Saturday, July 23, 2022

The Backstreet Boys Concert

You are, my fire.  The one desire.  Believe, when I say.  I want it that way...    

Oh my goodness, I can not even begin to tell you how much fun Eliot, Kaitlin and I had Thursday night at the Backstreet Boys DNA World Tour in Bangor!!!

It's like it was all a dream... one you can't believe might actually be real.

Thursday was an absolutely insane day- but in the best way.  After a very late night (morning) working on orders for our Etsy shops, the alarm went off at 7 am for Eliot to get up for work.  I hadn't slept much, and since I was going to be doing the driving, he was instructed not to wake me up if I was still sleeping.  I made sure he got up to shower and promptly fell back asleep- only waking when he kissed me goodbye.

At 8:30, my alarm went off for me to get up.  I was running off only five or so hours of sleep, but I had things I needed to get done before we left.  I spent the morning checking things off of my to do list, so I was just about done everything I could be by the time Eliot rolled in at 12:30 pm after his half day.  We worked hard to finish the rest of the orders, packing them up to mail... and then packing clothes for the weekend.  

It was so hot though.  Even with the AC in our living room, we were both sweating like pigs.  After I was finished with all of my tasks, I showered and got dressed.  Eliot needed another shower since he was drenched in sweat.  Then, we loaded the Jeep, dropped the packages off at the post office and were on our way to Bangor!

Naturally, we didn't get on the road as soon as we wanted to.  But my cousin Kaitlin was also running about an hour behind her schedule.  We still figured she'd beat us to Bangor, but we'd all be there later than planned.  Thankfully, it all worked out.  Kaitllin arrived earlier than us, but had time to run into Walmart while Eliot and I were still driving.  We pulled up next to her in the Walmart parking lot at 5:30 pm, an hour later than planned, but still with plenty of time before the 7:30 concert.

She hopped in our car and we drove around the corner to the restaurant.  We had dinner at Five Guys since we'd get our food fairly quick, and it was better than running through a drive through.  While eating, Kaitlin told us about how Emery (her oldest and the ring bearer at our wedding) discovered the Backstreet Boys a few weeks ago.  He was pretty perturbed when he found out that his mother was going to their concert without him.  We all got a pretty good laugh about it since she and I were obsessed with them when we were a little older than him, and this was the first time Kaitlin was even seeing them in concert.  At least we'd take a few videos for him to watch!

After dinner, I programmed the Maine Savings Amphitheater into my phone and I followed the GPS over.  We ended up in a parking garage where you had to have pre-paid, but the nice lady at the booth let us turn around.  She also gave us instructions where we could park somewhere safe and for free!  It took us a minute to find it, but once I did we parked, gathered our things and started the trek to the concert venue... aka following the crowd since we didn't actually know where we were going!

It was a bit of a hike from where we parked, but thankfully we had plenty of time to get there.  As we got closer, there were more people heading in the same direction.  Some groups had matching shirts they made for the event- or they were sporting vintage BSB tour shirts.  When we were almost at the entrance to the venue, both Kaitlin and I felt a few rain drops fall, but miraculously the sky didn't open up like we expected it to.

We went through security and finally got checked in with our tickets.  (My Ticketmaster account was giving Eliot a hard time!)  We explored the venue on our way towards the front where our amazing seats awaited us.  On the way, we quickly looked at the tour merchandise, but decided to pass since everything was so expensive and we weren't huge fans of the graphics on it anyways.

Eliot guided us to our seats and Kaitlin and I couldn't believe how close we were.  We settled in and took in the view.  I sent a text to check in with my best friend Katie, but they were just parking.  We decided to stay put.  The pre-show started right before 7:30; Delta Goodrem was the opening act and she was really good.  I've never heard any of her songs before, but we enjoyed her performance and her band!

After they were finished with their set, we decided that it was now or never to run to the bathroom and get drinks.  I really didn't need to go to the bathroom, but I didn't want to miss a second of the Backstreet Boys.  Plus, I knew there was no way that I'd survive the evening without some water to hydrate with.  We made our way back out to the restrooms.  Eliot was in and out, so he left to get waters while Kaitlin and I waited in the women's line.  Thankfully, it didn't take as long as I was expecting it to, and the three of us were back in our seats in no time!

We watched the stage guys getting everything set up.  Before we knew it, the lights dimmed and the giant LED screen at the back of the stage turned on; it was time!

The music started pumping through the speakers and I giggled with Kaitlin that I had forgotten how loud concerts actually are.  Everyone went nuts as the screen flashed the names of all the Backstreet Boys albums from when I first discovered them through now.  A lot of people don't realize it (including Kaitlin), but they have still been releasing albums the past few years, and they've had a few new songs on the radio.  Eliot and I listen to them on Spotify, so we're familiar with a few of them.

When the five guys first came out on the stage, everyone went nuts.  We were seated on the very bottom level where the ground was pretty flat, but we could still see them really well in between all of the hands waving around in the air.  (They were so close to us!)  It was very much like a dance club party atmosphere, but it was fun.

They started the concert by singing a lot of their newer songs in between songs that we've heard for years.  I thought it was a clever way to keep fans engaged if they hadn't heard the newer stuff.  I was amazed at how they all were able to sing and dance even with the humidity feeling almost unbearable.  You could tell that they were sweating and hot, but they were absolute professionals who kept the show going.

Photo Source via Las Vegas Weekly

And what an incredible show it was.  The set was very simple, but it looked amazing visually.  There was a giant LED screen in the background that provided an always changing backdrop.  They also had panels hanging that could change colors and move.  Finally, there were some occasional laser lights that brought energy to the set.

The show slid along as if no time had passed.  We made our way through the classics, through the songs that I've sung for years.  Kaitlin and Eliot were taping some of it, but I was mostly trying to stay in the moment.  Plus, my iPhone 7 wasn't going to take the best videos anyways.  Lucky for me, I have an amazing husband who taped a lot of it for me since he knew how much my phone videos stink!

There were some funny moments too.  The girl directly in front of me had a sign for Nick that she was trying to wave in the air.  It took us a while to figure out what she wrote.  I finally asked her, and she said Lance Bass (from N'SYNC) had commented on her photo online for her to tell Nick that he liked his frosted tips.  I have no idea if this was true or not, but when Nick was finally able to squint through the spotlights and read it, he grinned and chuckled.  And we all got a good laugh about it.

Another funny moment was the "strip tease" scene where AJ and Kevin did a quick change right in front of the audience inside of these little booths.  You couldn't see anything, but it was funny.  They jokingly reminisced about the days when girls used to throw their bras at them and we all got a good chuckle about it.  Then they tossed two pairs of briefs into the crowd at the foot of the stage.  (We're assuming they were new clean ones... no one would have wanted the sweaty mess real ones would have been!)

It was even funnier now that we're all adults.  It was a great opportunity for everyone to laugh since we grew up with the band.  (They have been doing this for over twenty five years!)  Most of the people in the crowd were an older audience anyways; we would have all been in middle school or high school when the Backstreet Boys first came out.

Everyone in our section was definitely enjoying themselves.  It was hard to get a completely clear view of the guys and the stage since there were so many phones and hands in the air, but I couldn't complain; people were having lots of fun.  We were also looking up at it a little, but I was enjoying the atmosphere and the fact that we were able to see live music in person again.  Plus, it was my favorite childhood band, so it was worth every single second- even with the view of hands and phones!

There was a special moment in the show during their new song "No Place" where the screens on either side of the stage showcased videos of the band members and their families.  In it, their wives and kids were also singing along.  Everyone really enjoyed that and it seemed extra special since so many of the people in the audience now have kids of their own.  I'd seen video footage of another concert where the guys had their children there and all of the kids sang on stage with their Dads; it was so sweet.  (I later realized the video we saw was their music video so you can see it below.)   

My favorite part of the entire concert was when they sang "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)".  There was a lot of video build up before it, and lucky for me, Eliot video taped the entire performance- which was about five minutes.  Everyone was going absolutely nuts and it was definitely a party scene down in our section.  The audience was totally jamming out to this classic.  This moment was the highlight of the night for me.

Before I knew it, they were playing the final songs in their set.  I had peeked online at their set list so I'd have an idea what was going on.  Naturally, the super popular hit "I Want It That Way" was one of their last songs.  It was actually the song before their two encore songs.  Everyone was singing along with that one and I did record a little of it.

They came back out to sing their newer hit "Don't Go Breaking My Heart" which was then followed by "Larger Than Life" which I knew was their final song.  As they sang the last few bars, thanked all of us for coming and told us to get home safely, I soaked in every single second that I could.  Before I knew it... the canons shot off covering our entire section with light blue and white confetti and the stage went dark.

The lights in the venue turned on and the concert was over around 10:30 pm.  Eliot, Kaitlin and I all sat in our seats for a few minutes while everyone else made their way to the exits.  There were so many people all going to the exact same exit location, so we figured we'd wait for the rush to end.  Eventually, we joined the crowd and made our way back through the venue to the exit.

We walked back to the Jeep and the trek back seemed so much faster than the hike over.  Around us, people drove by with the Backstreet Boys cranked on their stereos and I had to chuckle.  (It reminded me of the atmosphere after the Sharks win and everyone is elated afterwards.)  Maybe it was because we were running on adrenaline, or maybe it was because it was much cooler once the sun had set.  But the three of us were back at the Jeep before we knew it.

I used the GPS to get over to Walmart so Eliot and I could drop Kaitlin back off at her car.  We each gave her a hug before saying goodbye.  She promised to text when she arrived at her friend's house before we parted ways.  On the hour ride to Mom and Dad's house, we stopped at the Brewer McDonald's for drinks.  I was so thirsty; and it wasn't until we were at the box that I realized how hungry I was.  Thankfully, Eliot read my mind and was already ordering a burger for each of us.

When we arrived home, Mom, Dad and Nana were all waiting up for us.  We told them about how amazing our seats were.  We told them about the concert.  And we let them know that Kaitlin had arrived safely at her friend's house.  Then, we all headed to bed as pure exhaustion took over... but it was the good kind of pure exhaustion.

The entire evening was an amazing experience.  We had so much fun and I definitely feel like we did teenage Melissa and Kaitlin proud.  I'm really glad that Eliot was able to be there with us too.  He always liked the Backstreet Boys; he and I still listen to them often at home while working on business stuff or cleaning the house.  He had a great time and he got some really good videos on his new phone.  (He later told me that he wanted to tape as much as he could for me.  Awww... he's surely a keeper.) 

I'm so glad everything went perfectly.  We could have gotten rained out.  There could have been a thunder and lightning storm.  We could have passed out from the heat and humidity.  The Backstreet Boys band members could have had medical problems with how hot it was while they were singing and dancing around the stage.  Basically, the evening could have been a colossal disaster... but it was absolutely perfect!

Backstreet Boys, thank you for an incredible experience that we will never forget!!!

'Cause I want it that way...  °o°

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