having more of the stairs than the ocean in my picture. I wished I had the time to go and relax on the beach.
It's scorching hot by the time I made it to my car. I got on the road and I was stuck in traffic within 10 minutes. I felt so tired and my eye lids weighed a ton. After I drove for about an hour, I had to stop. I exited off the freeway once I saw a McDonald's. When I drove toward it I saw it was next to a Costco Business warehouse. I decided it was easier to blend in at Costco's parking lot so I parked my car there instead of at McDonald's. I reclined back my chair and rested my eyes. I think I fell asleep for about an hour.
When I woke up I felt slightly better so I got back on the road. I drove for another two hours and got tired again. I decided to stop at Laval Road which is past Grapevine. I parked in front of Starbucks and reclined my chair back for another rest. I took another 1 hour nap.
After I woke up from my nap, I brought my Sprinkles cupcake box with me into Starbucks and I ordered a caramel frappuccino since it was so hot! I sat inside Starbucks and enjoyed my mocha cupcake and frapp. The mocha cupcake didn't taste like mocha at all. It tasted like chocolate. Either way it was a damn good cupcake and it paired nicely with my frapp.
I was ready to hit the road with all the sugar and caffeine running through my veins. I filled up my gas tank and then I commenced my long drive home. It was around 10:30pm by the time I passed through highway 152 in Gilroy.
I was sleepy, grumpy, exhausted, and hungry. When highway 152 turned into 2 lanes there's a Sonic. I have heard great reviews about it and so I decided to check it out. I think I freaked out the other drivers on the road with my sudden U-turn.
As I drove toward Sonic, I got intimidated by how it looked. I had never been to a Sonic in my life and I assumed there was a place to eat inside. I had no idea it was a place where orders had to placed from the car. Plus the driver's side window of my car doesn't work so placing and receiving an order would've been awkward. I began to panic so I turned my car around and drove out of the parking lot.
Even though I was hungry I continued to drive home instead of stopping at another place to eat. I was so over driving and I just wanted to be in my bed. It was around 11:10pm when I made it home thus officially marking the end of my NKOTBSB adventures. I immediately laid on my bed and embraced not being in my car anymore.
It felt weird not having to be at a show the next day. Post Concert Depression hit me at full force. I'm still experiencing it weeks after the concerts I attended. I waited months to see NKOTBSB and in an instant 4 concerts passed by. Hopefully Backstreet Boys and/or Nick Carter will do more concerts in California because I definitely cannot get enough of seeing them live!
It turns out I recorded Nick during "Incomplete" in LA, Vegas, and Anaheim. I put my 3 videos together:
I know my reviews are too long. I will be very impressed if you made it to this point!
Any comments are appreciated.