Last week I reviewed the Netflix concert documentary, Justin Timberlake and the Tennessee Kids, directed by Jonathan Demme. It was all right, but was pretty much just high-quality concert footage with almost no bells or whistles. It put me in a nostalgic kind of mood, reminding me of a time many moons ago when I was an avid consumer of concert videos myself.
When I was a very little girl, the inside cover of my unicorn diary was plastered with NKOTB stickers. That’s New Kids On The Block, for the uninitiated. I loved Joey McIntyre in particular, and practiced writing my future married name over and over as only a 7 year old could (as an old married lady, I have never signed myself as Mrs anything). My mother called me “boy crazy” but she fueled the fires of my pre-lusty desires with posters and t-shirts and perfume (I have no idea how to distill an entire boy band into one scent, but they did, and I wore it). I also had not 1 but 2 Joey McIntyre Barbie dolls. I still remember the jeans and the red jacket that he wore, and the backwards baseball cap like the baby-faced faux-bad-boy he was. My Barbies loooooved to date him, enjoyed extended closed-mouth kissing with him, and were serenaded on the reg. I never owned anyone besides Joey although the whole Barbie band was available for purchase – until a certain milestone birthday when my youngest sister paid I don’t want to know how much to assemble the boys for a reunion tour in my bedroom: she tracked down every last NKOTB Barbie and sent them to me, mint in their boxes. My childhood toys are now collector’s items. I am old.
When I was still young and fresh and musically ridiculous, I wanted nothing more than to listen to my New Kids tapes on my Walkman. Being quite small at the time, I never got to see them in concert, but I did have the next best thing: their concerts on VHS. I can’t recall how many of those I had, but it was likely all of them. But they weren’t stingy like Justin Timberlake’s, they were full of priceless nuggets, like the sight of 14 year old Joey “shaving” before a gig, proper rat tail maintenance, and the guys discussing their astrological signs. You know, really important stuff. I ate it up. And I was starved for it because the New Kids cartoon played at noon on Saturdays and I almost always missed it because it clashed with my mother’s Nutri System weigh-ins. True story. I had a rough childhood, you know. I would wait in the Ford Aerostar, playing with my 2 Joes to console myself, waiting to see if my mother was any skinnier, and if missing my favourite show would be worth it (it pretty much wasn’t).
I must sound awfully wistful when I talk about the New Kids glory days, because not only did my sister assemble the whole band in 12 inch, non-anatomically-correct plastic form, my husband bought me tickets to their real, flesh and blood reunion tour (twinned with The Backstreet Boys, who I could live without). We had floor seats so my inner 7 year old really geeked out (how I managed not to bring a glitter poster with me, I’ll never know). It was wonderful.
That had to have been the hey day of concert documentaries, though. I haven’t seen any of the recent ones, though I know that both Beiber and Katy Perry had rather successful ones. But now that I’m thinking about it, The New Kids On The Block aren’t the only concert videos I’ve owned.
At home, somewhere in my DVD collection, is concert footage of Our Lady Peace, a band you probably haven’t heard of outside of Canada, but was the height of the alt-rock scene here in the late 90s, when I was in high school. By then I was old enough to go to concerts and boy did I. I probably saw those guys in concert dozens of times. In fact, I sang with them once. I was in the front row, singing along to every song, when the lead singer (Raine Maida), held my hand and gave me the mic. Jesus Murphy. Have all your dreams ever come true in one ecstatic moment? I remember stumbling in the door so late that night, a week night of course, and shaking my mother awake so she could listen to me recount my story in a still-trembling voice. It was golden. Our Lady Peace has stayed relatively active despite the fact that music these days seems to have shifted decisively toward a poppier sound. I saw Raine just a year or two ago at Osheaga doing some solo stuff. But this autumn they’ve banded together with another Canadian indie-alt band, I Mother Earth, to bring the 90s back. So of course someone bought me tickets. God I’m shameless. I can’t decide if I have the best life ever or … oh who am I kidding? It may be slightly embarrassing, but I’m having a damn good time.
What was YOUR concert doc obsession? I can’t be the only one!