When I camped outside overnight for tickets to Into The Millennium tour on a very hot August night 1999, I never thought I would actually meet the Backstreet Boys. I was overjoyed with 4th-row seats for the 3rd sold-out show at the Palace of Auburn Hills, MI. I remember buying a new Kodak camera just for the show. I still have some pictures, but not too many.
Fast forward to July 25, 2018 and I am standing in line to meet the boys for the 1st time. I brought my sister to Las Vegas with me to see Larger Than Life. We had tickets for the Wednesday night show because it was cheaper than Friday & Saturday.
I told myself I had spent WAY too much money on the seats, that I would not buy M&G. That lasted a whole two minutes after buying tickets.
Adina and I had a very busy day prior to the show. I wanted to keep my mind off what was going to happen later in the evening. I didn’t really feel nervous or anxious or even excited most of the day. It wasn’t until we walked past an area closed off by a curtain.
I saw a person with tattoos on his neck and then a tall blonde. Neither of those people “clicked” in my brain. As we got to the back of the line I thought to myself “that was AJ and Nick”. It was getting real. I still wasn’t emotional or anything UNTIL I heard someone laugh. I knew that laugh. We ALL know that laugh. It was Brian Littrell. I turned to my sister and said: “That’s the Backstreet Boys”.
She looked at me and knew I was going to spiral downhill. She was right. My face immediately got red and hot. I just kept repeating “that’s the Backstreet Boys”.
As the line moved closer and closer to the curtain, the more emotional I was getting. Now the tears start… my eyes welled up with tears as girls came out screaming or crying that they just met the boys. I told my sister “I can’t do this, I can’t do this”. She told me to calm down and that this is something I’ve dreamed about since 1997. I guess I was getting a little loud because it got someone’s attention on the other side of the curtain. Brian actually came out to see if everything was okay.
Girls started screaming behind us as I just looked up and saw Brian with a concerned look on his face. I just covered my eyes and he walked back behind the curtain. It was now time for my sister to go in. I told her I was okay but was still crying. As she went in I heard Brian ask if I was okay, my sister said I would be okay. As she was greeted by the other four boys, Brian came out from behind the curtain to comfort me. I almost died… I couldn’t breathe. He was hugging me so tight that my tears were soaking his t-shirt. He asked me my name and where I was from. Somehow I managed to say “Stephanie from Michigan”. He told me he would be back to get me, so don’t run away. He almost missed getting in the group picture with my sister.
It was my turn to meet the Backstreet Boys. Brian came and reached for my hand and walked me into the meet and greet. He gave AJ my hand and introduced me as “Stephanie from Michigan”. I hugged AJ and was shaking tremendously. I went to say Hi to Nick but all I could do was say something in a screeching voice. Must have made him uncomfortable as he backed away and I didn’t get a hug.
Next was Kevin and I can’t say enough about how gentle and kind this man is. He told me I looked beautiful and thanked ME for being there. His hug was so genuine and comforting. I was able to pull myself together just enough to say Hi to Howie through my crying. Now it was time for the group picture. I’m still crying and shaking. Kevin pulled me close to him and said calmly, “we won’t take your picture with you crying. We want this to be something special for you”.
He asked me to look straight ahead and smile and Brian put his arm around me and pointed to the camera.
The M&G lasted less than 90 seconds, but it has changed my life forever.
This is a part of an ongoing series from Stephanie about how the Backstreet Boys changed her life.