I’ve been a New Kids On the Block fan forever and a day. Everyone that knows me, knows I love the New Kids. I didn’t get to see them in the 90s (maybe I’ll tell the sob story about that another time) but I DID get to go to the first reunion show they performed in NYC for the Today Show in 2008 and I’ve been lucky enough to see them a few times after that (along with Joe solo, whom I “followed” a lot in the early 2000s). Today I was one of the lucky ones chosen to see the NKOTB Town Hall meeting in Cleveland. What is a Town Hall? Honestly? I don’t know how to describe it myself but they had three this weekend – two yesterday in CT and PA and then today’s in Cleveland. Donnie, Danny and Joe were “representing” the New Kids and each venue had about 300 people and they did a Q&A session for about an hour or so and then played a video of their performance at Fenway which was about 40 minutes long or so. It’s hard to tell time because no phones or cameras were allowed! 🙂
Cleveland’s venue was smARTspace in Cleveland on 78th street and when I got there around 12:15 or so there were two lines – one for invited guests and their +1 and another line for people hoping to get in w/o tickets. It was all rather organized and unlike the day before, it started pretty close to on time at 1PM. Mostly everyone was able to have a seat except for a few of the people that didn’t have tickets. They were just happy to get in so they didn’t mind standing (it ended up working out for them).
The guys came in – Joe first, then Donnie and finally Danny. Everyone was on their feet and cheering. Some were holding up signs but thankfully that stopped for the most part early on. Some signs were creative but damn, they suck to see around! Each of the guys gave their little campaign speech and as a friend said, Donnie has the Obama DOWN pat! Ha! They each said how much they are enjoying this reunion and how no one expected it to be still going strong 4 years later.
They asked people asking questions to line up – each side of the room (it was a long and skinny room) had a line that formed. I want to say in the end they took around 20 or so questions? Everyone was very civil and there was NO STUPID QUESTIONS! I think everyone took notes from some of yesterdays stupidity and decided to be adults. Whew!
Here’s some of the questions/topics that I can recall (in no particular order)
• Q: Who/what band influenced your music most? A: Joe – anything his sisters were listening to – Michael Jackson, Elton John — anything that one could dance to in the kitchen. Donnie – AC/DC, Van Halen and other rock bands. Danny – New Edition.
• Q: Are there going to be any more Waffle House events? A: Donnie – He’d love to do them but it’s become a safety issue. People are following him from table to table and wanting more and more pics if theirs didn’t turn out and it’s getting scary. He never wants to pull into a Waffle House and not want to get out because it doesn’t look safe in there, and doesn’t want us to feel the same way. Joe – crazy bitches! (mimicing what girls say about the girls at the Waffle Houses – got lots of laughs). Donnie wants to continue it but he stressed that when/if it happens girls have GOT to chill and let him say hi and move on and not make safety issues. He doesn’t want anyone slipping and falling on bacon grease! There was also talks of heart attacks but I missed how that bit started? Basically – he’ll be doing them again if people can be civilized and calm.
• Q: Will you do a CD with a compilation of bands you have performed with? A: All – that’s a good idea and something we may want to consider.
• They are currently recording a new CD – have managed to refrain from tweeting about it but said it’s time for new material as they can’t keep performing Full Service. I think they said 3 songs but I could be wrong.
• Q: Are you going to include more Face the Music stuff? A: Joe – They always answer this with they sing If You Go Away but said the fans are not accepting that anymore as an answer. He actually has the goggles from Dirty Dawg and wanted to use it in the upcoming tour but things got cut since they paired up with BSB. Donnie – plans were there to include this in the upcoming tour but the good news is since it wasn’t it’s in the vault for the next tour. Danny – (I’m not sure where this came from?) No one wants us to sing This One’s For the Children. Everyone is “meh” about it.
• Q: Is there plans for another CasiNO Tour this year? A: No, there isn’t. There will be one special event, this summer, that brings the best of the cruise, CasiNO tour, Waffle House etc. to land but they are not doing a tour this year in the US. However, they will be doing something in 2013 for US & Canada.
• Q: Joe – will you perform Twisted like you did on the CasiNO tour again? A: Joe -today?!? No. (laughs) He hasn’t done push ups in at least 6 months, outside of running he’s not exercising. He was in the best shape of his life then – perhaps because he was taking his clothes off every night. (laughs) Said he really loved that mashup though and felt the two songs went well together and is open to doing it again in the future. There wasn’t room for many solos with this last tour w BSB.
• Q: Can we get a live CD from a concert so we can hear the PDGG concert version when we want to? A: All – good idea, something to think about.
• Q: For all the fans who aren’t here, are you going to do minutes and post them so others can see/read what is being discussed? A: All – perhaps? Has anyone yet? Asks about an easel. Not here so someone hands up a dry erase board and Joe proceeds to take notes the rest of the meeting. Donnie states that this was really a special something for the Fan Club and it’s not really something they were planning on posting all about but we can get the word out there via twitter and blogs.
• Q: Will there be a Cruise DVD? A: All – There’s a lot of footage and they know that the demand is out there. It was kind of a vague answer – sounds like it is something they are planning on but it hasn’t been put together yet.
• Q: Can you lower the ticket prices so my husband doesn’t divorce me? A: Donnie – they’ve fought really, really, hard to keep them as low as they have. They got into a huge fight with the promoters of the NKOTBSB tour bc other similar tours were charging $300/$400 but they wanted to keep the tickets under a $100. They were able to but there are a lot of things at play and they try to do their best to keep things affordable. Mentions that this does NOT include the VIP stuff. Mentioned that today’s event was free and they are glad to be able to do stuff like this for people that can’t always afford the concerts.
• Q: Is there any way possible to get more of an advance notice when things are going on sale? A: Danny – he totally hears and understands, hopes that they can do what they can do.
• Q: Can you stop adding on dates – esp out of order (like Radio City)? A: Donnie – they get added on because of the demand so it’s something we can’t control until we see what the demand is. It’s out of their control. Joe (I think) – we didn’t expect to have 3 Radio City concerts!!!! Danny – you WANT us to stop adding on dates?!!?!?!?!
• Q: We need more marshmallow!!! A: Donnie – now that he has stopped eating all the candy, cookies and brownies he’s been given over the past 6 months, he’s getting back in shape and the marshmallow has been primed and is almost ready for prime time again.
• Q: Will you feature fans in any upcoming videos?! A: Donnie – you never know. It’s a good idea. We like to do things differently.
• Q: I couldn’t hear this one well but it was something about a fan vote on what songs to release/what other bands to pair up with on a CD. A: That’s a good suggestion and it worked well in the past. — someone yells out Boys II Men.
• Q: Is there a possibility of getting the New Kids all on Blue Bloods? A: Donnie – not sure, Jordan was on last year but Joe’s too big time to be an extra and costs more. He got a NK song title in every episode last year, was quite proud of that. Tried to get Rise & Grind in recently but it was cut b/c they said it didn’t even make SENSE. Said they are always there in spirit but may try to arrange something.
They then played the Fenway video and the guys all dispersed. I heard a YIPE/squee behind me and noticed that Joe was coming around one side and was hugging en route to the back (the table w/ the computers, Jared, Kevin and sound peeps was right behind me). Donnie was doing the same en route to the back on the other side. Eventually Joe made it and only stayed behind the table for a few seconds then went back out and hugged people. Donnie did the same, dropped some stuff off at the table then went back out to hug. I never saw where Danny was until later. For the whole video, the guys wandered around the venue hugging, saying hi and signing random things. It was pretty low key, no mobbing that I saw (more of a swarm lol) and the guys were super generous with their time and smiles. Joe’s sweater was crazy soft BTW. He was the first I hugged b/c he ended up setting up hug camp at our aisle so we had to move out so that we didn’t get stomped. I did get one heel spike to the foot though… so if they do more, wear steel toes! ha! After Joe we went over and got a quick fast hug from Danny and then waited for Donnie. He was doing more than a super fast hug, he was actually talking with people and being crazy kind. He was signing anything you’d give him and talking and giving super awesome hugs. At my first ILAA M&G he was swarmed so I just got a super fast hug in and my second he was mobbed so this was actually my first “quality” time saying hi and seeing him for more than a millisecond. He was so amazingly kind and sweet, the memory will stick with me forever. 🙂
After everyone had their hugs the guys just meandered around and would crash random groups. I was talking with a friend and Donnie went to the girls in front of me and slung his arms over their shoulders and they swayed back and forth to the music. It was a sweet moment and it KILLED me not to have my camera! 🙂 There was a guy there with a camera though and he did take pics of quite a few ladies with Donnie towards the end. It was cool that they were able to just roam around and people were pretty respectful and not attacking. YAY Cleveland, ya’ll did me proud!
At the end everyone said goodbye and we filled out and left. OH! They also provided bags of chips on the way out – they must have heard the snacks complaint from CT and were ready! 🙂 I thought that was a nice touch, even if I didn’t take any. I’m not sure if they came out and did any more hugs after – tons of people were hanging around but not sure if that amounted to anything or not. I left and got lost about 5 different times on my way home (for me it’s not a trip to Cleveland unless I get lost at least once due to their shitacular signage).
I have to say a HUGE thank you to the New Kids (especially Danny, Donnie and Joe) for doing this and for the invite, it was awesome to be able to do something like this with you all! I also want to say that I’m sad to see that people ignored the rules of no camera/cell phones/recording devices and did it anyway. Stuff like that ruins a good thing! This was a FREE event, they only asked that we respect their wishes and you went against that. We ALL wanted to have cameras and cell phones but we respected their wishes, shameful that not all did and may have ruined a truly good thing. Just enjoy the moment and tweet later and focus on the now. Memories last a lifetime!