WOW. This was an action packed Epic Weekend In Pictures even for me. I had a wonderful time getting to see so many of my friends here in Jersey. We'll start my Epic Weekend with Thursday night. Just over a week ago, bestie Jasen randomly asked me "hey, do you want to go to see New Kids On The Block next week? I bought these tickets so long ago I honestly forgot about it thank goodness for the reminder!" We saw them at Prudential Center back in 2019 and the show was absolutely phenomenal. Now in 2022? This show was even better!
It was NKOTB with opening artists Salt N Pepa, En Vogue, and Rick Astley. NKOTB did this same setup last time back in 2019 which I think is honestly brilliant. NKOTB actually starts the show, does approximately 4 songs on one stage, then they throw it over to one of the opening acts immediately. Instead of waiting 20-30 minutes through soundchecks of bands, you go nonstop right back to the action. BRILLIANT! En Vogue, Salt N Peppa, and Rick Astley were all absolutely fantastic. It was so much fun to be enjoying NKOTB one minute, then En Vogue the next, then NKOTB, then Rick Astley, then NKOTB, then Salt N Pepa, then NKOTB, then Rick Astley, then NKOTB. Yes, I just made myself dizzy reading while I was typing this LOL.
We had such a great time. Was I likely the only single, straight guy there at a packed Prudential Center? Yes, I was likely definitely the only single, straight guy there at this show. LOL. I know, how I manage to stay single is a complete mystery to me too ;) . We had such a great time at a fantastic show. It was also fun to be in a packed, excited arena full of people again! In 2019 we were so used to that, it was very fun to see that back in our worlds again. Feel free to call me jaded after working in radio for 20 years. I honestly didn't really miss live music that much when we couldn't have it. When it comes to live concerts, I'm blessed to say I feel that there is honestly not much that I haven't seen. (I really hope any English teachers didn't just read my last sentence with all of those I's sorry!) What did I realize we missed? People watching. The people watching at this show was phenomenal. The crowd was probably 95% female, and everyone was there for a Girls Night Out of dancing and singing. Sometimes you see angry folks who have gone past their limit at shows. This wasn't the case at all from what I could see. Everyone was just having a great, fun time.
Friday: OOF. I was reminded that I'm way way way too old for fun Thursday night concerts. I remember the amazing time we had seeing Thomas Rhett at Bethel Woods a few Thursday nights ago, and also the pain of waking up early after a 2am returning home time. This time around we got home just before 1. Still painful and had me dragging the next day. Well worth it though! That's why at one point I was double fisting green teas with both Dunkin and Starbucks. It was definitely that kind of party. Late nights hurt me more than anything else. Still so freakin worth it. It's funny how the dynamics have changed for The New Kids On The Block. In the late 80s early 90s during their dominance, they usually had the teen heartthrobs Jordan and Joey out front for most of the songs. Now that Donnie Wahlberg is a popular actor who millions watch every week on CBS's Blue Bloods, the dynamics have changed and he's basically the glorified front man. GREAT times. I'll also give NKOTB props for staying true to their roots. Even though they were in Newark, New Jersey at The Prudential Center - during the encore what did they wear? Their Boston Celtics jerseys! Yeah buddy!!!
Friday night it was time for Crystal Springs fantastic Bourbon & BBQ night at Black Bear Golf Club. Crystal Springs and their team does an absolute fantastic job doing these events. They're so fun and popular, they now hold them several times during the summer. I immediately ran into friends new and old the second I got there. Bartender friend Noelle, Michelle, Donna and John Arrigo, Jamie, Chef Andy, and so many more friends. I felt like Norm from Cheers, where everytime I sat down I saw another friend and had to get up to hug them. Talk about a champagne problem to have, for sure! I had mouthwatering drool worthy ribs and bacon. Chef Andy asked me if I wanted more bacon and I immediately said yes please! I then was able to sample their single malt bourbon which was fantastic. GREAT Friday night.
I then swung by Minerals Moonshine Tiki Bar for a quick round with besties Jasen, Brendan, Carrie and other friends. Perfect way to recover from NKOTB and recharge for the Epic Weekend In Pictures.
Saturday morning it was errands fun like grocery shopping, loading up on Treinta Shaken Iced Green Teas from Starbucks, etc. Not exactly the most exciting of mornings, but we need to know when to pace ourselves. I'm still trying to learn and get better at that myself lol.
Saturday afternoon I swung by for lunch at Jimmy Geez North on 23 in Oak Ridge. I enjoyed their pepperoni pizza but my biggest victory was getting to see my bartender friend Sam. We've always had a fun bond, and then that grew stronger because we both have mutual friends Kate and Bryon. Ironically, I ran into our friend Kate Friday night at Minerals in a hallway while she was working at a function. I told Sam how psyched I was to run into Kate the previous night, Sam then immediately responded with "Awesome I get to see her tomorrow!" I asked her where. Sam then told me that Kate & Bryon were having an engagement party at Brown Barn Farm's Orange County Distillery. I immediately responded with "I'M GONNA CRASH IT!" Ironically I was planning on swinging by there anyway to pick up a bottle of Orange County Distillery's Single Malt Whiskey. To be fair, I did at least warn Kate via IG direct message that I was crashing the party and already going there anyway. She immediately wrote back that they couldn't wait to see me tomorrow.
Saturday night here we go. My besties Sally and Doug hosted a fun, large party of our friends at their place where Sally just purchased a couple of those large outdoor Jenga setups. I wasn't excited for Jenga but when one of my besties Sally asked if I could be her partner, you certainly can't turn that down. I hadn't seen my friends in so long I would've signed up for almost anything. Okay not scrambling eggs, but almost anything other than that.
We had so much fun hanging out on their deck. Our very first Jenga game was epic lasting almost an hour long! It was like an Ali-Frazier heavyweight champion boxing match! It just kept getting taller and taller, both teams were battling. Welp welp. Of course I was the one who lost it collapsing everything while everyone can watch my live failure. I was yelling at everyone "oh this is GREAT! Nobody remembers the second person to lose at Jenga, but EVERYONE REMEMBERS THE FIRST LOSER, ME!!!" LOL. great times laughing with friends. We then enjoyed watching a terrific Irish Celtic band in downtown Warwick. The weather was absolutely gorgeous and with great friends, you can't go wrong. I then ran into another one of my dear friends Nancie. She said "Steve we haven't seen you at Crystal Springs Vista 180 Pool in 3 weeks, you need to come back!" I told her "You're absolutely right. After I crash an Engagement Party, I'll be there!"
Sunday: LET'S GO!
I went to Brown Barn Farm's Orange County Distillery right after they opened. Kate and her team were in operation party setup mode. I knew to just say hi and stay the Bleep out of the way. When folks are in mission mode and party prepping, if you don't know exactly what has to be done, it's far best and easiest to just stay out of everyone's way. Kate and all of the bridal party were absolutely gorgeous. I saw some friends I hadn't seen in several YEARS! I joked with Bryon at one point and said "this is like half an engagement party, half reunion!" We had a great time celebrating Kate and Bryon. Since I crashed their engagement party, it goes without saying that I can't wait to crash their wedding. It will be on Campus at Minerals, how can I not crash it?
I would have stayed later to hang with those amazing friends, but I had plans for the pool. I ventured over to Crystal Springs Vista 180 Pool, as I often call Heaven On Earth. It's seriously one of my favorite places, ever.
I had a great time with besties Shawn, Liz and Nancie. Sunday night I just powered down enjoying the beautiful night on my deck and going to bed relatively early. Bar Rescue wasn't on TV, so I was happy to enjoy my deck.
Overall wow what a freakin Epic Weekend In Pictures. Thank you so much for taking the time to read my recap. Time to start planning next weekend!