As the New Kids October 22nd Milwaukee concert neared, I knew my time at my job was coming to a close. Layoff talks were in the works, business was down, and more and more of the owner's family were 'visiting'. But the clearest sign that my blood was in the water was my utter inability to secure primo concert tickets from my business contacts.
It was writing on the wall, I tell ya.
But life goes on. Lisa and her friends had tickets - not great ones, but tickets - and that was good enough. We'd had some discussions about taking our oldest girls to the the second Chicago show a few days later, but given the uncertain future we'd decided to skip it.
I'd play Mr. Mom for a night with all the kids, Lisa would go and see the Milwaukee show, and all would be well.
But think back to that post about climbing a tree. As the hour of the concert approached I realized I had that same anxiety in my gut. I diagnosed this as a clash between the sensible path outlined in the paragraph above, and a budding idea in my head. I examined my subconscious actions during the day; I'd taken out a large cash withdrawl from the ATM, I'd all but forced the Lump and Smiley on their grandparents, and I'd found myself scanning Craigslist for NKOTB tickets, just 'cuz'.
Apparently, my gut had decided to take the girl's to the Milwaukee show, but my mind had yet to sign on.
So in honor of the tree climbing, I said F it and with half an hour until the (official) start of the concert I told the girls to get dressed - we were going to see their first ever concert.
We drove downtown and miracle of miracles, found on-street parking only a block away from the venue.
I told the girls to hold my hand and waded into a group of scalpers. No one had three consecutive seats and I moved on. One guy started following us, kind of a creepy guy actually, saying he could grab a third ticket to add to his own. Lo and behold he lived up to his word. But they were the paper version, the kind you print out at home from Ticketmaster online. All well and good - they're the only kind I use - but buying it secondhand I had no guarantee these weren't useless copies.
So pushing my luck I told him he'd have to accompany us to the turnstile before I'd fork over any money. He all but thought that was crazy, but did it anyway. Once the usher confirmed they were legit we stepped outside and completed the deal.
Three tickets for $70. Not bad.
So we got in and the girls had to use the bathroom. Absorbing several 'awwww, what a great Dad' comments from hot women, I let the girls wait in the inevitable queue for the ladies room. I was already all pins and needles at this point. a) it was already past their bedtime; would the girls be good? b) would they be scared off by the noise and screaming? c) would they be alarmed by the sudden rush of male paramedics entering their ladies room to attend to a woman who'd fainted inside?
While they were inside and I was thinking all this, Nikki K, cousin of some of my employees and heroine/photo provider from the Chicago concert, recognized me and stopped to chat. I wasn't the most social I've ever been - see the above paragraph of worries - but it was nice seeing her. She'd won backstage passes (grrr) and told me to look for her and her friends onscreen.
[props to her again, as many of the photo's you'll see in these shots were liberated from her online postings]
Meanwhile, in a seperate part of the universe Lisa and her three childhood friends had enjoyed several local bars, all of whom were playing NKOTB exclusively.
The blonde doing her Donnie 'face time' best in the above shots is Jolene, who also gets props for donating a lot of the pics on these posts.
They were supposed to be sitting in the 400's, the upper level of the Bradley Center. On the other hand the girls and I were led to a section in the 200's, and the usher led us down, and down, and down . . to the first row of the second section, front and center to the stage and only three or four feet from the arena floor - with a very good, clear shot of the B stage.
I couldn't believe it. Three of those seats for $70? Booyah baby!
My camera phone shots suck and distort distance at that range, but this should give you some idea of the location.
To be continued . . .