I started off my final day (my 7th day) in Memphis relaxing in my room and packing, then around 12:30 I went down to EPs (in the Guest House at Graceland) for lunch. I had the fried green tomato sandwich with pimento cheese (and added chicken this time), sweet potato fries and sweet tea. After, I went out on the back porch to read for one final time. But after about an hour it was actually too cold to be out there (unheard of for Memphis in May!), so I went back up to my room to read some more but actually fell asleep for a bit. A little after 3, I decided to head down to the FedEx Forum for the show!
I was in the VIP parking lot by 3:30ish – check in was to be at 4:30. It was raining, so I decided to wait for the rest of my VIP photo group who I hadn’t met yet but have been chatting with since last year when we all bought our tickets and found each other online – thank you Lindsey! Luckily the walk in the rain around the corner to FedEx Forum was short, and we were allowed inside the lobby for check in. Our group arrived by 4:30, so we could check in together. Then we learned the parking attendant, who none of us checked in with because he wasn’t there because he was hiding from the rain in the parking garage next door, was threatening to tow all of our cars. This caused anxiety sweat while we talked with Iowa to straighten everything out – she couldn’t have been nicer. Luckily, everything worked out and my car was there at the end of night – good thing because I had my record stand and two bags of books I had bought and was loaded in my car for the next morning’s journey home.
We were led to the VIP Lounge around 4:50pm. I did not realize the VIP Lounge included 5 star VIPs as well as the Ultimate VIPs, which we were. It was quite crowded and a little warm in that room, which was the Legends Lounge. About 5 minutes after 5pm, Donnie came riding through on his little scooter – very calmly with no fanfare. I was waiting to take my photo in the NKOTB bedroom when I heard the screaming, so I walked quickly over. I stayed facing the door and as soon as Donnie drove out, Jordan drove in on his little scooter! Jordan was driving directly toward me and if I hadn’t moved I think he may have actually ran into me. I just froze, not even taking my phone out to video or take photos until he passed by me – so I have video of the back of Jordan driving away and around the room. Luckily my friend had the presence of mind to video Jordan as he was driving toward us – thanks again Lindsey. Jordan drove out then Donnie came back to the door to give a young fan a great, big hug – she ended up being the Cover Girl during the show. I was taking my photo holding the Jordan, Danny and Jon pillow in the NKOTB bedroom at 5:10. I can’t believe all that only took 5 minutes – seemed like SO much longer. A few minutes after that, they lined us up in the hallway to get ready to go down to the stage for our meet and greet and photo with NKOTB.
Just after 5:30, we made our descent to the seats to wait to meet the guys! Then they took us on a brief backstage tour, which was pretty cool. We got to see the rooms where they do their quick change that is videoed during the show. Then we got in line in order and our meet and greets began. We were the fourth group to go on stage and meet NKOTB and get our photo taken. Danny was the first to greet us, so I got my hug from Danny. Donnie was next and as I walked over to him he said, “Hey beautiful lady” with that adorable smile of his – and we hugged. Then my Jordan was next. I told him he almost ran me over, meaning in the vip loung just a little while ago but he had no idea what I was talking about, so we hugged. Jordan saw my Elvis shirt and said, “This is his town right?” I said yes he was the original boy in the band, and Jordan said, “Yes he started it all.” Then they took our photo, two photos. At the last minute I turned a little toward the camera so my Elvis shirt would be prominent, but then after the photo realized my head was really far from Jordan’s even though we had our arms around each other. Oh well, I’ll have a different strategy in Hershey. So after the photo, I hugged Joe and asked him if he visited Graceland this time, and he said no (he had visited in 2009 the last time I saw them in Memphis). Then I hugged Jon, and he gave me a double hug – he hugged me, then while hugging me pulled me in even closer. Jon is a great hugger!
By 6pm, all the meet and greets and photos were over. Wow I can’t believe it only took a half hour – seemed like MUCH longer. Iowa was taking us back to the VIP Lounge, when Donnie came to the front of the stage and asked if we had to go. I immediately stopped in my tracks and said NO. So we all just stood there while we talked with Donnie about Blue Bloods, about his dog Lumpy (who didn’t make the trip because he was tired from touring), about how he prepares for shows (it’s meeting us fans btw) and if we’re louder now or 30 years ago (we’re louder now Donnie says because now we know why we’re screaming). We had to go because the Grizz Girls (the Memphis Grizzlies cheerleaders) were coming in to rehears “Boys in the Band” with Donnie, so went back up to the VIP lounge. I grabbed an eggroll and some water and sat down for a bit, but it was so hot in there, so decided to go out into the hallway and look at the merch. I bought a hoodie with the tour dates on the back – mostly because it was orange and blue lettering and a record shaped key chain – even though we got a key chain in our VIP bag (along with the cd, chapstick, souvenir ticket). Then a few of us from our photo group just sat out in the hallway rather than go back into the crowded, hot VIP Lounge. Donnie always says NKOTB has the best fans, and while I don’t know if that’s completely true because I think Elvis fans might be the best (considering we come out strong 42 years after his death and sell concerts with him on the screen and not even there), but I think NKOTB treat their fans the best by talking with them and hanging out – and did Elvis.
At 7pm, we could go to our seats. My barstool seat was right at the stage on the side. At 8pm, the show started with Slugga from Naughty by Nature DJing with hits from the 80s and 90s. It was a great ‘opener!’ At 8:38, NKOTB took the stage opening with “The Way.” They rose up from the middle of the stage. I got my first close up with Jordan as he made his way over to the side. Then came “My Favorite Girl,” “Dirty Dancing” (with Jordan in front of me again), “Summertime,” “You Got It (The Right Stuff)” with Donnie thrusting right in front of me, “The Remix” with Jordan in front of me. Then the guys left the stage for my favorite (along with “Step by Step” and “Single”) “Block Party” and ended up on the b stage (at the other side of the arena) and then performed “Games” complete with Danny’s breakdancing. Tiffany was next with “I Think We’re Alone Now” then Debbie Gibson with her hits from the b stage. NKOTB was back on the stage with “Didn’t I Blow Your Mind This Time” (with Donnie in front of me), “Valentine Girl,” “If You Go Away” and “Please Don’t Go Girl.”
Salt-N-Pepa was next with the quick change footage of NKOTB on the video screens. Then NKOTB appeared on the b stage performing “Tonight,” then into the crowd they went. “Boys in the Band” followed with the Griz Girls going on stage followed by NKOTB making their way to the main stage. Donnie entering right in front of me, Jordan running up right behind me then onto the stage. Then they played Whitney Houston, Def Lepard and Bon Jovi. Jordan was gyrating RIGHT in front of me for “Pour Some Sugar on Me!” (SIGH!) Then after Donnie, tour off his shirt and threw it into the audience during “Cover Girl,” Jordan walked RIGHT over to me and danced – SIGH again! Then Naughty By Nature took the stage, and I forgot how much I love Treach – screaming when he took off his mask. He gave me an OPP sticker. Next was Debbie Gibson again, but this time on the main stage and included a duet with Joe on “Lost in Your Eyes,” which was phenomenal! Tiffany came out again and while she was performing, Danny came out onto our side of the barstools walking up behind us to take selfies. Very cool!
NKOTB returned with Jordan’s “I’ll Be Loving You Forever” and “Step by Step.” They let the audience sing each of the steps and when it was time for ‘Step Five’ Jon came over to the girl next to me but she forgot the words so I shouted over toward Jon. Salt-N-Pepa came out next with “Push It.” Then NKOTB came back out for “Hangin Tough.” Then everyone came back out for “80s Baby.” I literally shook hands with everyone (Donnie, Jon, Danny, Joe, Treach, Tiffany) but Jordan – just my luck. I was looking down at my finger because I had scraped it on the stage when Joe came over and grabbed my hand and said “Thank you.” I was startled and looked back into his eyes and said, “Thank you.” The show ended at 10:50 with Jordan moonwalking off the stage on our side. Two hours and ten minutes of uninterrupted fun!
Somehow I got out of there quickly and easily and was back in my room within a half hour – ready to head back home the next morning. What a great night – can’t wait to do it all again in Hershey in July! To see all of my photos and videos from the MixTape Tour in Memphis, please click here.