May 31: Jordan Knight album release party

Friday, June 03, 2011

Hello, June! I've been preoccupied this week ... it's been a busy one for Jordan Knight / New Kids on the Block fans, and I've let myself indulge. I was lucky enough to have been able to attend Jordan's album release party at the Canal Room this past Tuesday night, and it's a night I won't soon forget. Let me take off my Cynical Cap for a moment and share my experience.

I had fairly low expectations of the party. My main concerns leading up to the night were 1) whether I'd be able to see anything, 2) whether I'd get hurt, and 3) whether I'd feel really uncomfortable going alone.

Although I'd been concerned about not being able to see, this fear was outweighed only by my fear of feeling uncomfortable going alone. For this reason, I "roll" up to Canal Room only 15 minutes before doors are set to open. From the street, we can hear Jordan soundchecking. At first, standing alone in that line doesn't feel so awkward, but as groups of fans recognize one another and one of the girls standing beside me audibly asks her companion "is she here alone?", I know I'm ready to be inside.

The line begins moving 10 minutes later than scheduled, but once inside, I notice how much smaller the Canal Room is than it'd appeared in photos on the internet. I breathe a huge sigh of relief.

It seems the night is getting off to a late start, and at about 8:20pm, I hear a couple women scream. Then more women. Then flashes start going off. I can see the top of Jordan's head where everyone is looking, but it's not until I see his face and he is fairly close to me that I think about taking photos. He is hugging a woman I had just exchanged comments with -- she's freaking out, she's talking to him now. I wait for him to come over to my side, but he veers to his left. Shucks, I think.

The next thing I know, he's heading in my direction again and the crowd is parting for him, no one making a move or doing much of anything aside from taking photos. I think this is absurd, so I do something very uncharacteristic of me -- I step up. "Can I get a hug?" I ask. He looks at me, looking a little disoriented or blissfully dazed, and smiles. I'm not sure he can hear me, so I take his smile as a yes and I put my arms around him, and he returns the hug. When I let go, I notice the DJ has put on "The Right Stuff," and I start dancing and mouthing along to the song, with him still standing in front of me. The crowd pushes and soon I am against him and I feel as if I am almost dancing on top of him. I step away to give others a chance and to freak out and document this moment. I realize as I type on my phone that I am shaking a little. Within minutes, he has made his way to the DJ booth and speaks into the microphone, thanking us for coming and running through the agenda for the night.

At first, it seemed as if Jordan was trying to ignore a couple of women chanting "Take it off," but he eventually says quickly and under his breath, "I will, don't worry" before taking off his jacket.

He disappears after taking some photos and Kat DeLuna performs. She tells us that Jordan is "single" and adds, "no really, that's what I heard … he's single." Hmm. After 4 songs, she's done and Jordan comes out fairly promptly. He starts off with "Let's Go Higher," followed by "One More Night". He does "Give It To You" next, followed by "Inside" and "The Right Stuff". During one of the convos between songs, he makes a remark about how he loves New York City and I smile at him and he reciprocates. I feel like I am in heaven (for lack of a better phrase).









After "The Right Stuff", he talks about how "Stingy" was actually the last song he recorded, just before the masters were due. He performs "Stingy," and halfway through, he jumps back into the crowd to give out more hugs. I have the opportunity for another hug but step aside for others. While he hugs someone, he and I make eye contact for what feels like 10 seconds but must've been 2 or 3 at most, but wow, is it intense.

He finishes with this pretty quickly, tells everyone VIP is next and not to go anywhere. He disappears for less than 10 minutes, reappearing in another outfit (third of the night) -- a black shirt -- for VIP. He is led out into the VIP area. I wait around for about an hour before deciding to give it up. The night has already been so much more than I'd expected, and I am ready to leave it at that.

Overall, my impressions of Jordan were this: he is very different from what I expected him to be like. Much more tuned into his fans, much more generous, attentive, sweet. Funny. Very, very human … more than many celebrities I've met. Shy! But different onstage. Looks-wise, he even looks a little different in person, which is unlike other experiences I've had. Every celebrity I've met in person has virtually looked identical to themselves on television. Jordan looked more boyish and youthful in person, seems much more multifaceted all around. Maybe this is purely from having spent an hour in a smallish room with him and having gotten to experience various aspects of his personality. It almost felt as if we were all friends, not just fans.

If possible, I appreciate him more now. He seems so much more tender and gentle in person than he ever came across through my computer screen. I feel almost protective of him now, and I feel like I can finally stake a claim to being a bonafide Jordan girl. Most of all, I'm proud of him.

The coolest moment of the night was when the Canal Room cleared out and the band began taking apart their equipment with "Unfinished" on full blast. Someone threw open the two sets of double doors that opened out onto the street, and Jordan's music drifted out into the balmy night for all of New York City to hear.

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