|I had to safety pin my bra straps to the dress so that they wouldn't show.|
This was pre-airbrush tan.
|Standing in line, waiting to go to the soundcheck|
On our drive down from Bloomington to St. Louis, we still had not received any details via email about the timeline for the day. We knew somewhat what to expect from reading about people's experiences in Chicago the night before, but things didn't go as planned for them in Chicago, so it was hard to know exactly what was going to happen. I think it was only a couple hours before they wanted people there that the emails finally went out.
We arrived at the venue early and stood in line for about an hour and half-ish before they started checking us in right on time at 3:30ish. The Jesse McCartney VIPs went in first, and then we got our turn. Since it was pretty hot out and we finished lining up in record time, they let us sit in the amphitheater while we waited for the soundcheck to begin. At about 5, the guys made their way on stage after Howie's adorable son came out and waved hi to us.
Brian was a complete goofball the entire time, and Nick seemed very focused. That surprised me at his solo concert, too. How incredibly different his real self and his stage persona seem to be. I like them both, but it is interesting. He's definitely a professional and extremely talented—that's for sure. Howie, on the other hand, was signing a stack of 8x10 photos while he was singing. It didn't bother me that much, but I was amused by his multitasking. The guys sang four or five songs and then took a few questions from the crowd.
Then, it was time for our pictures.
They led us out of the amphitheater and over to a nearby fenced-in tent area, starting with the Silver VIPs, then Gold, then Platinum. The Bronze level only included the soundcheck, so they left. The Silver level included a group picture with Backstreet Boys, so those were done almost instantly. T and E were in the Gold group, which got individual pictures with BSB, and I was anxiously staring at my phone in line, waiting for updates from them. The word was that it went super fast and that security was not allowing hugs.
When it was time for the Platinums to go, the 30 of us filed into the fenced-in area, and there were the guys standing together at the other end of the tent. I was near the end of the line, so I had plenty of time to see what everyone before me was doing. I did hear Kevin tell one of the girls, "It's an honor to be on your breast," referring to her Backstreet Boys tattoo. They also seemed to take time to read the homemade shirts a few of the fans were wearing. A couple girls got side hugs from Kevin; but otherwise, it was some quick conversations, hand shaking, and picture taking. Maybe half a minute of interaction per fan.
I walked up to Brian, who was standing closest to us, shook his hand, and told him my name. Next up was Howie, then Kevin, then Nick, and AJ last. I introduced myself to basically all of them (and I think maybe Howie introduced himself to me??), and I know AJ said, "Rebekah, nice to meet you." I can't remember what anyone else said. I squeezed in between Kevin and Nick for the picture and said, "I have to stand here because I'm real tall," which is a take on a quote from their All Access documentary video thing they put out years ago. Of course, no one got it, but after I thanked them, one of them said, "Have fun, sweetheart." I wish I knew who it was because he would be my favorite Backstreet Boy now. It was either Kevin, Nick or AJ. I think it was Nick, but I can't be sure. It really was a blur, but I really appreciated how each guy made eye contact and really made each fan feel special for those few seconds. From there, I headed into the adjoining tent to wait for further instructions. With shaking hands, I texted my friends about my quick but magical experience.
|You can click the image if you'd like to see it bigger.|
Justin came in to lead us to the "green room," which was another tent on the other side of the venue. There, we picked up our posters and took advantage of the cash bar, which we were free to use until BSB went on stage. He also gave us some of the details about us going on stage—where and when we needed to meet for that. I stuck around long enough to buy a drink and grab my poster, and then I left to find the girls.
We grabbed dinner in the concession area and headed in after Jesse McCartney's set was over. This time, our seats were about 10 rows from the stage, but way on the right side. They were still decent seats, but it was hard to get good pictures.
When "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely" began, it was time for me to get ready to go on stage. I geeked out with my friends, reapplied my lipstick, and headed to our meeting spot on the other side of the stage. After the next song, which was "Breathe," Justin and Q came out to line us up and prep us. They told us that cameras were not allowed and that we needed to stay seated on stage until they came and got us. If we tried to get to the guys, we would be removed. Then, they divided us in half, and I realized I was going to be in the last/third row on my side. Not ideal, but still exciting. It was still on stage, so I wasn't going to complain!
At the end of the next song, the stage went dark, and we filed in guided by flashlights. When all 30 of us were seated on risers, the guys came out and sat in front of us at their instruments for an acoustic set. They turned around and smiled or waved, but that was about all the interaction they had with us. I spotted T and E in the crowd and sang along and smiled in hopes that they could see me, too. At one point, the girl next to me leaned over and said how excited she was or something, and I told her I could pop up a tent on the stage and just live there. It was great even if I was just watching the guys' backs. After three songs ("10,000 Promises," "Madeleine," and "Quit Playing Games"), we had to go. A couple lucky girls in front got a hug from Brian, and then the guys walked off the opposite side of the stage we did.
I gave Justin a well deserved high five, high fived a couple other fans on the way back, and rejoined the girls. I was happy we got to experience the rest of the show since Chicago had been cut short.
After the show, we went straight back to the car since I had to bus it back home, and the girls were headed to Indianapolis for the final Package Tour show, which ended up rounding out a weekend they would never forget! T was picked to go on stage during the 98 degrees set! The guys sang to her, and she even got a long hug from Drew, her favorite!
Finally, I feel as if I should recant ever saying that people should not wear the T-shirt of a band they're going to see or a homemade shirt to a concert. I've been thinking about it for awhile, but I hereby take it all back. Some fans may give you the sideeye, but it can help you get noticed by the band. Plus, I think opening bands kind of dig it because then they know you're there for them. T's 98 degrees shirt in Indy may have played a part in getting her on stage, and the Backstreet Boys did acknowledge the homemade shirts the VIPs had worn for them. So yeah, I'm going to be less judgy about that in the future.
Also, Lou Pearlman.
If you missed my post about the Chicago concert the night before, you can see that one here.