BSB '96 UK TOUR. THE NEWPORT CENTRE 16/11/96.

It all began at 3:30 a.m. on a cold Saturday morning when three excited teenagers and a weary mother emerged from their beds to get ready for the three hour journey from Cheshire to Newport south Wales. We had decided that for this concert we would wait outside the venue from morning 'till night to secure our chances of a front row position, as the concert hall was a standing venue in which the first fans to arrive got the sought after view from THE FRONT ROW !! Those very words mean more to a concert go-er than anything else on this earth and we were determined to be there, right against those harsh metal barriers. As uncomfortable as it may sound we didn't care, the BSB's would be just an arm stretch away.

We arrived in Newport at 7:30 a.m. and took our place in the practically non-existent queue, behind a group of Welsh girls who had arrived at 7 a.m. My mother decided to go for a sleep in the car whilst we settled down for the twelve hour wait. An hour later the queue began to build and by 12 o'clock a line of teenage girls stretched down to the end of the building. Today we knew that the boys would not arrive until about 3 o' clock, as they were performing live on a Saturday morning show called ' Live & Kicking ' in the London area. Sure enough at three p.m. a huge, blacked-out bus drove slowly past the hoards of fans who had been waiting for hours to see their favourite band. No-one was sure whether or not the coach belonged to the BSB's, but when it pulled around the corner toward the backstage area we knew who it was and mayhem followed. By this point my mum had returned from the car, so she held our place in the queue whilst my two friends and I ( and another hundred girls!! ) ran around to backstage. We all got up against the barriers and waited for the boys to get off their bus. Eventually they did and they waved to the crowd before disappearing inside. Realising that the lads were not going to return outside, we headed back to the queue. As we were waiting we noticed that a lot of girls from the back of the queue had obviously pushed in front of those who had been there since 7:30. The next four hours were probably some of the longest of my life as we waited in the freezing cold, crushed by the thoughtless girls who decided pushing was the only way to reach the front of the queue. We hadn't even got inside yet!! Many of the smaller Welsh girls who were against the security barrier had to be pulled out, as one or two nearly collapsed. Arguments between those dedicated fans who waited for hours and those who had pushed in took hold and by 6:00 p.m. we were ready to rip each others' hair out!! Some fans were taken into a small area in front of the main doors to avoid any more injury. At 7:15 p.m. the doors were opened and small groups of fans were let in. However, the rush of fans who tried to get in meant that the security men couldn't even rip our ticket stubs off !! Once inside building we were let into the actual concert hall gradually so that we didn't get hurt. Everyone ran to the middle of the barrier thinking that they would get the best view from the centre. I did a quick scan of the stage and spotted the metal barrier glinting under a bright spotlight.

"Over there !", I cried, pointing to the side of the stage. We ran to the barrier and flung ourselves against it, finally realising that we were there, AT THE FRONT!!! We waited impatiently through the support acts, Montage and Personelle, before the moment came when the lights went down and " I WANNA BE WITH YOU " blasted from the speakers. Bright lights whirled across the stage before a thick, black curtain fell and the BSB's were there, right in front of us. Camera flashes flashed and 1,500 teenage girls screamed as their fave boys danced on stage. I was absolutely ecstatic when I realised just how close we were to BSB. I was so happy throughout the show that I can't even remember the song order !! But what I can tell you is that they sang " ANYWHERE FOR YOU ", " QUIT PLAYIN' GAMES", " GET DOWN", "LETS HAVE A PARTY", "I'LL NEVER BREAK YOUR HEART", "NOBODY BUT YOU" and "WE'VE GOT IT GOIN' ON". But that wasn't all ! The lads also sang some songs by other artists that they admired. A.J sang Mark Morrison's " RETURN OF THE MACK". Nick sang " OPEN ARMS " by Mariah Carey, whilst every girl in the place either cried their eyes out or clutched the various teddies, stage bound for the boys. Howie did a rather good version of " THE MOST BEAUTIFUL GIRL IN THE WORLD " by the artist formerly known as Prince. Brian made every Ex- Take That fan (including me) drop their heads and sob during his performance of "HOW DEEP IS YOUR LOVE ". Nick and Kevin finished off these cover songs by performing " DON'T LET THE SUN GO DOWN ON ME " by George Michael and Elton John, with Kevin doing very well on the keyboard and with Nick going mental on the drums. Members of the crowd seemed to stop and nudge each other as they realised that this up-and-coming new group were more than just another boy band. They could sing, dance AND they could play instruments as well !! We were suitably impressed with their fab performance. All too soon the show finished and the Backstreet Boys were gone, whisked off in their bus into the dark night. The show had been a raging success and I was left tired and happy, knowing that I still had two more shows to come and some cool photos from the best seats in the house !!

Written and endured by Sara Watson, England.

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