I had a fantastic time in Connecticut last year for the opening of The Package Tour at Mohegan Sun May 28, 29, and 31. I saw three great NKOTB shows, went to three great After Parties, played the slots, made a lot of new friends, and finally met JORDAN (as well as the rest of the guys). My favorite of the three shows was the second on May 29th, even though I had more interaction with the guys at the third show. NKOTB was more relaxed on the second night, but at the same time they had a great energy. The show on the second night was different – “Crash” was added at the end and there was a DJ bit in the middle. I was glad I had three completely different views of the shows. The first night I sat in the stands about ten rows up off the side of the main stage. I had a great overview of both stages. The second night I sat 7th row on the floor directly in front of the main stage, but I was able to move up for the last three songs. The third night I stood on the opposite side of the main stage right at the steps, so I got a lot of interaction with the guys as they went back and forth between the stages.
We arrived at Mohegan Sun at 3:30pm the day of the tour opener. We had an early dinner at Virgil’s BBQ, which I thought was funny that we were in the North eating Southern food. I was at the arena by 6:15 to get in line for opening night, even though I had an assigned seat. I got my wrist band for the After Party and quickly realized I was way overdressed for the concert because I had dressed according to the dress code for Ultra 88, where the After Party would take place. By 6:40, I was in my seat in the stands on the side of the main stage about ten rows up with a great view of both stages – there is a main stage in the center of the arena and another stage at the end of the arena. Mohegan Sun Arena is so small that even my seat in the stands was close. The show was supposed to start at 7:30, but Boyz II Men didn’t come on until 7:45. And much to my surprise they only played for a half hour. They were immediately followed by 98 Degrees – there was no break in between. Much to my surprise again, 98 Degrees played for 45 minutes – they were finished at 9:00. The audience seemed much more excited for Boyz II Men, who were wonderful, then 98 Degrees. I think 98 Degrees should have opened, and Boyz II Men should have played longer.
NKOTB took the stage at 9:23 to open the Package Tour on May 28th and they played almost two hours until 11:11. It was a great show with lots of excitement, energy, rising stages, and great lighting. Although I did detect some nerves and maybe too much excitement from our guys. Donnie got a little confused with the dance moves during “Step By Step.” It was great to see Jon and Danny sing on “Survive You” – and Jon sing on “We Own Tonight.” I was surprised they only played five songs off the new album 10. I liked how they mixed the old songs with the new, along with some covers. The set list for NKOTB from the opening night of the Package Tour 5.28.13 was as follows: We Own Tonight, Block Party, Summertime, The Right Stuff, The Whisper, Survive You, Didn’t I Blow Your Mind, Valentine Girl, If You Go Away, Please Don’t Go Girl, Remix (I Like The), Single (acoustic), acoustic snipets of: Baby I Believe In You, Just the Way You Are (Joey covers Bruno Mars), Stay The Same, Tender Love, Click Click Click, Faith (Joey covers George Michael), Kiss (Jordan covers Prince), Hot In Here (Danny covers Nelly), Dirty Dancing; Step By Step (dancing to Salt-N-Pepa Push It at end then Jordan solo dance), Cover Girl (Donnie disrobes), Games (Danny break dances), Tonight (Jordan in my section!), I’ll Be Loving You (Forever), and Hangin’ Tough dedicated to Boston – complete with Bruins jerseys.
Immediately follow the show, I went to the After Party at Ultra 88 – just up the stairs from the arena in Mohegan Sun Casino. I was there by 11:30 and it wasn’t crowded at all. It cost me $50 to get in and another $14 for a glass of wine and a bottle of water – crazy! Boyz II Men arrived just before 12:30 and Danny and Donnie arrived just after 12:30. Unfortunately, the club closed at 1am – I don’t think Donnie realized this when he planned the party. But Donnie, as well as Shawn and Nathan from Boyz II Men, got on the dance floor to dance and take pictures with everyone. I didn’t officially dance or get my pictures taken with them, but I was pressed up against Shawn while Donnie was one person away from me before a wave of people shoved him in a different direction. I didn’t sleep at all that night – too busy posting videos and pictures and just overall excited from the night!
After a couple of hours of resting in bed, we went to breakfast at 8:15am. I had the yummiest, spiciest breakfast at the Hash House A Go Go. We played the slots for a couple of hours, then I took a little nap in the room. At 1:30 we had lunch at Margaritaville with a beautiful view of the lake. We played the slots for about an hour after lunch, and then went back up to the room to rest some more before going to the show. I was in my seat just after 7:00. I spotted Rocco, who is U2’s stage manager. I got up to talk with him. I introduced myself and reminded him that I was one at every show with the ‘Larry Mullen Band’ shirt. I couldn’t believe he was on the Package Tour. He said he works for anyone who pays him. He asked if I had heard the rumor that U2 will be touring next year. He said he doubts it and won’t believe it until their new album is released. Rocco told me about how he started with U2. He said the he saw them open for the J Geils Band back in 1980, and U2 told him some day he would be working for them. He doubted it, since they were terrible then. Ten years later, Paul McGuinness called him and asked him to work for them and Rocco has been with U2 ever since. He told me to look out for 21 Pilots, a two piece band. Rocco said they are going to be the next big thing, and he hasn’t had a feeling like that about a band since U2.
For the second night of the Package Tour on May 29th, I was on the floor in the 7th row off the front of the main stage. Boyz II Men took the stage at 7:45 and again only played for a half hour – until 8:17. At 8:20, this time a three minute break in between, 98 Degrees came on and played for 45 minutes until 9:06. Someone spilled a drink on me about halfway through 98 Degrees’ set, so I went back to the concessions and stayed until they were over. I’m not a huge fan of 98 Degrees, although that Nick Lachey is very cute. NKOTB took the stage at 9:23 with an energy that was greater than opening night, and the guys seemed much more relaxed. Danny was in our section for “Tonight.” Donnie took the video camera after “Cover Girl” and was filming everyone. I moved up front for the last three songs. It was the same set list as opening night except there was a DJ section in the middle where the guys just danced while the DJ played songs and the show ended with “Crash,” after “Hanging Tough.” The show ended at 11:15. This was my favorite of all three shows at Mohegan Sun.
Immediately after the show, I went to the Boyz II Men After Party at Vista Lounge – in the rocks at Mohegan Sun Casino. This was a beautiful club – very open. This After Party was free. All three guys from Boyz II Men were there and arrived on time at 11:30 – no Donnie or anyone from NKOTB though. Wanye sat down next to me at the bar, so I couldn’t resist asking him why Boyz II Men weren’t playing longer. He just smiled, shook his head and said it wasn’t his tour. I told him 98 Degrees should be opening, not Boyz II Men, because the audience is way more excited for Boyz II Men. He again smiled, shook his head, and said it wasn’t his tour. He got up shortly after that. I didn’t sleep that night either – maybe an hour or two.
We checked out of Mohegan Sun Thursday morning and checked into Foxwoods Casino about seven miles away. Friday night at Mohegan Sun would have cost us $550., so we decided to split our time between the two casinos spending two nights at each. I like Mohegan Sun much better than Foxwoods. Mohegan Sun is a great resort with nice restaurants and clubs. Foxwoods is older with no clubs, ok restaurants, but great slots. We stayed at the Pequot Tower at Foxwoods. We had lunch at the Festival Buffet and then hit the slots for a few hours. We took a break in the room for a bit then had dinner and drinks at the High Rollers Lounge, which was great! A great lounge with comfy chairs and low tables, a 103″ television, and 10 bowling lanes on both sides. The food was great! We played the slots a little more and was in our room just after 8pm. I was SO tired. I only had a total of three hours sleep since I left Maryland Tuesday morning.
After a more restful night of sleep, I got up at 8:30am to watch NKOTB on the Today show. We played the slots before and after lunch, but our luck did not change. I took a cab over to Mohegan Sun. I was at the VIP check in table by 4:00. This was my first ever five star NKOTB VIP. I met Laura and her friends, as our group of 10 to meet the guys. Around 4:30 or so they took all the groups up to Ultra 88 for a little pre-show party where we had complimentary drinks and appetizers. Although I was too nervous to eat, I did have a drink. I inhaled my sangria, so thought it best to stop after one. I didn’t want to embarrass myself with Jordan. Meeting NKOTB was very quick with no time to talk. The guys were lined up from right to left: Danny, Jon, Joe, Jordan, and Donnie. The ten of us ladies walked in a single file line and hugged each one as we walked by. Danny was very happy and smiley. Jon and Joe seemed tired and a little out of it. I got to Jordan and introduced myself. Jordan said, “Hi Deena” then hugged me. I stopped there to pose for our two pictures with all ten ladies and our five guys. Jordan and I stood with our arms around each other for the first picture while Laura stood away. Then for the second picture I stood away and Laura stood close to Jordan. This way it would be easier for us to crop ourselves out of the group picture, so it looks like it is just the two of us. After the photo, I turned to hug Donnie and thought he was going to kiss my cheek , but it was just a hug. Then we were out of the room. I think the whole thing took a minute.
I went into the arena when the doors opened at 6:30. For this third show of the Package Tour on May 31st, I was on the opposite side of the main stage from where I was the previous show about four rows back. I decided to move up and stand at the rail right at the steps to the main stage – within arms’ reach of everyone who walked onto the stage. Good decision on my part because I got to see all the guys up close as they went back and forth between the two stages. I think I touched everyone’s hand from Boyz II Men, 98 Degrees, and NKOTB. I distinctly remember holding hands with Nick Lachey, Jordan, Donnie, and Danny. At the beginning of “Tonight,” all the guys left the stage by the steps by me, so I got too see all of them up close. I got to hold Jordan’s hand for a bit. At the end of “Please Don’t Go Girl” while Joe is doing his thing on stage, the other four guys stand frozen on the steps and Jordan was closest to me – just standing there for what seemed like several minutes. Sigh! And during “Step By Step,” Jordan sang most of the song on the steps in front of me. This time for “Hanging Tough,” the guys wore Red Sox jerseys. The set list was the same as opening night. I didn’t take any videos and only a few pictures at this show, even though I was closer, I just wanted to completely take it all in and enjoy the moment. Although I was much closer and had lots of interaction with NKOTB, the show the second night was my favorite.
Immediately after the show, I went upstairs to Ultra 88 for the After Party. It was SO much more crowded than opening night. There was a huge line to get in and it was already crowded inside. I stood right where I knew the guys would be hanging out – a little raised room. Two of the guys from 98 Degrees showed up arrived at 11:40 – the two who aren’t Drew or Nick Lachey. Boyz II Men arrived just before midnight and Donnie and Danny arrived just after midnight. Although the After Party would go on until 2am, I left early and was back at Foxwoods by 1:30am. I had the most sound sleep that night. We left Foxwoods just after 10am Saturday and were home by 5pm.
I am always sad when I trip like this is over, but I couldn’t have asked for a better time. If you would like to see all of my pictures from the shows at Mohegan Sun, please click here for opening night, here for May 29th (my favorite show), and here for May 31st. Check back tomorrow when I relive the Package Tour in DC.