OMG, OMG, OMG- I have been dying to write this post to share this. I HAD THE MOST FUN NIGHT EVER ON FRIDAY NIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!
Seriously, I feel like I’m still riding a little emotional high two days later.
I went to see the Backstreet Boys in concert at Summerfest in Milwaukee!!
Summerfest is a huge musical festival in downtown Milwaukee every year, which runs for several weeks and brings in tons of big names to play on their various stages. Each night they also have a “headliner” concert in the amphitheater (extra tickets required, of course, for those).
Anyway, Friday night was THE BACKSTREET BOYS!
For some context, I am 38 years old, born in 1983. (39 in October). The BSB started out around 1993 (when I was 10), but really soared to popularity around 1997-1998, I’d say- so when I was around 14. This 13-14-15 year old age was when I (and my friends) started getting more into listening to music, hanging out, etc…. and “boy band” music basically became the soundtrack to my late middle school/ high school years. It played in our rooms, in our cars, at school dances, everywhere.
Also, Spotify and streaming music obviously were not a thing back then. We had CDs. I remember having a decent little collection of CDs, but not that many, really. So the ones I had, I listened to a LOT. A lot a lot. Over and over and over.
My friend Andrea and I got super into the Backstreet Boys, and we actually went to their first concert in Milwaukee, in 1998!! I would have been 14 I think then. We were borderline obsessed. Hahaha! Blame it on the age, or the catchy lyrics, or the fun beat, or the cute guys…I don’t know. But we loved them.
So when I heard the BSB were coming to Summerfest, I immediately texted my friend and was like, “OMG WE HAVE TO GO!!!” She actually lives in Milwaukee, but for some crazy reason, we had fallen mostly out of touch, besides Christmas cards and random Facebook comments. I had not seen her in almost 15 years, since my wedding in 2007! So the idea of reuniting with her AND seeing the Backstreet Boys again was too good to be true. She was 100% game and we bought tickets!
I drove down Friday afternoon to her house and we ran at each other kind of screaming and hugged and shrieked, “It is so good to see you!!” This was one of my best friends from high school. We spent sooooooo much time together and have such a long history. It’s so bizarre to think I hadn’t seen her in 15 years.
The concert itself was AMAZING! At first we weren’t sure how popular they’d be, all these years later. My friend even said, “I bet it won’t be that full.” WRONG. It was totally packed! And the energy was insane. I mean, I know the BSB were international superstars back then, so I guess it makes sense that a lot of people might still have similar feelings about them today, like I do! People were decked out in Backstreet Boy shirts, hats, the whole nine yards. 🙂
The demographic was definitely a majority I’d say 35- ~43ish? aged women. So, my age. Not many people <30 in there.
I just can’t explain how fun this was! The Backstreet Boys might be one of the very few artists where I literally know every single song, forwards and backwards. I’ve never been overly into popular music, like some people are, where they follow dozens of artists and learn all their new records, etc. But I know my Backstreet Boys. (And, NSYNC. haha.) Even some songs that I hadn’t heard in years, I somehow could magically produce every single lyric. Crazy!
Obviously, knowing the music well makes a concert way more fun. We were singing and dancing along the entire time, hands in the air, huge grins on our faces.
And they were still great!! Honestly, they looked good, they sounded good, the concert was really well done, the crowd was absolutely amped up…. it was just awesome!! It was like stepping back in time ~20-25 years.
The song where everyone turned on their phones, like “lighters”:
I felt this incredible sense of nostalgia the entire time. Like so bad, it almost hurt! It’s hard to explain. It’s not that I want to go back in time, really, but man. Those were some really great years for me. I feel so blessed that I had this amazing friend group at that time and life just felt so carefree and simple. When I hear that music, it transports me back to a really sweet and special time in my life.
Life is so good now, too, in different ways. But I sometimes get this deep longing for that particular period in my life. Maybe it’s because everything seemed easy back then. No real responsibilities, no fulltime job, no constantly having to put my kids/ husband first, no figuring out what to make for dinner or who is going to pick up the groceries or drive carpool…. It was a time where I could just basically do whatever I wanted!! I felt so free. Things felt simple. I spent a lot of time with my friends; we were growing and exploring life and laughing and just having fun. And, listening to the Backstreet Boys. 🙂
I’ve also never been able to replicate the kinds of friendships I had in middle/high school again later in my life. Those friendships where you just GET each other, through and through, and you laugh together about everything and can be 100% yourself with them. The friendships that feel so real and authentic and easy. I mean, yeah, I’ve made some friends since high school, kind of, but I can’t say I’ve ever found friends again that are anywhere near the level of the friends I had then. Sometimes that makes me really sad. I miss that so much.
But mostly, I guess I just really feel lucky that I had them, then. I know a lot of kids aren’t so lucky in high school to have such amazing peer groups, or such positive experiences, like I did.
I just wish I could go back in time, just even for one weekend, to relive some of those days, or that time in my life in general. This concert was probably the closest thing to time travel that I think I’ll ever get though, so, I will cherish this memory!! 🙂
I am grateful for the concert Friday night!! At one point I hesitated before buying tickets, thinking it sounded like a bit of a hassle to get down there, and Asher had a swim meet that night too….. I am SO GLAD I didn’t let the logistics get in the way. So glad I went.
*P.S. NSYNC, if you’re reading this…. please do a reunion concert!!! That would make my life complete. 😉
15 thoughts on “Backstreet’s Back!”
This was such a beautiful post. Thanks. I’m in your age group (39) so I totally relate to the nostalgia/time travel feelings…I went to a Bush/3EB concert a few yrs ago that engendered the same in me. Also the thoughts on friendship…I’ve really struggled as a (single, no kids) adult to make deep friendships…in part bc no one I meet now seems as easy to connect with as friends from hs and earlier were (who I’ve mostly lost touch with as our lives diverged, unfortunately but somewhat inevitably). There’s a passage in Robert Penn Warren’s “All the King’s Men” about the “friend of your youth” being special…”simply part of the furniture of the wonderful opening world.” Always stuck with me. :-‘) Anyway, again, great post & blog!…been reading for a while but never commented before.
Thank you so much for commenting! (and reading!). I agree with you that it is really hard to make deep friendships as an adult. I come into contact with a lot of other people around my age through my kids, but so many of those friendships are more like “deep acquaintances”- people you really enjoy talking with at the kids’ sporting events, or at school functions, etc., and maybe even text sometimes, but they tend to never really progress TOO much past that. In part, because everyone is just busy, I guess, and also maybe it’s just hard for me to mentally make the jump from “so and so’s mom” to “my friend”. And as you say, being single/ no kids is probably even harder- it may mean you just naturally come into contact with even less people. (with kids, you at least tend to see other parents, like it or not). I totally agree with you though that I also just never feel like I CONNECT in the same, deep way as I did as a kid/ adolescent. I’ve always kind of wondered if it’s an “adult” thing- just normal for this stage of life? Or is it just me- am I antisocial? Am I awkward? Unlikeable? haha!! I don’t really know. Thanks for the message! 🙂
Oh my gosh!!!!!!! This is soo cool! I would totally have gone with you if I was local 🥰
I’m a 1984 baby so we probably had similar music taste, but my big favourite was Boyzone. Did they reach the US? I knew for sure I was going to marry Ronan 🥰
Also, I watched the series about O Town being formed. Remember that?!
Well I would have loved to have you join us!!! 🙂 That would have been amazing.
Honestly, we were pretty loyal to BSB and NYSNC, mostly. We did let 98 Degrees in a little when they came around. hahaha!! I’d heard of Boyzone and O Town but never knew their music nearly as well!
We did go through a pretty big Spice Girls phase, too!! My close group of friends consisted of 6 girls total, and we actually each kind of fit the profile of one of them (I guess our 6th friend was…the manager? hah.) I was “Sporty Spice”. 😉 We’d get together and perform “If You Wanna Be My Lover”. LOL!! Great fun. 🙂
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Oh gosh such fun memories!!!
I remember sitting in my friend’s bedroom and playing the Dirty Dancing soundtrack on repeat until we knew it word for word 🤣
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Glad you had fun! I am almost 5 years older so I missed this craze (and my mom passed away about this time), but beautifully said.
Can’t imagine how that happening affected your adolescence!! 😦 I’m so sorry you had to go through that.
aw this is so fun. I’m a 1981 baby so VERY familiar with the BSB love. My high school group of friends had a mix CD and everyone got a song that represented them….. mine was “I want it that way” hahahahhaa. Still accurate!!!!
hehehe, that’s such a great song!!! When they played it at the concert (well, when the opening notes came on), everyone went CRAZY!!! Obviously, the opening is soooo recognizable. 🙂
Blast from the past! I loved NSYNC. And BSB. And The Spice Girls.
I have been having all the feels lately about my childhood as well (thanks for the blog comment – I can relate to almost everything you say). It’s bittersweet, the nostalgia I feel.
Life felt so…simple. My parents were young! My life was so flexible and open! Life had endless possibilities!
There is an unmistakable heaviness that comes with age, I think. It gets richer and more diverse, but also there is the weight of saying goodbye to friends too early (a close friend died from cancer almost exactly 5 years ago, leaving a young family behind). My parents are getting older and I always wonder how much longer they’ll be able to maintain their home (in the middle of the woods on a lake – so it’s A LOT of work). I worry more about my kids – the environment, the state of the world etc.
While I’m happy and content in the present, I still long for the simpler days of the past. I think this is normal, but I have also always been VERY, VERY nostalgic, so I think I might reflect on my childhood more than others?
And I think I am even more conscious of it again now that I have kids and I want them to have such rich memories of their young years.
I’m so glad you went to the concert and I 100% relate to everything you’re saying about that wistfulness for days gone by ❤
Elisabeth, you and I are so much alike.
What a fun night! I am a bit older than you so my memories of BSB are more from college! I saw them in college and remember having amazing floor seats and having the time of our lives! I could probably sing all of the songs, too! It’s amazing how those lyrics come back to you!
I had a really different HS/school-aged experience from you. I lived in a tiny town (graduating class of 28) and just didn’t connect with anyone since I wasn’t athletic and I didn’t party/drink so I was just kind of an outcast… I begged my parents to send me to a boarding school in Fargo for my last 2 years of HS but they refused. I understand now since they didn’t want to lose any time with me. But I was pretty miserable in school and just kind of had to “get through” those years. I made amazing friends in college, though, and 3 of them live locally so I see them fairly often. But some of my best friends are people I met through blogging in the 2000s and then through Phil’s group of friends. Since I had kids so late in life, I really focused on friendships for my 20s and 30s. If I had kids younger, it would have been so different as having kids and maintaining close friendships/meeting new people is really hard! Kids just take over your life, especially if you are a working parent and are squeezing time for friends in when you can. I am just starting to feel like I have the bandwidth and ability to make more time for friends and have dinners in the evenings and such. I guess I got lucky that Phil’s college friends are so awesome and I just happened to have a ton in common with his best man’s wife. I actually see way more of her than Phil sees her husband and he kind of gripes about that from time to time. But Courtney and I are planners, and her youngest is 5 weeks older than my oldest and they go to the same daycare/are in the same class, so we get together for playdates. Phil’s group of friends had kids later in life, so that’s probably another reason I’ve clicked with some of the wives in his group. Whereas my college friends had kids in their 20s, so they’ve got tweens and teens, like you do. I saw a lot of them when I was single/childless but have seen much less of them since having kids… and the pandemic didn’t help.
I enjoyed the recent Mom Hour episode where they talked about what they were like as kids and thought about doing a post about that stage of my life. I wish my younger self could have had a glimpse of where I am today and could see how much better life would get. I was so lonely and pretty sad for much of my tween/teen years. 😦
What a lovely time you had! I’ve always been a bit intimidated by Summerfest, so I’ve never been. It looks like you had so much fun!
Oh, my goodness, so much fun here! SO glad you reconnected with your friend, and that you got to see the BSB on top of it! Having fun is such an essential part of life. 🙂
OMG, Kae, this post made me so, so happy. For once, because you sound so happy having reconnected with this old friend, seeing BSB again and bathing in nostalgia.
Also, because I can relate to this SO MUCH. I am a little older than you, but I was a HUGE NKOTB fan back in the day. I saw my first concert in 1991 when I was 15. The last one was last in 2019 (and a few years back I went to a concert when they toured with BSB!).
I have a lot of nostalgia for my teenage years and all the friendships and ease of the time. ❤
Nobody can take these memories away from us!!