LAS VEGAS, Nevada -- What happens when you combine the members of New Kids On The Block with a handful of their biggest fans and throw 'em all into the same aircraft hurtling toward Las Vegas? Oh, and alcohol? You've got the right stuff -- and by that I mean the NKOTB Party Plane. It took flight on Wednesday, July 9, and oh my God, let me tell you all about it.
Just in case you've only been listening to One Direction since you got your very first phone, allow me to old-school you: the New Kids On The Block are otherwise known as Danny Wood, Joey McIntyre, Jonathan Knight, Jordan Knight, and Donnie Wahlberg. They pretty much dominated the music charts from the late '80s and well into '90s thanks to hits like "Hangin' Tough" and "Step By Step." They're still a really big deal -- big enough to continue touring steadily (and often shirtlessly) since 2008. (Without them there'd be no One Direction.) They caused the most global boy band pandemonium since The Beatles. Now, get off my lawn.
Anyway, like some kind of vision manifested from my wildest #TBT dreams, the five iconic boy-banders grabbed a dozen or so lucky contest winners to hang tough on a flight from Chicago to Las Vegas for a four-night concert showcase that kicks off tonight at The AXIS at Planet Hollywood (aka where Britney Spears' "Britney: Piece Of Me" residency is held).
And oh yeah, I got to fly down with them. Suffice it to say, the experience has rendered me near-speechless, but here are the 17 most insane, ridiculous, over-the-top, fandom-exploding things that I witnessed on board.
1.) When the fans boarded, they were informed that -- YES! -- they'd get to sit next to the members of NKOTB during the flight.
2.) Joey broke into "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" on the Tarmac. And to answer his question: yes.
3.) One of the fans gifted Jonathan and the rest of guys with some homemade, Boston sports-themed speedos. Go Pats!
4.) Less than 30 minutes into the flight, I overheard one fan say to another: "Lay off my New Kid." Needless to say, I feared the worst.
5.) A flight attendant performed "Step By Step" with new lyrics about flight safety while Jordan demonstrated proper flotation device usage.
6.) Joey got on the cabin loudspeaker to announce that everyone onboard would receive a ticket to their Vegas show!
7.) He added: "We transcend the boy band stereotype, just lollygagging around onstage."
8.) Joey finished with the greatest gift of all: free drinks. This one was NOT for the children.
9.) Speaking of which, Danny had already managed to grab a Bud Light while we were all distracted by Joey and Jordan's antics.
10.) Then, a passenger announced it was her birthday! And then two more announced their impending Vegas nuptials! Things got kinda emotional.
11.) Thankfully, two fans cut the tension by challenging Joey to "Cards Against Humanity." (Donnie: "This game is wrong!")
12.) Also, I literally looked down for five seconds, and these two had already switched clothes.
13.) The Knight brothers took it upon themselves to pass out the inflight snacks.
14.) Apropos of nothing, I overheard someone asking: "Are we talking girth or width?"
15.) Oh, and you've gotta see mega-fan Dawn's NKOTB ensemble. She's been following 'em since The Magic Summer Tour!
16.) As we started our descent, someone made sure to ask Donnie to FaceTime with someone back home.
17.) And the landing was somehow more epic than the whole flight combined.