Joey McIntyre is performing at Paradise on Tuesday night, a realization that makes me smile a little, chuckle to myself and wonder where I can find myself a crimper.

While I don’t think of Joseph Mulrey McIntyre much these days, I’ve never understood the whole “Joey” thing. He was always Joe to me — Joe in the magazines, Joe plastered all over my bedroom walls, Joe that I saw in my first concert: NKOTB, Hangin’ Tough Tour, 1990, Richmond, Virginia.

Yeah, that’s right. Virginia. Whenever my father rolls his eyes at my latest multi-hour concert roadtrip, I sweetly remind him that I didn’t drive my 9-year-old self from Vermont to Virginia for that gig. Game, set, match.

I wore an over-sized NKOTB shirt, electric blue leggings and a high ponytail — ends crimped. I also believe that scrunchy socks may have been involved, although the photographic evidence available to me cuts me off at mid-calf.

It was the first of the two New Kids concerts I would attend (the other, in Montreal, circa Magic Summer Tour, resulted in an article/review of sorts published in my fourth-grade class newspaper) and the first time I left a venue with a dazed, star-struck look in my eyes. I remember feeling certain that when Joe waved at that corner of the arena, he could see me waving right back — and although he’d neither worn the cut-off hat nor hit the high notes in “Please Don’t Go Girl” (ah, puberty), it had been a dazzling experience I wanted to experience again and again and again.

Unfortunately, it also led to the rote memorization of Joe McIntyre factoids. I can’t remember what my college philosophy professor had to say about Kierkegaard’s “Either/Or,” but I can tell you that Joe as born December 31, 1972, is the youngest of nine children and sang “Strangers in the Night” while wearing a green suit in the Oprah special that I so totally have on tape because I was a better fan than you.

It’s kind of unfair, isn’t it?

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