I will never forget the day when I was a small little fourth grader sitting in the auditorium of my elementary school, watching a talent show. A few girls from my grade went on stage and began a dance to a song I had never heard of, but I immediately fell in love with. It was “The Right Stuff” by New Kids on the Block. On that day, my childhood obsession with “I Love Donnie” and “I Love Joey” and begging my mom to watch their videos on MTV began. Then, as with any musical group, I grew up, and my musical tastes shifted with the time.
When I first heard about The Package Tour, I could not believe my ears. A dream fulfilled, being able to see my childhood icons along with Boys II Men and 98 Degrees? I was sold. My friends and I purchased our tickets months before the show was to come to the Pacific Northwest. On Tuesday evening, all sanity was put aside, and the screaming began.
Three girlfriends and I made it to the Tacoma Dome as Boys II Men were beginning their set. We swooned with “I’ll Make Love to You”, we held up non-existent lighters for “The End of the Road” and we attempted little dances during “Motownphilly.” While only three remain in the group, to see them onstage was beyond words.
Boys II Men quickly left the stage and in less than five minutes, 98 Degrees appeared. I have never been to a concert where intermissions were so short – and I wish all concerts were like that now that I’ve experienced it. There always seems to be too much time between bands, sometimes the momentum can be lost. Not in the case of The Package Tour. 98 Degrees sang some new songs and serenaded the crowd with their classics like “I Do (Cherish You),” Because of You” and one of my favorites, “Una Noche.” They even pulled up some very lucky ladies on stage and sang to them. I was just a little (very) jealous. Drew Lachey definitely kept the rhythms he learned while he was a contestant on “Dancing with the Stars” – that man can dance!
After another very short intermission (again, why can’t all concerts be this way?), the five guys from Beantown made their way to the stage. They began with “We Own Tonight” which was the perfect song to start the next two hours. The crowd went wild when the familiar beat of “You Got It (The Right Stuff)” began. When the boys performed the classic dance moves from the video, the whole audience followed – some of us may have accidentally stepped on our neighbor’s foot while attempting.
NKOTB then crooned their slow jams. Standing at the center stage with microphone stands glowing blue and wearing suits with fedoras, five very handsome men sang some new songs along with the classic “Please Don’t Go Girl.” My friend Amanda and I were absolutely amazed that even though Joey McIntyre is well beyond 16 years old, he can still hit the high notes.
I always love listening and watching the crowd react to familiar tunes. The first few chords of “Step by Step” and “Cover Girl” were enough to send the crowd jumping up and down.
The biggest surprise of the night came when NKOTB told the crowd they wanted to see and hear what Seattle and Tacoma sounded like. The lights went onto the crowd and the deejay on stage began playing Icona Pop’s “I Love It.” It was quite the sight to see, thousands of women jumping up and down with their hands in the air in unison and singing along. When the song was almost over, Donnie Wahlberg cut the music and said, “Wait a minute. I said I wanted to see what Seattle and Tacoma sounded like!” The spotlight then shined on someone who was standing on the main stage. The man who recorded one of the MOST iconic songs of the 1990s. A man who lives in Tacoma. Sir-Mix-A-Lot stood before us all and the crowd screamed. He brought women of all sizes onto the center stage and then sang his massive hit, “Baby Got Back.” I think I can honestly say that only at our show did we get to sing “I like big butts!”
To counter that surprise, Joey brought his adorable little son, Griffin, on stage. The cute little tyke won the crowd over immediately. It was also a little surreal to know that NKOTB are dads now.
Finally, after a few more songs, the finale. You can’t have an NKOTB concert without “Hangin Tough.” We all knew the words, we all lifted a hand up and swayed in unison. The song was the perfect way to end one of the best concerts I have ever been to.
The Package Tour did not disappoint. The name said it all. It was the perfect package.