I’m here! Man, I hope nobody was holding their breath waiting for my Boyz II Men + NKOTB rundown last Friday because as you can tell, it didn’t happen. Long story short, I took the boys to the splash park at the zoo and sweet jesus, talk about a shit show. Abbott apparently cannot STAND to be within 10 ft of any splashing water and while I had an inkling that he wouldn’t enjoy it, I had no idea he would freak out so badly that he’d put himself to sleep. I know, that sounds bad, but he literally got so sick of me and Matty’s shit (AKA Matty having the time of his life and me carrying Abbott in my arms while pacing the perimeter of the water area like my hair was on fire trying to keep an eye on Matty) that he put himself to sleep. He put himself to sleep, you guys. In the midst of 94 degree heat, sun, deafening screams of young children and the simulated screeches of seals and whales and the weird aggressive snorts and growls of bears. Talk about conviction.
But, yeah, so that was Friday in a nutshell. Well, I mean later the boys went to their grandmas and there were LEGIT tornados romping around them but everyone I know is okay; I hope everyone is okay. There was quite a bit of damage but I haven’t heard of any injuries, so fingers crossed it stays that way. Mother nature is fucking beast.
SO, now it’s Monday, the sun is shining, the temp is perfect and the birds are chirping (or was when I wrote this this morning). So let’s discuss 90s night. I’ll start from the beginning. I AM A PAULA ABDUL FANGIRL. I love her. I’m pretty sure at one point in my life I was a really chubby teenager with no hair (because moms can be evil and mine cut all of my hair off) who was convinced she was Paula Abdul. I made up ridiculous dance routines that I’m sure would make me a viral YouTube star had it been today. I mean, I was basically the OG female Balang (forward to 4:01 to see what I’m talking about):
So, knowing that fact, right before Christmas Seth was driving somewhere and the radio station he was listening to had a call-in trivia challenge to win a pair of tickets to The Total Package tour. For those of you unfamiliar with this tour (AKA magic) it IS the total package: Boyz II Men, Paula Abdul + New Kids on the Block. Should I give you a minute to compose yourselves? He called in, answered the question (which was OF COURSE about the movie Scrooged, the very movie Seth makes us watch 2387340295 times every holiday season, because it was FATE) and WON. HE WON!
I was at work when I randomly got a video text message from Seth of is car radio. He had recorded his entire interview with the radio station when it played over the radio. In that moment, I knew I had I knew I had married the right man. The BEST man, in fact. THE MAN THAT HAD WON ME A TICKET TO SEE PAULA.
So, let’s cut to the main event, last Sunday.
My brother, as you know, had gotten married the day before so Seth and I made arrangements to leave the boys at my parents’ for one more night while we travelled back for the show. When we got back in Omaha it was a breezy 238º but that wasn’t going to stop us from having a good time until I heard the most devastating news I’ve gotten in 2017.
“Wait…Paula Abdul Cancels Omaha show…?”
“It says she strained a muscle and will not be performing tonight’s Omaha show. For refunds, call the ticket office –”
“Are you joking right now?”
“No, Babe, I’m not.”
“What?! Noooooooooooo! Are you kidding? For real, tell me.”
“Babe, I’m sorry. I’m not. That sucks.”
Seth’s head was buried in his phone and I knew it was true. After much deliberation while drowning in pools of our own sweat and exhausted from an already long weekend, we decided we’d still go. Because, after all, we’re not quitters. I was bummed, obviously, but I still doubted it would be a complete wash. We went to a bar downtown to grab a few drinks before the show and it very quickly became obvious that I was not the only one bummed about Paula’s “injury”. There was a couple sitting next to us, a petite blonde who looked like she might be 23 and her boyfriend who looked miserable. The girl, obviously very drunk, was crying because Paula was a no show and she couldn’t get a refund. Her boyfriend confided in us that he was happy they were no longer going. I was pretty sure that even if they did, she wouldn’t remember it. A win for both of them, I guess.
When we got into the arena, it was like nothing I had ever experienced. I mean, I hadn’t seen a place packed with that many middle-aged women in brightly colored clothing since I went to Thunder Down Under in Vegas during a friend’s bachelorette party in, like, 2011. There were women with New Kids on the Block patterned skirts and shirts, 80s workout girls, A LOT of glitter, A LOT of neon and A TON of “(insert NKOTB band member’s name) girl” shirts – mostly Donnie and Joey. It was the best people watching event of all time.
Since Paula was “injured”, Boyz II Men opened. I wish I could put this experience into words but I don’t think I can. It was magical. First of all, they were so good – not hard to do in this lineup, I’m sure – but they actually sang and actually danced and still harmonized like the R&B angels they are. Their backdrops were hilarious. At one point I thought the Bachelorette was going to walk out because it looked EXACTLY like the slowly-falling rose petal animation in the show’s introduction. Another one I think was like candles burning slowly (BECAUSE OF COURSE IT WAS). Seth and I belted every song over our shared cup of smuggled-in whiskey and swayed over-dramatically with the slow jams of our childhoods. IT. WAS. PRICELESS.
When it was time for NKOTB to take the stage the buzz in the arena seemed to change a little bit. It went from like a chill, fun vibe to like a weird excited teenage girl vibe, without any actual teenage girls. Suddenly the lights went out and this weird intro video began. Women were screaming like crazy and I couldn’t stop laughing. There were a lot of giant words flashing on the screen with cuts in between of different city landscapes. It felt like maybe the Spice Girls were going to come out for a second. Then there was A LOT of fire shooting into the air and there they were, singing some song I didn’t know, doing some very basic foot shuffling that I was pretty sure anyone could do and eating up every second. For about 30 minutes it was the second best time of my life (behind Boyz II Men) and then it quickly turned into the worst time of my life. It was hot, I didn’t know any of the music, they couldn’t sing or dance and then they started showing their abdomens in variously weird positions and I realized I couldn’t be there anymore. My official tipping point was when Donnie (WAHLBURGER) was singing some weird song when suddenly he started doing some low-rent Magic Mike moves. You guys. He pulled his shirt up so you could see his entire torso and then he left it there.
HE LEFT IT THERE.
He was just, like, walking around “singing” with his shirt hung up on his nipples like it was something people do. NOBODY DOES THAT.
We left while flames were shooting into the air and never looked back. It was the best and worst free concert of my life and I’m so happy I experienced it with Seth. If anyone sees Paula, send her my regards, she’s honestly the only person in the world who could have made it better – or worse.