This is going to be a hybrid post of Swoon-Worthy Sundays/review/recap of The Package Tour concert!
Back when the concert tour was first announced I had featured The Package Tour on Swoon-Worthy Sundays back in February. I’ve also posted about boyband nostalgia as a SwS feature as well. So of course I need to share this one for today as my 16-year-old self was fangirling like mad this past Friday.
Before I get to the concert itself, let me share my surreal experience meeting 98 Degrees. Yep, that’s right. If you were following my Twitter or Instagram account on Friday evening, you’ll have seen that I had the amazing opportunity to meet one of my fave boybands from my teenage years. I had already purchased tickets to the concert for my sister and I, and she bought me the VIP package as a birthday present! It was an amazing sister-bonding experience and, as it turns out, a lot of people had the same idea. We saw/met several sisters during the VIP experience and our family friend had also attended the concert with her older sister. Must be a nostalgic thing. 😉
We were told to meet at Gate 1 by the Air Canada Centre at 4:30pm to get checked in and everything for the meet & greet. A group of us were all gathered there for a good 15-20 minutes before someone popped their head out from one of the doors and asked if we were waiting for 98 Degrees. Then he told us that it was actually at Gate 2. Great. We waited for quite a while outside before we were let in, and really, being first or last in line didn’t seem to matter because the check-in process was so disorganized. Run by VIP Nation, they had our “VIP items” in a bag for us to pick up as we checked in. We received an 11×17 poster, T-shirt, commemorative ticket and VIP pass and their new CD. However, our bag only had one CD and when we asked the woman who was at the table, she rudely told us to 1) wait, then 2) she’ll get it when we’re downstairs, then 3) don’t worry we’ll see her downstairs and she’ll get us the missing CD, then 4) okay, give me your info and what you’re missing and we’ll send it to you. Not cool. We were allowed one item to get signed and what if it was the CD. I get that it’s busy but don’t jerk us around. The people who were first in line moved to the end of the small lobby area (it’s seriously not even a holding room. It’s basically an elevator vestibule hallway with access to the stairs up and down from there). Of course, where we were going was down the stairs that were in the middle of the room so the people who were first in line got moved to the mid-back.
I digress. Obviously the disorganization of VIP Nation is not what made me swoon. All that aside (a long 1.5 hrs of disorganized melee), the guys of 98 Degrees finally entered the small room just after 6pm! It was great that there were only about 50-60 of us in there, it made for a small intimate gathering. We weren’t allowed photos while they were signing (which makes sense because everybody would be too busy taking pics rather than actually MEETING and GREETING them) but leading up to the table, and then past it, people were snapping pics like crazy. Of course, being a room that was about 20×20 in size, we were never too far from them.
I wanted my VIP pass signed and Jeff was the first at the table, asking for my name. “Michele.. with one L.” Justin, sitting next to Jeff with an incredibly friendly grin sticks his hand across to me and says “Hello, Michele with one L!” And while Justin was signing, Jeff takes my hand to shake as well. I told them how amazing it was to meet them and they thanked me for coming. Over to Nick and Drew, who also shook my hand and made eye contact. THAT alone made my night. The fact that it wasn’t a rush job of just bam!bam!bam! signing autographs. These guys genuinely took the time to look us in the eye, greet us by name and shake our hands. Amazing. The fangirl inside of me is screaming while I’m keeping it cool on the outside. 🙂
The line went through for autographs and then it was time for the photo-ops! My sister and I took the picture together since it was “our experience”, but I kinda wish we were allowed two shots since there was two of us who purchased the VIP package. When it was our turn, their bodyguard held our purses, Drew & Nick shook our hands again and I stood next to Jeff (with his arm around me! squee!) while my sister was beside me next to Nick. Our side had to shimmy over a bit (oh boo, squeezing in closer.. 😉 ) and it was all over in an instant. I think I shook Jeff & Justin’s hand again as we were leaving, but it was such a blur in that moment right after the photo.
I tweeted this shortly after the meet & greet and, to my amazement, got a follow from 98 Degrees’ Twitter account! (and subsequent fave & reply!)
Justin Jeffre has a Chris O'Dowd vibe about him.. diggin' it. All the @98official guys were so friendly!
— Michele (@JustALilLost) June 7, 2013
At this point, it was just after 6:30 and we were let go to find our seats. The VIP package was also supposed to include “crowd-free merchandise shopping” but when we got over there, the doors had already opened to the public and it was swarmed. Although, I probably would have only wanted to buy the programme book for the Package Tour which apparently doesn’t exist. That seems weird to me.. they had single ones for Boyz II Men and 98 Degrees, none for NKOTB and none for the overall tour
The concert began promptly around 7:30 with Boyz II Men opening the show. I love these guys… their album Cooleyhighharmony was the first CD I had ever purchased and I’ll Make Love To You was my fave song for the longest time when it was on the radio. They performed all their major hits and at about 8pm, 98 Degrees came on to perform most of their popular hits as well as a couple from their new album.
New Kids on the Block had been my generation but I actually wasn’t into them, and much of music, at that time. So surprisingly, they were the ones I knew least about with the three groups performing. Some songs were familiar but boy do these guys know how to put on a show. There were so many fantastic uses of lighting, pyro, stage platforms. At one point, and it seemed unplanned, Donnie had laid down on the stage and the crowd erupted in screams when he made out with the girl that was standing right on the side! Can you imagine what’s going through her mind after that moment?? Come to a concert, make out with a New Kid. OMG.
The VIP package, if they could get a bit more organized, it would’ve made it a flawless experience but at least meeting the guys was an absolutely insanely awesome moment. The Package Tour was an amazing time, and such a long concert too! Great music, great time. These guys look like they’re fully enjoying performing together again, bringing back all the greatest hits (and the synchronized dance moves!)
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