Full disclosure: we weren't always the immensely sophisticated and self-possessed adults who blog before you today. Once, some decades ago, we too had mouths full of metal; wore white Keds and hot pink socks; adorned our stone-washed denim jackets with badges that shouted "I ♥ NKOTB" and "The Future Mrs Jordan Knight". We got older; we got marginally less awkward. We traded up for Londonist badges, and our denim is always indigo blue.
So it was that when news of the New Kids on the Block's reunion tour reached us, some of us scoffed; one of us called it the 'sixth sign of the apocalypse'; and three of us (one of whom, a great big hypocrite and apocalypse prognosticator), through considerable peer pressure and perhaps one too many pints, covered our eyes and clicked "Buy Tickets Now". Strictly so we could bring you this Step By Step guide to getting through the night. But first you should ask yourself: are you tough enough?
Step 1: we can have lots of fun. Can we? We remain noncommittal until about 3 hours before the gig. Then we head over to YouTube for a quick review of the Kids' greatest hits. And start uncontrollably giggling like the 10-year-old girls we once were.
Step 2: there's so much we can do. And by "do" we mean "drink". Lager, bitter, whiskey, tequila, wine - you think we're going to willingly wander down pre-pubescent memory lane whilst sober?
Step 3: it's just you and me. Worryingly, a pre-concert ticket comparison among Londonistas reveals us to be the keepers of ticket numbers 33, 34 and 96 - and we think, oh dear god, we might very well indeed get personally serenaded by Joey McIntyre. The queue at the Hammersmith Apollo relieves us of our misapprehension. It's just you, me and 5,000 other women (and a smattering of blokes).
Step 4: I can give you more. More hits! More cheese! More brilliantly choreographed dance numbers! Our cheese factor? High. Jordan crooning "I'll Be Loving You Forever" as the wind machine nearly blows away his shirt almost crosses the line. Almost. But although we can't quite conjure up the same free-flowing emotion as the woman openly weeping during the Block's cover of the Jackson Five's "I'll Be There" - and nor do we fling bras that read "Donnie's Girls" across the cups onto the stage - our flailing arms have acquired a mind of their own by the time the "Hangin' Tough" finale comes around. All together now: oh-oh-oh-oh-oh.
Step 5: don't you know that the time has arrived! For putting our reservations to rest. The question, we realise by the end of the evening, isn't why we ever loved the New Kids; it's why we ever stopped.
Words and pics by
a closeted fan Julie Palmer-Hoffman, with thanks to Londonistas Alice and Lindsey