Saturday 12th November, 2022. London, England.
If you had asked me five years ago if I was looking forward to seeing my favourite band in concert you would have got one of the following responses:
“OMG, I SO CANT WAIT!”
“I’ve been counting down the days!”
Five years ago, I was a different person. The world was different. There was no worldwide pandemic. We hadn’t had our lives go on hold for a year or more. We were in some ways more carefree. I was different. I was going through a lifestyle change, had found my way, and was beating the demons in my head. I was the healthiest I’d ever been. Following my favourite boyband has gone on hold. Why? I believe now it was because I didn’t need them.
Sounds silly, right?
Since I was 10 years old, I had idolized the same band. I had listened to their music on repeat, memorized lyrics, dance routines, and random facts. As a teen, my walls were literally plastered in posters and magazine snippets. From the outside I was the average teenybopper. But on the inside, I was a child carer, taking care of my sick mum, and helping raise my younger brother. As well as battling school bullies, anxiety, and depression. To say I had the weight of the world on my shoulders as a child is an understatement.
I was not living the teenage life.
So, music became my safe haven. My escape from the stress, the upset and all the negativity in my life. Of course, I had to watch all my friends go and see the boys in concert and could only dream that I would be able to do the same one day.
I never knew back then how I’d be able to live that dream, and more, and be able to thank the same people who kept me alive back then.
As I hit 20 years old, and my younger brother was older, I was able to go and do what I’d always dreamed of. In 2005, I managed to meet the boys, see them live in concert, and make a whole group of new friends who I am honoured to call my best friends today.
But being able to thank them? Well, no words would have been able to cut it, but I was still able to tell Kevin, and then share that moment with my Mum – something I will treasure forever.
In 2007, I tragically lost my mum. And the group of guys who helped me cope as a kid, helped me cope in a whole other way as an adult.
Over the years I travelled a lot. I saw the boys in various countries in Europe and travelled to the states and saw them there. I was living beyond my dream as a tween. My teenage self would have probably shit herself in excitement if she only knew the experiences and memories that she’d make when she’s older.
Somewhere around 2015 though, and I’m not even really sure why, but my mindset shifted. I found fitness, and health, and although I still listened to the boys, I had finally found something that helped me cope with the demons in my mind. I’d never gotten over my childhood trauma or losing my mother. But this helped me breathe a little easier. I tend to liken it to taking meds… after a while the body might get used to the dosage it’s on, and you may need to up it, or change meds completely. For me, I had to change meds.
Now don’t get me wrong, my love for them did not fade. I was and will always be thankful for everything they have done for me. But I was 30 and felt like I was able to take a step forward and not have them as my muse, my way to lose myself. It was thrilling and new.
Then comes 2019, and the DNA tour hit London. I won’t lie, I had zero intentions of seeing them live. I was completely content with my last experiences with the fellas, and even though I loved the album, I was happy to watch from afar. My friends of course had other ideas, and eventually I was convinced to go. I’m forever glad I did. And the beauty of it was I hadn’t indulged in any tour spoilers. My friend Emma will always tell me how she loved watching my reactions to the show, and how happy I looked.
And I was happy. That show reignited something that I thought I’d never get back. That night we got tickets to the show the following day, and I got to enjoy the show from the right pit.
After that date I flew from London to Atlanta, Georgia, stayed with Karah and got to enjoy the show once again with both Karah and Julia. I truly love that show, and other than the NKOTBSB tour (Which will always be one of my top faves) it had become my favourite tour of the boys.
And then COVID hit.
I know I don’t need to delve too deep into the whole pandemic, or various online posts from one of the boys or their wives, but when the boys announced they were coming back to London for the DNA tour, well… I didn’t want to go.
It wasn’t that I didn’t want to see the tour, it was more because I didn’t want to see him. I can’t explain it, but due to the political and horrific comments made online, and the lack of apology that didn’t arise from him or them left a black hole in my heart. As a result, I have found it incredibly difficult to watch, or support the band who I had loved for years and years. To this day, I will never be able to forgive or forget all that went down over the pandemic.
So, imagine how much of a traitor I felt when my friends got me a ticket to the show anyways. I mean they knew how much I loved the show in 2019, and even though we all shared the same view (as above) they also felt we all needed that night to live like we used to. So, I did accept the ticket, but that didn’t mean I was dreading the show.
In fact up until the day before I was more excited to see my girls than the boys.
But then the news about Aaron Carter broke that evening. And my heart broke for various reasons.
I knew Nick would be hurting. I knew the boys would be hurting. I was sad because Aaron had lost his way, and despite what we have all seen and said over the past few years we all only wanted the best for him. But then the question arises, would the show go ahead tomorrow?
None of us actually knew what was going to happen until around 3 hours before the show started. When VIP went ahead without Nick, people were then asking if he would attend the show. I honestly wouldn’t have blamed him if he didn’t, but I also understood if he did attend.
Us girls all met up, we cried when we all read Nicks post for Aaron together. We were literally nervous as hell whilst sat in our seats before the lights went down.
Something changed for me in that show. I’ve been wanting to write this blog since that night to talk about it, but I have been finding it hard to get all the words.
It was emotional. The whole room was emotionally charged. When the boys appeared I’d never heard the crowds cheer so loud. Whether it was because it was the first time seeing them since COVID, or the fact everyone was cheering them on because of Aaron we will never know. It was loud, but also it wasn’t the same.
By “Show Me the Meaning” and “Incomplete,” emotions were high. Nick was crying, skipping lyrics, and the room was still loud. It was like everyone was reminding Nick that we were there, that we had him and held him, and it was ok.
And then, during “No Place” when the pictures of Nick and Aaron flashed up on the screen, it was then that it dawned on me.
Kevin addressed the crowd, Nick was crying, and the boys were hugging him, we were all crying out eyes out, and I then realized it had come full circle. These guys had spent years consoling me, and now I was here in this room with 18,000 other fans being able to console them. I cried, then for the rest of that show, I let the emotion in my heart pour out into all the lyrics to every song, I cheered hard, danced and at every given moment we blew the roof off that arena with love.
The past week has been emotionally charged. Seeing articles about Aaron, the same photo being shared of the boys holding Nick on stage. I have only watched the video I took of that moment once, but I now feel so honored that we were a part of that. That we could be there to help Nick and the group heal from the hurt.
My love for these boys will last forever, I know that. I am human and therefore its fine to dislike, or not forgive one of them for their actions, but the band will be a part of my life. I will most likely still see them in concert, and I will most definitely still yell “F.. off” whenever i want to LOL
I don’t care if it pisses fans off that I can dislike a member. It is MY opinion, MY feelings… you do you. I’m doing me.
But overall, I will always love the Backstreet Boys. But dudes, you won’t catch me listening to the Christmas album.