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Anyone who knows me at all knows that Paula Abdul is a huge part of my life. I've been a fan since 2004 and have pretty much followed her to so many events, parties, and television shows that she's become an important part of my life in many facets including friend and mentor.
Fast forward to November of 2016, where in the pouring rain, I watched her announce that for the first time in 25 years, she'd be hitting the stage with New Kids on the Block and Boyz II Men on the Total Package Tour in the summer of 2017. Tickets went on sale that Friday and let's just say that I maxed out most of my credit cards.
May 12, 2017 was opening night in Columbus, OH. I'd never been to an opening night show before, but it was one of the most incredible experiences I've had. I saw the lights go down and I instantaneously felt alive. Paula came on stage and performed and she SLAYED. I have never been more proud of someone. The Queen is back.
After opening night came Hollywood, CA. Los Angeles is Paula's hometown so I knew I had to be there to show my support for my girl in front of her home crowd. The energy in the Hollywood Bowl was something I will never experience again in my life. Not to mention, going to the after party with all of Paula's friends and family was a fun few minutes too.
I'm lucky to live in a popular area, where I'm about an hour from New York, an hour from Pennsylvania, and an hour from the Jersey Shore. Naturally, when the tour dates came out, I noticed that Paula was playing almost every arena within an hour of driving distance from me. Call me crazy all you want, but if your favorite band was playing 45 minutes from you, wouldn't you go to every show too?
From Philadelphia, Brooklyn, Newark, Allentown, Uncasville, Uniondale, and Albany, the Total Package Tour spent quite some time in the North East end of the country. Some people have asked if I was tired of the set, and I'll tell you just like I told them, I could never get tired of watching Paula perform like she does. What other 55 year old do you know that jumps off a 40 foot ladder into pitch black darkness? That's what I thought.
I've been lucky enough to have met so many wonderful friends who I have shared this journey with this summer. Hailyn, Stephanie, Jenn, Ericca, and I spent many nights watching the same show over and over and over, and we wouldn't change a thing. If we went to opening night of the concert, how could we not go to closing night?
Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, Florida were probably the most emotional shows on the tour, at least for me. I've been counting down the minutes since November to even see the tour once. The culmination in Florida was an emotional one. When Paula started first singing the opening lyrics to Forever Your Girl in Fort Lauderdale, I instantly burst into tears. This was it, the last time I would see her perform on the Total Package Tour for the summer.
While I am now back home in New Jersey, I can't thank all of my friends enough for taking this wild journey with me. I've never appreciated late night pancakes or alcohol induced memories more than I do now. But I can't wrap up this article without this last paragraph.
To my Paula...Words cannot express the pride that I have in you for taking this journey in your career. Watching you hit the stage as much as I did, I know every bit of strength that you had to make this a reality. For having not performed in 26 years, anyone at the concert would have never known it. You are a superstar and each twist and turn of choreography, each time you told your infamous Laker Girl auditions story, no matter how many times I heard you say "Life is too short, and so am I!", it will never have been enough. I love you to the moon and back and I am so grateful for your love and guidance in my life. That love and guidance has given me some of the best gifts in the world, including your wonderful self.