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Friday, May 16, 2008

Adventures of The Today Show...

Knowing that the New Kids were going to be on the Today Show - I knew I wasn't passing up that opportunity to see them perform together again LIVE. My sister, Alyson, and cousin, Moira, were just as excited to see them as I was. We couldn't wait - however, I believe I was a tad bit more excited than they were. My son was only 14 months and I wasn't quite ready to leave him so we brought the future Blockhead with us. The plan was that while we were in line/at the show, Alexander would be with my Mom at the hotel.

We left Thursday mid-morning to get us down in time for dinner and to beat traffic (both MA & NY). The weather was a bit shaky (rain, clouds) but keep in mind this is a New Kids On The Block Event ... of course it is going to rain!

We checked into our hotel - which was FANTASTIC and unbelievably spacious and then decided to go walk to find food. I also wanted to walk down to Rockefeller Center to check out the line situation. We got some pizza (Alexander had his first NYC Pizza and drank from a straw for the first time too) and all felt better with food in our stomachs.

It was only around 6pm so we had some time before we had to get Alexander down for bed. We walked a few blocks down to Rockefeller Center. We took our touristy photos of St. Patrick's Cathedral as well as one of Alexander & I at Rockefeller Center.

The line was already forming (some girls camped out for 2 days) and starting to go down the block. I would have been quite content to go back to the hotel, nap for an hour or two and then be back for 11pm. Alyson & Moira wanted no part of that. They agreed to be in line by 1am.

We got back to the hotel and chilled out - of course no one could fall asleep - except for Alexander. Since it was obvious none of us would sleep we decided to get ready and go. We left the hotel by 12:30am and were walking down NYC streets and surprisingly NO ONE else was on the streets. Wasn't this the city that never sleeps?

We got in line at about 12:45am and the line had already gone around the corner. EEK! What I didn't know then was that the line went up one city block but then doubled itself parallel on the same block because the Today Show staff didn't expect that large of a crowd. Obviously they don't know Blockheads. We got our spot and prepared to camp out for the next 5-6 hours.

People slept, talked, walked around, screeched, etc. There was one group of girls that would NOT stop screaming every time any type of vehicle would go by which would then make the vehicle honk their horn. UGH - not what you want to hear at 2:30am over and over. I went up and asked them to stop and they were told that if they screamed they would get into the Plaza. Oh the naivety.

Thankfully from the moment we lined up until now it had only had a few small showers - nothing major. At about 4:30am, Alyson & Moira had to use the restroom and were starving so they walked over to McDonalds on 6th Ave. However at about 5am, people started to stand and gather their belongings as for some odd reason people in line *thought* we were moving. I called Alyson & Moira in a panic thinking that if they didn't get back in time, they wouldn't be let in. So they came running back - and without the food they paid for. For the next two hours we would stand wondering when we would actually move.

We realized that although we thought we had a decent spot in line, we were mistaken due to the double line on 48th Street. Rumors were circulating that we may not even make it into the Plaza as they were going to cut it off at the corner. We were about 50 people from the corner...I was trying to be optimistic at this point. But with the rain starting to get heavier I was thinking that this may be a wash...

A few girls would run/walk down and then run back saying they heard them at soundcheck or got pictures of them on stage. Although I was anxious, I didn't want to lose our spot in line so I stayed put. Then at about 7am, the line started to move. We all thought it was odd that they waited so long to get us into the area because the Today Show starts at 7am. It moved pretty quickly but that also meant that the area filled in just as quick.

This is a shot of the line down 48th Street on the way into the Plaza of the Today Show.

The line moved down 48th Street and they prodded us in like cattle. They really did too. Overall the Today Show security staff was quite rude and left a lot to be desired. And to think - we were a harmless lot, just sitting on a city sidewalk.

We got into the area/pen/plaza where the boys would perform. We got into the crowd and realized from our spots we would see nothing also be smothered by all the people. We decided to go into the back where we were further from the stage but it was easier because a) less people b) tv screens to view. Plus, we were near cameras.

Side note re: TV Cameras. At some point during the past 18 hours, Alyson mentioned that she prays that she does not end up on tv as she doesn't want people from work to see her. Moira & myself really didn't have an opinion either way. So while we were at the back of the performing area, we were closer to cameras. At one point, the camera guy pans over to us and a bunch of us wave, etc. I think I gave my obligatory peace sign. I'm standing there minding my own business and then all of a sudden ALYSON pushes me out of the way and is waving frantically at the camera. She hops over me with the hopes of getting on tv. Yeah, what happened to wanting to be conspicious?? The funniest part is that when we got home and watched the whole show - that part is on TV with Alyson PUSHING me out of the way.

It was probably 7:30ish and we're in the performance area. Did I mention that it's still raining? And sometimes quite hard. Back to the performance...We had already heard a bit of the soundcheck so now we were just waiting for the FIRST LIVE (and televised) performance in 14 years. They had the curtain up with their logo and I had the worst case of butterflies. I was SO excited and was so thankful to be able to be there to experience this first hand.

Now's the time - Meredith & Matt introduce them and the curtain drops! It's a medley of Step by Step, Hangin' Tough & the Right Stuff. I don't think I stopped jumping & screaming - unless of course I was singing. Did I mention excitement?!!?

After the first song, they spoke to Matt, Meredith, Al & some other chick for a bit. Then they performed the new song "Summertime". I was already addicted to the new song as it was a perfect introduction to their reunion but hearing it LIVE gave my goosebumps. I tried to take pictures of them performing but I didn't want to bring my camera out too often in the rain so I kept it hidden under my poncho. Plus, I am short and wouldn't necessarily get a lot of great shots. I did realize that if I took them of the screen, I'd at least get to see something.

After Summertime and another chat with the hosts, they performed Tonight. Jordan played the piano and they all started out by that before they worked the crowd. I was never a huge fan of the song back in the day but it really works now. Now I think it's a nice homage to the fans.

To wrap up the performance, they went onto a platform in the middle of the area so we got to be a bit closer than we were originally. They chatted a bit, posed for pictures, waved at fans. It was very emotional - and although I didn't shed a tear my heart runneth over.

Did I mention that it rained for the majority of their performance??

After the performance, the guys went back inside. Come to find out there was a autograph signing at Macy's but the line was already super long for that. We had to check out of the hotel by noon and I knew Alyson & Moira really wanted to get on the road and try to beat traffic so I didn't even suggest that we head over.

I was so excited to get this picture of Donnie - it was probably the best one of him I took the whole day.

As the guys went inside, Danny was so gracious and ran down the aisle right next to us. He was posing for pictures, shaking hands and saying Thank you. I got a hand shake and a thank you. You could tell that he was so thankfully and amazed at the turnout - IN THE RAIN!

We did take a picture with our line buddies from DC - who were extremely nice but unfortunately we didn't get their names enough for me to remember and contact them later.

The only bad thing of the day was that Alyson lost her brand new digital camera. It must of fallen out of her bag when we were being pushed into the area and we couldn't find it. Some lucky bastard picked themselves up a fantastic camera.

Here's a picture of Moira, myself & Alyson LIVE on tv - shows you how much Alyson wanted to hide.

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