Sunday, February 3, 2013

2nd Annual Nick Carter Hang With The Band Event in Las Vegas, NV

Birthdays, they come once a year for everyone. It's a time to celebrate life. Back in January 2012 I was still experiencing a high from the 2011 Backstreet Boys Cruise. It's part of why I was intrigued by the news of a chance to spend time with Nick Carter during his birthday. The price was insane and it was new concept no other fan had experienced before. I took a risk and went to the 1st annual Hang With The Band event. It was an unforgettable event but I wasn't sure if I'd do it again mainly because of the high cost.

Fast forward to December 2012, the 2nd Hang With The Band event with Nick Carter was announced. I was excited until I read that a lot of what was included in the 1st event like hotel accommodations, food, a Las Vegas show, and an after party was not included for the 2nd event. That turned me off from bidding. I thought why should I bid the same amount of money for something that had less.

I was disappointed but I consoled myself with the hope of 2013 having a lot of Backstreet related events. A few days after the bidding ended I discovered on Twitter that "Gold" packages were being released for $899. One of my Twitter followers Courtney who was one of the top ten bidders with a "Platinum" package (which included a wine tasting and lunch with Nick) was kind enough to forward me information about the "Gold" package. The "Gold" package included a meet and greet and the acoustic show. It did not include lunch with Nick and the wine tasting.

I thought $899 was reasonable. It was still a high price to pay but I justified it by saying to myself that I was a good girl most of 2012 and the last time I saw Nick was on February 12, 2012 in Columbus, OH. I didn't go to Mixtape, talk show tapings, or any of the New Years shows. Plus I got a job a few months ago that gave me lots of overtime hours so I bought a gold package as a Christmas gift to myself.

Once my gold package was confirmed Courtney was kind enough to invite me to stay with her at her time share in Las Vegas.

After working so hard since I started my job in August 2012, it boosted my morale to have a trip to look forward to. I booked my flights through Southwest. I was able to get $70 off my flights since I had $20 I earned from taking a survey and a $50 Southwest gift card I earned from My Coke Rewards. My flight totaled $164.80.

While browsing Slickdeals I found out about a game called MyVegas. It's a Facebook game where you play games and earn loyalty points to redeem for rewards to use at MLife resorts and casinos. (If you want to start playing add me on Facebook and I'll send you an invite.) I started MyVegas on January 9th and by January 25th I had enough points to redeem for a $50 credit to Delights at The Signature at MGM Grand, a $100 dining credit to Nine Fine Irishmen at NYNY, and a $10 credit to Jean Philippe Patisserie at Aria.

Courtney and her mom were kind enough to pick me up from the airport. After they picked me up with went to the The Signature at MGM Grand to have brunch. It was my first time redeeming a MyVegas reward so I didn't know I had to go to the MLife counter at the MGM Grand to get a voucher to use at Delights. I felt so bad that I had to let Courtney and her mom walk across the MGM Grand twice.

While waiting in line to get my voucher I saw I had a text message from John with Hang With The Band. He said to call him immediately. I was kind of paranoid and panicked for a moment thinking Nick cancelled the event or that somehow my payment didn't go through. I called John and he asked me if I was in Vegas yet. I told him I was. He said that he just wanted to check in with me and confirm that I knew where the meeting place would be. I told him that I knew.

Then he asked me something that would turn my weekend around. He said that a "Platinum" package spot had opened up for the lunch and that since I went last year he could offer it to me. My first thought was... why did someone drop out off the lunch and my second thought was could I eat in front of Nick?! It was an incredible opportunity so I said, "Yes I'll do it."

We then headed back Delights to eat with the voucher in hand. I had white chocolate cinnamon french toast and a mixed berry smoothie. The french toast was delicious. The mixed berry smoothie tasted fresh but it had too many seeds. I also ordered a mocha pastry which I didn't eat until the next day.

Courtney had ordered eggs and ham, a strawberry smoothie, and her mom ordered a Caesar salad and coffee. Everything was covered by the $50 dining credit. Would I eat there again without a credit? Probably not but it was fun to try. I was expecting it to be a big fancy restaurant but it was a tiny place.

After breakfast, Courtney and her mom needed to go to Target. Then we went to the outlets and looked around for a bit. Courtney needed some wrapping paper for her gift to Nick so we went to The Container Store.

Courtney had brought along her brother for the trip and she and her mom wanted to surprise him to the Rock of Ages show at The Venetian so we all went to see it. Before we went to see it we ate at a food court at The Venetian.

I'd been to The Venetian lots of times before but I had no idea there was food court! I ate food from Wasabi James since I was in the mood for Asian food. While walking back and forth between the food court and the casino I noticed there was an area to make reservations at TAO. I remembered in 2010 he had his birthday at TAO in Las Vegas. I wondered if he was going to do something there... (It turned out my wonderings were true since Nick did have his birthday part there. Damn it, I should have made a reservation for the evening of January 26th :p)

Then we went to watch the show. It a high energy show and pretty entertaining. The storyline was simple but I liked how the different songs went with it. I got a kick out of when the lead actor Drew was being recruited by a manager who wanted to turn him into a boyband type of singer and said he's more of a "Street Boy" than a rocker.

After the show we walked over to the Harrah's casino. Since I had won $160 in credits last year from Total Rewards I wanted to redeem the credits for gift cards before they would expire in February. It was a long process to order but I ordered a $50 Shell Gift Card and a $25 Starbucks Gift Card.

We got back to the hotel sometime past midnight. I had only been through casinos for a couple of hours and my clothes already smelled like cigarette smoke. Indoor smoking is a big downside of casinos. I knew I had to sleep but I couldn't sleep without feeling clean. Plus I was paranoid that I wouldn't have time on Saturday morning to shower so I decided to get it over with.

I had a hard time falling asleep that night. The excitement of seeing Nick again kept me up. I think I got about 3 hours of sleep total. At around 8:30 AM'ish Courtney and I officially wake up and prepare for our afternoon with Nick Carter.

Courtney had a make up appointment at Sephora to get her make up done so her mom dropped her off there and I went with her mom to CVS to find finishing touches for Courtney's present to Nick. I personally didn't put much effort into wrapping and packaging my gift to Nick. I just threw it into a gift bag.

When we left CVS, I saw a creepy looking man standing alone near the entrance. I honestly thought he was a creepy pimp b/c he has wearing a gold chain and dressed sort of dated. After we walked by the man, Courtney's mom said that was Joe Jackson, Michael Jackson's father. I personally am not sure if it was him but it did look like him. Plus he was standing next to a fancy Mercedes Benz. (But then again so many people in Vegas drive fancy Mercedes Benz's.)

We go back to pick up Courtney and then rush over to the Harrah's valet which was where the meeting place was for the Hang With The Band event. We were running a bit late and it didn't help that the traffic lights were super slow. I still had to change into my top for the day so Courtney and her mom dropped me off while they went to the valet and I ran to the bathroom to change. After I changed I was relieved to find that I wasn't late.

The moment I walked out of the Harrah's and to the meeting area I spotted Alison, a fan I had met last year during the 1st Hang With The Band event. We all checked in with a Hang With The Band representative named Nicole. Then around noon we got into the party bus to go to the place where the event was going to be held. Last year in the party bus Nick's "I'm Taking Off" album was blasting but this year it wasn't playing :( It kind of made the ride less exciting. I would have loved to be listening to at least Nick or Backstreet during the ride to get the energy up.

After about a 20 minute ride we arrive to the same place as the 1st event. It's a fancy luxury condo in Las Vegas. It's very high class. I think it'd be fun to live there for a while. We're led to the same waiting area as last year which is like a fancy living room and dining room. Before we went in we were searched by security. I recognized one of the security women from last year named Shannon. She was the one who was so excited to meet Nick in 2012.

We sat around and waited for Nick to arrive via limo. Whoever was the #1 bidder got to ride in the limo with Nick and two other fans. I was so curious to see who the lucky #1 fan was! The 3 fans finally arrive. 1 of the fans was #1 in bidding and she had on a beautiful dress. Then I discovered that 2 of the 3 fans were Matt and Jennifer from last year's event. We all chatted and caught up.

Part of the "Platinum" package was wine tasting so those with platinum went down to the wine cellar for wine tasting. Darren read off the names of the platinum winners in order. He was carrying a clipboard in front of him and when he said my name he made it sound like my name was on the clipboard but it actually wasn't.

We tasted 3 red wines picked by Darren and John but I didn't really like any of them. One of the wines was supposedly espresso but I didn't taste it at all. After the wine tasting the first fans to leave the wine cellar immediately go to the table where we're having a lunch. I thought that we had to go back to the meeting area where we were earlier but I didn't want to wander off by myself so I followed them.

We got to take a look at where we would sit. I discovered that I would be sitting almost across from where Nick sat. I was like, oh yeah I'll be in his line of vision. The other fans started taking pix of his table setting so I did the same.

Nick's table setting:

Darren then came down and confirmed what I first thought that we had to go back to the waiting area before sitting down at the table.

I began to get nervous. I know you're thinking, Jocelyn, you've met the dude a million times, why are you nervous? I don't know... He just makes me nervous. We all then walk to the same place where we waited for the meet and greet with Nick. My stomach is doing somersaults and my heart is beating louder than usual. I went through my head what I was going to say and do with Nick so it's nothing like last year where I rushed myself unintentionally.

Darren asked me if I was ready to meet Nick, I said that I was but I was really nervous even though I've met him before. Darren said that Nick has a hold over me (which is true :p).

We were waiting for about 5 minutes for the meet and greet to start until Rosalee, Darren's wife, had us turn around and walk back to the waiting area. I had no idea why we had to do that but we follow her anyway. She made a remark that we're getting a tour of the place.

Now that I think about it, I think the reason Rosalee had us walk back is probably Nick had finished rehearsing in the venue and the only way to get from the venue to the meet and greet area was to walk by where we were standing. I know they didn't want us to see Nick until the meet and greet.

On the way back to the waiting area one of the fans named Diane S. approached me and said that she had read my blog on the event from last year. She asked if I was going to write another one and I said that I was. I thanked her for taking the time read it.

It's about another 5 minutes and Rosalee has us line up again and we walk back to where we were. My nervousness rises to the sky. I tried to calm myself down by saying to myself just imagine you're talking to Nick like he's a customer on the phone at work.

One by one we each go down the stairs to the area where Nick is to meet with him one on one. Once I'm at the top of the stairs and my heart is thumping so hard. I then get the signal to walk down the stairs. Rosalee is down there and we wait for my turn.

The fan before me named Kriste then walks out and it's officially my turn. I walk into the room and it felt smaller than I remember. There's a video camera following my every move so I get self-consciousness. Also, off to the side are Nick's friends looking at us. John sort of makes an introduction of me to Nick saying I was there last year and Nick gives an indication that he remembers me and recognizes me which surprised me since it's been almost a year since I've seen him.

I say, "Hi Nick. Happy Birthday."

He thanks me. I go to ask the question that I had run through my head a million times: How does it feel to be 33? but something else comes out of my mouth.

I ended up asking him, "How does it feel to be 23, I mean 33! Ah!"

Nick laughs and he says, "23? I like that."

It's time to take the picture so I make a point to put my bag and his gift down on the couch behind us. I remember last year in my picture I was holding something in my hand. I wanted only Nick to be in my hand :p

The photographer takes 2 pictures and then I proceed with the second thing I had run through my head to say to him. I said to him, "I got you a gift. I see on Twitter that you like Under Armour so I got you Under Armour shirts." He opens up the bag and looks inside. He pulls out the white shirt first and says, "This is perfect." Then I said, "There's another one in there." He looks in the bag and sees it. He thanks me for the gift.

Then I proceed to the 3rd thing I had spent thinking a million times to have him do. I know we could get at least one item signed by Nick so I told him, "I have enough autographed pictures of you so I want something a little different this time."

I pulled a white piece of card stock paper and markers. I said, "Draw something, anything, feel free to feel like you're in elementary school."

He takes the black marker and says, "I'll draw something that I always doodle."

He starts making long squiggly lines and it becomes clear he's drawing a person. While he draws I try to fill the silence so I say the first thing that comes to my mind which is, "I like your jacket" and I sort of pet his arm. His reaction was like "yeah whatever."

Then he starts drawing big bulging eyes. I said out loud, "What are you drawing? What is he on?" lol He ignores my questions and concentrates.

As he draws, I notice he's wearing an anchor bracelet so again to fill the silence as he draws, I say, "Oooh I like your bracelet." He turns his wrist and does his "yeah whatever" reaction and keeps drawing. Okay, lesson learned, don't talk to Nick while he draws. (I found out later that the #1 bidder had given him that bracelet as a birthday gift. She asked if Nick said anything about her giving it to him and I said no.)

Apparently it's a drawing of himself and he wrote "Scared to sing?" I don't know why he would be scared to sing. I wish he signed the drawing but now that I think about it I think the reason he didn't sign is because I said I had enough autographed pictures of him.

John is nearby looking on as Nick draws and says, "Wow, we got some sketch-art going here."

When Nick is done drawing, he gives the card stock paper back to me. I thank him and try to scramble for another question. I ask him is there any news he can tell me about the Backstreet album? I told him that we're Vegas and I won't tell anyone else. All he said was, "It's almost done."

Then I mentioned that we're anxious for the new album and tour especially since New Kids and those other groups (I honestly had a brain fart on 98 Degrees & Boyz II Men lol) announced their new tour and album. Nick didn't say anything or make any sort of remark about that. Either he's deaf or he's trying to keep himself from saying something that'll spread online.

After that question, John had Nick and I wrap up our one on one time. I thanked Nick again and wished him Happy Birthday again. John then escorted me out of the room. He verified the spelling of my name which I think was so that Nick would spell it right on the autograph card we all would get with our framed picture.

I climb up the stairs and a female security guard escorts me to a door. Next to the door there's a sign that says, "Media Room." I honestly felt like Alice-In-Wonderland for bit because when I opened the door and walked through it I was faced with another door.

When I opened that door, I saw it was the venue where Nick would do the acoustic show. It was the same place as last year. I go find my seat that has my name and find that I'm in the same row as last year except I'm on the left side this time.

I took a picture of the drawing Nick made and posted it on Instagram.

We waited about 15 or so minutes until everyone is done with their meet and greet. After the meet and greet my adrenaline was at full blast. I felt like I could run a marathon. Darren and John then enter the venue and announce that Nick is ready to perform. They asked us to scream and cheer for Nick to get up pumped up.

Nick enters the room and finds his stool. He takes off his jacket and my first thought was aw, why didn't you take off your jacket during the meet and greet. I would've loved his arms showing off his tattoos in my pic.

He went to lay his jacket down on the counter behind him. Then the candles there caught his eyes. He grabbed one, cradled it in his hands and asked us, "Do you think this is real?"

I think most of us were like "huh?"

I tried to take a pic of him holding the candle but my camera was being mean. The pic came out blurry.

Nick put the candle back down and took a seat. He said that he wanted this year's event to be different that last years. He said he wanted to sing new songs that we've never heard. My excitement grew when he said that! I remember last year he sang songs that I wasn't too fond of. He introduced his guitar player named Dory (SP?). I recognized Dory from last year at Nick's after party in Vanity. I swear he spent most of his time last year talking to Dory at the club than with his own girlfriend.

Dory and Nick playfully bantered with each other which I thought was so cute. Nick had his hand on his Dory's shoulder affectionately touched him and gushing about him. I think Dory jokingly said I didn't know you felt that way about me lol

I knew this year's setlist would be better because the first song he sang was "Falling Down." That is one of my favorite songs of his ever. I immediately hit the record button on my camera.

Then he sang "Just One Kiss." I'm not a fan of that song so I was glad to give my arm a rest from recording.

This picture amuses me. What's he looking up at the ceiling for?

One of my Twitter followers had retweeted this picture that was taken by the fan sitting behind me. You can see some of me on the right hand side.

He then started talking about the new album. He totally made the rest of us jealous when he said he played some potential Backstreet Boys songs for the new album for the #1 bidder and the 2 fans who went on the limo ride with him. He said, "I'm not trying to make y'all jealous." Sorry honey but you did.

Then he started talking about the Seth Rogan news which was already leaked online. I seriously wanted to shout out we already know that but I didn't have the guts to rain on his parade since he looked so happy to be sharing "exclusive news". I didn't want to look like some sort of know-it-all. He was like you can't tweet this... In my head I'm thinking, it's already been tweeted.

He said he was going to sing a song he's never performed live before. Before he did it he was like let me pull something out and my 1st thought was, what? Your dick? It's good I have a filter on my mouth b/c he probably would have given me the look of death if I said that out loud. It turns out he pulled out his iPhone. He had to Google the song lyrics to refresh his memory.

He said that he was going to sing "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel and my first thought was, NAPA! In 2010, in Napa when Ryan Star sang "In Your Eyes" Backstreet joined in and sang back up for him. I was glad that I got to hear Nick sing it by himself. He poured so much emotion into singing the song. I know it's not obvious in the video I took but at some parts of the song he was scrolling this his iPhone to verify the lyrics.

"In Your Eyes"

Then he sang "I Want It That Way." He asked for a little audience participation with us during the song and had us sing out some parts for him. When he got to, "don't wanna hear you say" I wondered if he would sing it b/c he rarely does. He was like, fine I'll do it and he did it and I was like awwwwwwwww and I didn't record it. Oh, well, it's in my head.

For the next song he said we have 3 choices, all of them which are unreleased:

1. Just Kids
2. Prisoner
3. Gotta Get With You - (Nick mentioned that his friend Shadrick (SP?) played it a club and he pointed him out. Shadrick was standing off to the side watching on and so was Chris.)

Most of the fans voted for "Prisoner". I honestly wanted to hear "Gotta Get With You" b/c I never heard it. No one picked "Just Kids." The song title sounded boring to me and I thought it would be a song about having kids.

The he said, "You know what? I really want to sing 'Just Kids.'"

Well Nick... why did you ask us to pick a song when you don't want to sing what most of us want?! :p

Since he was super eager to sing "Just Kids" we started to chant "do it, do it, do it". Then someone made a comment about peer pressure to Nick since he had to decide between singing what he wanted and what most of the fans wanted.

After thinking about it he said, "Okay I'll do 'Just Kids.'"

Nick explained that "Just Kids" is a song he wrote. He said it could be a potential Backstreet Boys song but it might not make the album. He said that Kevin really loves it and wants it on the Backstreet Boys album too.

He said "Just Kids" is a song that is a reflection on the past and was inspired on his time as a Backstreet Boy. It was definitely not what I originally thought it would be about! I listened carefully to the lyrics as he sang and I was shocked. The song that none of us wanted to hear turned out to be BEAUTIFUL. Hahaha I guess we shouldn't judge a song by it's song title :p

After he sang the song he started to talk about what he had heard Michael Jackson say about performing a song live and needing an audience to hear it to get a feel of their reaction. I hope we all gave him the kind of reaction he was looking for. I know I was very impressed by the performance. It was really special for me to hear him sing a song he hadn't performed live before.

The next song he sang was "Prisoner". I felt that he sang it because of the fans voting for that first. He forgot how it started so Dory told him the lyrics have the words, "four walls, black dress." That sparked his memory and he was able to sing it without having to ask Dory for anymore hints. He then made a remark about maybe in the future having to be like Ozzy Obsourne and needing a teleprompter while singing.

He asked if anyone had questions for him. Someone asked about the album and touring. He's aware it's a common question fans ask because we all need to plan. Then he asked does anyone else have a question. No one was saying anything so before he could move on to another song I blurted the first question that came into my mind....

"Who's going to win the Super Bowl?" (I know not the best question but I just wanted to keep him talking and no one else was speaking up!)

He looked right at me and was like, "You want me to go there?!"

I said, "YES."

He started off by saying something like it's not the Bucs. Then he said that he loves the Ravens BUT they're kind of old so that's why he had to say that he's thinking the Niners. I was like yeah! Since I am from the Bay Area so of course like a bandwagon fan I'm supporting them now :p lol

Then the dad of the fan named Taylor who was at the event because of the "Make A Wish" foundation jokingly asked Nick, "Is it okay to tweet that out?"

Nick said that it was okay.

Nick said "Burning Up" was going to be the last song. Dory mentioned that he was listening to the song the previous night trying to get an idea of how to turn it acoustic. He said his wife asked him how he was going to do it but he managed to figure it out. Nick sang the first verse great and I was waiting for him to do Briddy Shaw's rap when... he started singing the first verse again.

I was like whaaa what is Nick doing? I guess he's doing a different version? lol Then in the middle of singing the first verse again I could tell Nick had this look on his face like something wasn't right. Then he was like oh yeah there's a rap! He was having a major brain fart on how the rap goes. After about 5 seconds he was able to remember the rap and continued to sing the song. I thought it was funny he forgot how his own song goes.

When he's done with "Burning Up", a fan says to sing one more song. He said okay which surprised me. I'm just so used to Nick being in a hurry and rushing things so it was nice he took and his time. He said that he wanted to dedicate the last song to Taylor. Taylor is part of the "Make A Wish Foundation" so he dedicated the song "Special" to her. I thought that was sooooo sweet of him to do.

This is the set list which Courtney got. Although the set list includes "More Than That" and "Gotta Get With You" he didn't sing those songs.

Nick wrapped the acoustic show up and thanked us all for coming. I noticed when he stood up to leave he put the bottle of Fiji water he was drinking out of throughout the show onto the stool he sat on. I was a woman on mission. I always read about fans grabbing the water bottles he drinks out of during the show so I was like I want that bottle. I couldn't get it right away since John asked us to say a few words about the event if we wanted to on camera.

I remember saying that I thought it was an amazing event because we got to hear songs he never performed live before.

When it's time to get up and leave, I literally bolt to his stool and grab his bottle of water. When we're out of the Media Room we got divided into 2 groups: Golds and Platinums. The Golds had to leave since they weren't part of the lunch. John announced that he would be at The Harrah's hotel/casino Sunday morning at 10 AM to pass out our pictures with Nick.

The Platinums are then escorted to the dining area. There's loud classical music playing. We all take a seat and wait for Nick. About 5 minutes later he comes in and finds his seat. He makes a remark about sitting at the head of the table and feeling like a knight since we're at a large round table.

Nick asked who was here last year and 4 of us raise our hands. He said he felt 2013 was going to be a good year for him. He mentioned how he kept seeing the number 33 everywhere. I totally understand what means by seeing the same number often. Someone mentioned that the jersey he wore during the Millennium tour had a 33 on it. He said that I don't know if you all believe in astrology but I just feel there's something about the number 33. I kind of wanted to correct him and say numbers are numerology but I'm nice so I didn't say anything. Since Nick was on the subject of astrology/numerology someone asked if he believes in Scientology. Nick said that he doesn't but he believes in aliens.

Someone then asked if he was superstitious and he said that he really wasn't. He has a few superstitions.

Nick noticed the bread basket by him so he took one piece of bread and then passed it to his right. (The bread wasn't so good in my opinion.) Then he asked, "Where's the food? I'm hungry." We all agreed that we were hungry too. The only thing I ate was the pastry from Delights at Courtney's timeshare before I changed into my outfit a few hours earlier. Other than that I was afraid to eat anything else in fear of spilling food onto my outfit and having something stuck in my teeth.

About 5 minutes later the chef for our lunch, Lisa Cornish, served our first course which was a Caprese Salad. I remember when we first started to eat someone's silverware slipped out of their fingers and created a loud clanking noise on the table and plate. Nick said, "Take your time."

To be honest, I didn't really like the salad. I usually love heirloom tomatoes but they didn't taste fresh to me. I got a kick out of watching Nick eat the salad though. I caught him stuffing a lot of spinach in his mouth and the leaves were sticking out.

Someone asked him what he thinks about technology and honestly I don't remember what he said.

Everything after that was a blur. I don't remember what happened in the right order so I'm just going to go through what stood out in my mind.

I remember getting hypnotized by Nick's flexing biceps when he put his elbows on the table and rested his chin on his clasped hands.

Someone asked him, "What are you doing on your real birthday? Are you going to spend it in Vegas?" Nick said that he was going to go Go-Cart racing in LA.

Someone asked him, "Where is your favorite place to vacation?" He had a hard time finding an answer to this question. I don't blame him. He's been to so many countries. What's left for him to consider a vacation spot? He finally answered with Hawaii. He was like what was that one island called and I think he said Kaua'i. Then the topic of cliff diving came up and then it shifted to cage diving. Nick said he had heard of a place in San Francisco where you could do that. I asked him for the name of the place because I'm from that area. He said that he didn't know.

Here's Nick's lunch menu which is the same as mine:

For lunch I had the same thing as Nick which was fish even though his name card said chicken. Nick and I had Pan Seared Salmon Filet. The salmon tasted good but last years salmon was way better. I loved the rice from this year though. The chef had put some sauce in it that helped give it a kick.

Since we were eating, someone asked Nick, "What do you like to eat?" Nick said that lately he's been eating a lot of meat. Then he mentioned that he loved sushi. I asked, "What's your favorite kind of sushi?" He said he likes sushi tori (I think that's it?) and salmon. I told him that I love salmon. Then he started talking about the sushi in Japan and how it's nothing like the sushi here in the US. He said they're pretty hardcore in Japan about their sushi. I also remember him mentioning nigiri and sashimi.

Then someone asked, "Where do you like to go out to eat?" He mentioned a restaurant on Franklin in LA but I forgot the name to it and I regret not making a note of it. The second place he mentioned was Veggie Grill which I'm already aware of since there's one near where I live and Nick's tweeted about it in the past.

Nick asked if any of us play Team Fortress 2. I asked him that's on Steam right? He said yes. I told him that I played when he played it in the beginning but that I hadn't played lately. Then I said that I always get killed. He began to tell a recent story where he was playing Team Fortress 2 and there was a player from the other team who was obviously a fan following him during the game. He said whoever that was had the opportunity to attack him but didn't and would just be staring at him and he imitated how the characters in the game stare at a player on the screen.

He asked if any of us played World of Warcraft and all of shook our heads no. He was like come on! One of the fans said something like the only video games I know are Super Mario and most of us agreed.

Then Nick asked us where we were from? I told him that I'm from Milpitas, CA which is about 45 minutes away from San Francisco. One fan was from Belgium and the fan sitting to my left, Elena, was from Russia. Elena had told me she recognized me as BedtimeDelicious on the Backstreet Boys fan club. I'm always impressed when other fans can recognize me and know what my screen name is.

I told Elena you have a lot of patience to fly from Russia to Vegas. She said it took her 3 flights to get from Russia to Vegas. One of the fans said she was from the Philippines and was currently living Riverside, Ca. Nick asked her, "Do you like Manny Pacquiao?" That just made me snicker. It's like Pacquiao is the representative for all Filipinos in the entire world. He started talking about the Pacquiao/Marques fight and how he lost because he was knocked out.

Nick asked us what we do for a living. I had a hunch he wanted to know our jobs because he wanted to know how we could drop so much $$$$$/dinero to spend barely a day with him. One of the fans who I met last year in Vegas named Diane (a different Diane than the one I mentioned earlier) said she was a patent attorney and that impressed Nick. He was like, "You and I need to talk." Then he said how he gets lots of ideas for inventions but then he finds out that what he thought was an original idea has been done before and has already been created.

When it was my turn I told him that I do technical support for the DVD transfer service for Costco, CVS, Walmart, Walgreens, and Target. I said the company transfers VHS tapes, film reels, slides, and images to DVD. I told him if he has any old VHS tapes lying around he could send them in if he wants and I could give him a coupon. The way Nick stared at me as I explained my job amused me so much. It was kind of like this: o_o

He didn't take my offer on a coupon. Oh, well. I tried lol I kind of wish I had the courage to also add that I am a dirty freelance writer of erotica and 50 Shades of Grey ain't got nothing on me :p

Elena said that she was a "Professional Stalker" and we all laughed. Nick said, "You know what? I appreciate your honesty."

Once we were all done explaining our careers/jobs I asked Nick, "So what about you Nick?" Before I could even finish my question he jokingly remarked, "Yeah, uhhh what do I do for a living?" I quickly interjected and said, "Noooo that's not what I meant. I meant what would you have been if you didn't become a Backstreet Boy."

Nick said that his Grandpa Doug was in the army and his dad was in the army. He thinks he would have followed the same path if he hadn't become a Backstreet Boy. He also said now he wouldn't join the army because he doesn't believe in the war that is going on. Then he said he could picture himself working with something dealing with the ocean.

He also mentioned he would have loved to be a sports player like a football player  and he wished that he had started working out when he was younger so he could have bulked up and built more muscles. (Um, Nick, I love your body just the way it is.) He also said that his mom wouldn't let him play sports as a kid because she was afraid that he would get hurt. He mimicked his mom while he said the part about getting hurt.

Somehow the topic of weather came up. Some of the fans came from where it was cold and snowing. Then he said something that really shocked me. He said, "You know what areas have great weather? San Diego and San Jose, CA. It's always in the 60's 70's there." I was like O_O. Did Nick Carter really just say that?! I said to Nick, "That's where I'm from!"(The San Jose part.)

He asked, "Did anyone see 'Lincoln'?" None of us said that we did. I mentioned that Daniel Day Lewis won the Golden Globe for best actor. Then he said a really good movie is "End of Watch" with Jake Gyllenhal. (Now I really want to watch that!)

Someone asked if he was going to do anymore movies/acting. Nick said that he is interested and that it's currently pilot season in LA so he's hoping to get to do something.

For those who don't know what pilots are it's when newly developed TV shows are trying to get picked up by TV networks. He was hoping to get into acting again. Then he mentioned how AJ keeps talking about called the TV show "Friends". He said his favorite show to watch at the moment is "X-Files". He said, "It's the best written show." He said since he's always busy he never got the chance to watch shows from years ago so he's watching what he can at the moment.

Speaking of TV, Nick said, "You know what I'm a fanboy of? WWF." Then the topic of wrestling reminded one fan of Lauren's quest to be a wrestling diva or whatever the hell that is.

The subject of the flu also came up. He said that he hopes he doesn't get the flu and hopes it doesn't turn to swine flu or the snake flu. I asked him, "did you not get a Flu shot?" He said, "No, I don't get flu shots."

Someone brought up the topic of the cruise. Nick asked us if we had heard about what happened on the last cruise where Brian got in trouble. I was the only one to speak up and say yeah I heard what happened. He asked me, "What did you hear?"

I said that Leighanne got mad at Brian for spanking that fan (this was during the 'Truth or Dare' game) and I was surprised she'd get mad over something like that. Then Nick was like, "I baited you guys. I just wanted to see what you were gonna say."

Asshole! lmaooooo He didn't confirm nor deny what I said but I thought it was funny he said that.

I actually got video of it which you can watch above. You can hear me explaining the spanking thing lol I actually didn't start recording until near the end of lunch. I noticed the fan next to me, Kriste, was recording and I thought why didn't I think of that earlier?! I didn't think my camera would pick up audio of Nick talking but to my surprise it did! I regret not recording the whole thing but it's okay. It let me at least absorb and enjoy the moments.

He talked about Fantasy Football between him, the other Bsb's, and management. He said he did really bad because by the end he had 3rd string players on his teams. He said that he tried to do something, like trade players (I'm not sure since I've never played Fantasy football) but they all vetoed him. He said their tour manager came in first and Kevin came in 2nd.

Someone said we should all do Fantasy Football with him next time. He said now that he knows how Fantasy Football works, if we play with him next time we're going to be like "Screw you Nick" after he wins. (Why yes Nick I'd love to screw you ;))

Then he started talking more about football. He mentioned Monte Kiffin because a fan named Jennifer said that the Dallas Cowboys is her favorite football team. Nick said that Monte is the best defensive coordinator in the NFL and that Dallas is lucky to have him. Then he mentioned Lane Kiffin (Monte Kiffin's son and who I have heard about because he used to be the head coach for the Oakland Raiders).

Nick wondered which college Lane coached for and he wasn't sure if it was USC or not. Since I watch the news often and I hear Lane's name often during the sports segments, I helped confirm for Nick that Lane Kiffin is the head coach for USC.

There was one moment toward the end of lunch where Nick stared off into space for like 15 seconds. He didn't move at all and just kept still. I don't know if I was the only one to notice but it amused me and freaked me out at the same time. I almost wanted to ask out loud, "Hey Nick where did you go?" because it seriously looked like he just checked out completely. Oh, what I would have given to have Sookie Stackhouse mind reading powers at that moment to hear what was going on in his brain at that moment.

Dessert is then served. We were given 3 different types. I loved the creme brulee. I didn't like the fruit tart with berries and I usually LOVE anything berry. There was also German Chocolate Cheese but it tasted like coconut to me. Nick didn't eat the coconut tasting thing either. He did eat all of the creme thing. (Yay we have the same taste in dessert :p)

Nick getting his birthday cake

Chef Lisa and John from Hang With The Band then come out with a birthday cake for Nick. We sing him happy birthday. Chef Lisa is standing behind Nick and is acting like she's going to push Nick's face into the cake. I wish she would have done it hehe Chef Lisa joked that they could only find 21 candles and not 33.

Nick then hovered his mouth over the bottom right corner of his cake and acted like he was going to chomp down on it. He teased for a bit before finally attacking the corner and taking a mouthful of chocolate cake into his mouth. The chef then takes the cake back to the kitchen to cut. She makes a remark about marriage in which made one of the fans ask him about marriage.

He said one word, "Maybe." Then he added, "That's private stuff."

That's when I jokingly said, "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."

Chef Lisa then serves a piece of cake to each of us. The cake was all right.

Video of us singing him "Happy Birthday" and brief marriage talk.

A woman, who I assume is Dory's wife told Nick that her and the rest of his entourage would be waiting outside for him. That was the beginning of the end of our Hang With The Band event with Nick. Nick thanked us and then left. We stayed at the table and chatted for a bit. The chef who cooked for us, Lisa Cornish, took Nick's spot at the head of the table and entertained us while we waited for what to do next.

About 2 minutes later Nick walks back into the room. Apparently he came back to grab his bottle of Vitamin water which I noticed was my favorite flavor: XXX. I thought yay we have the same taste in Vitamin Water ;) He says bye to us all again and leaves for good. That was the last time I saw Nick that weekend :(

While waiting for instructions on what to do next from Hang With The Band, we sit and wait with Chef Lisa who says she doesn't want to be in the kitchen doing dishes. She asks us if we have any questions for her. I ask her, "Who's the most famous person you've cooked for besides Nick?" She says she's cooked for Vince Neil and mostly local Las Vegas celebrities like Wayne Newton.

After a few minutes of small talk with Chef Lisa, we all get the news it's time to leave. I was bursting with so much energy over spending a few hours with Nick Carter. I enjoyed getting to see him in an intimate environment without pushy fans and annoying security guards yelling at fans to back off. I definitely felt like I got my money's worth with this experience. My expectations were very low. I've met Nick lots of times before to know that sometimes he has a tendency to close himself off to fans and rush things to get it over with. I'm glad that he took his time with us and opened up to us.

Would I do this again? I'll have to steal Nick's answer to marriage and say "maybe". It would really depend on what's included in the next event if there is one. I know in my review for the 1st event I wrote that I probably wouldn't do it again and here I am a year later writing a review on the 2nd event so I'm going to keep an open mind and wait to see what's offered for next year.

We all file back into the limo and head back to the Las Vegas strip where we're all dropped off. Courtney and I head to the Mirage hotel/casino and hang out for a bit. Then we went to the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino. It felt surreal to me to be back at the Hard Rock since a year ago that's where I stayed for the first event.

After the Hard Rock we go back to Courtney's time share. It felt bittersweet to have to get ready to go home on Sunday and then face reality back on Monday. As I laid in bed and reflected on the afternoon with Nick, I got a bit emotional thinking that even though I have one of the most stressful jobs in the world, in the end it was all worth it to go through the hassle of bitchy customers and long overtime hours to have a wonderful weekend in Las Vegas with great people and my favorite singer in the entire universe, Nick Carter.

I woke up around 7:30 AM on Sunday. I couldn't fall back asleep because I was anxious to pick up my picture with Nick. I decided to get ready and finish up packing my belongings. Courtney then wakes up and gets ready. We were running a bit late but we managed to get to The Harrah's and find John. He had a bunch of gift bags around his feet. He hands us each a bag with our picture inside.

When I first looked at the picture I was so relieved the picture came out beautiful. I always get paranoid that pictures will come out bad. The photographer had taken 2 pictures of us and John said he and the other Hang With The Band people picked what they thought was the best out of the 2. Courtney then asked if it was possible to have digital copies of both pictures and any other pictures from the event. He said they would try to send them to us but that with the other pictures of Nick during the event they would have to first see if they could clear the rights to them. Apparently, Nick and his people have to approve what is sent out and also the photographer has to give permission as well.

I was a bit disappointed Nick didn't write a little note to us like last year. Lazy bum lol

After picking up our pictures, I spot Alison from last year's event and her mom. They were on their way out to walk around Vegas. I had a $100 credit to Nine Fine Irishmen and invited them to a late lunch which they accepted. Elena from Russia spotted me and asked to see my picture with Nick. I showed it to her and she showed me her picture as well. Her picture was cute because Nick is hugging her from the back. Ya know if I was 100 lbs thinner, I'd so do that pose with him. I want Nick behind me. (Wait, that didn't sound right :p)

Courtney, her mom, and I then head to the Aria Hotel and Casino to eat at Jean Philippe's Patisserie. I was surprised at how busy Jean Philippe's Patisserie was. The line was long and all of the tables were occupied. Once again thanks to the MyVegas Facebook game I earned a $10 dining credit there. My credit was for a pastry but I couldn't find a single pastry anywhere!

All I saw were crepes, sundae's, and sandwiches. It was too early for a sundae and I didn't want a sandwich so I got a vanilla souffle crepe topped with nutella. I hadn't had a crepe since high school so I wanted to try something I don't get to have everyday. The crepe was good but it had a TON of nutella. Would I go back and spend money on a crepe there? Probably not.

Once we're done with brunch, we head back to Courtney's time share. I finished up packing and say my goodbyes to Courtney and her mom. Since Courtney and her mom had to handle some business with their timeshare and management, her brother was kind enough to drive me back to the Las Vegas strip where I would hang out until it was time for my flight. I scheduled my flight for 7:20 PM in the evening just to give myself some wiggle room and to not feel rushed on Sunday.

Courtney's brother dropped me off at the MGM Grand. I felt comfortable over there because it's where I stayed last year and I was familiar with where everything was from there. I stopped at a Starbucks first because I wanted to call my parents and gush about my weekend. After that I went to the luggage desk, I noticed there were signs in the lobby saying Joe Montana, former quarterback of the San Francisco 49'ers, was doing a meet and greet there. If I had known beforehand I would have tried to go. Apparently a ticket was needed to meet him and it looked like it was too late to do that.

After I had my luggage stored, I met up with Alison and her mom at Nine Fine Irishmen at the NYNY Hotel and Casino which is close to the MGM Grand. I had a $100 credit I earned from the MyVegas Facebook game so to get the value of the credit, I ordered so much food and drinks and had Alison and her mom order whatever they wanted. I probably looked like a pig to Alison and her mom with all the food I ordered.

I ordered buffalo wings for an appetizer, fish and chips, macaroni & cheese, 2 alcoholic drinks, a Pepsi, and sticky toffee cheesecake for dessert. I know you're thinking, damn, did you eat all that?! There answer is no lol I didn't touch the mac and cheese and ended up taking it home. I didn't finish all of the fish and chips and I didn't finish dessert either. It's okay though because I got to use up my credit :D

We then walked around NYNY and try to find a gift for my mom. Per the request of my dad I bought him playing cards so I needed to get something for my mom. I didn't find anything at NYNY so we went to a souvenir shop across the street. While there I bought my parents each a shirt since it was 2 for $15 plus tax. After that, I said goodbye to Alison and her mom since it was getting close to my time to go to the airport.

I have a tradition of going to the Monte Carlo hotel/casino to get a cupcake at the Cupcakery but I had to break it. I was soooooooo full from Nine Fine Irishmen. Plus it's pretty hard to travel with a cupcake so I had to pass. I miss that place though and hopefully whenever I go to Vegas again I get the chance to go.

Before I went to pick up my luggage at the MGM Grand luggage desk, I decide to try my luck on the slot machines. I hadn't gambled at all so I figured I had to do it at least once. I wandered around the casino trying to find a machine that gave me a winning feeling.

I spotted a slot machine that said "Cougarlicious" and I thought it was sooooo hilarious. I was like this is the machine. It was a penny slot machine so I figured I didn't have much to lose from trying it. I put in $20 and bet the maximum. At first I didn't win anything and I was about to quit but of course I just had to keep on trying. I ended up turning my $20 into $43.34 after the machine told me I had a "big win". As much as I wanted to keep going I was happy with my $23.34 profit and stopped gambling. I redeemed my money and went to the luggage desk.

After I got my luggage, I saw there were stations to print out boarding passes. I thought they were only for hotel guests only but I thought it wouldn't hurt to try. I was glad I tried because I was able to print out my boarding pass. That saved me 5 minutes at the airport.

I had so many bags with me so I had to figure out a way to consolidate everything. I didn't want to put my framed picture with Nick inside my luggage because I feared the frame would break. After rearranging everything I managed to get everything into my luggage to check-in while I hand carried my purse and picture with Nick.

I took a taxi to the airport and check my luggage in. The employee checking my luggage in called my name so I stepped up to the counter. Then he yelled out my name again and I thought whaaaaa I'm right here. He's a tall guy so he jokingly looks down at me and goes, "Oh there are you are and by the way that wasn't a short joke." I laugh and think, damn am I really that short?! lmao

I breeze through security and before I head to my gate I spot a Coffee Bean. Another one of my Vegas traditions and getting a frozen lemonade at The Coffee. Once I get it, I make the long journey to my gate. The weekend had breezed by so fast. I wish I could have stayed longer but I needed to get back to reality so I can earn more money for whatever the next Backstreet related event will be.

If you made it this far into my review I truly commend you for taking the time to read my babbling.

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~ashley~ said...

This is an amazing review!!!...thanks for sharing your experience with us!! sounds like you had a really great time...its kinda making me want to go next year...haha! =)

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