Thursday night 98° kicked off their anniversary tour at the Premier Theater at Foxwoods Casino. There was also the Wahlburgers grand opening on the other side of the casino so we thought it might have been a pretty boyband heavy night. Except the boyband centric person we bumped into was actually Johnny Wright, *NSYNC’s manager. I’m not sure we were expecting that! (We didn’t chat long and didn’t get any info out of him, so please don’t ask lol)
All-4-One opened the night and had all 4 members! (back in March I only saw 3 of them) They basically did the same set they did back in March but with much less talking in between songs.
Then it was time for 98°! The first part of the show they seemed to be a little off, they didn’t have command of the crowd (almost everyone was sitting) and things just seemed off. I think they may have not had enough rehearsal time but it was giving off “Dads called on stage to make a boyband at the talent show” vibes. Fortunately, about midway through their divas medley things seemed to click a bit more and the rest of the show (where it was more stuff they had done before) was a lot better. They did several medleys – they opened with their “Opening Medley” then the y did a “Divas medley” and an “acoustic medley” and a “TRL medley”. The TRL Medley was probably my favorite and it was definitely Tearin’ Up My Heart that got the most crowd response.
They also had this big screen behind them that was playing different scenic videos and photos of the guys throughout the set that was weird. I also enjoyed how much Drew was making fun of Nick. Before the Divas medley Nick asked what was a diva and Drew pointed to Nick! And then Nick made a comment about recording a music video but it was about the wrong song (which the London Bridge was behind them on the screen for the song before, but they all had their backs to it) and then Drew brought it up again later to mock him to which Nick said “I made a mistake.” I don’t think he’ll be making that mistake again, but I’m sure Drew will keep bringing it up for a while because that’s what brothers do.
After the show we lingered a bit and played on the slot machine and I ended up winning $20. Throw that in the *NSYNC reunion savings bucket…
I live about 10 minutes from the PEZ Factor & Visitor’s Center but have yet to visit it in my 10+ years of living here. After a local radio station gave me free admission for my birthday this year, we decided to check it out on Friday. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors and children 3-12. With your admission you get a PEZ lanyard that holds your ticket (super cute!) and $2 to the store for any merchandise purchase on the day of your visit. (A pack of a fun PEZ flavor is $1.99) Each month they also do an activity that if completed wins you a free PEZ dispenser and there are also trivia computers where you’ll get a certificate once you complete it.
The tour is self guided though there are some stickers on the floor to guide you and the brochure give to you when you enter also has a suggestion for how to do your tour. There are windows opened to the PEZ packaging and production area so if you go during the week you’ll get to see stuff going on, but they are not working on the weekends. Honestly, that area of the tour was not quite as exciting as I was expecting so if you’re only available to go during the weekend I wouldn’t worry too much about missing out. There are some other displays upstairs and there are stairs or an elevator (I’m sorry, Ela-Vader) to access that area. There also is a spot where you can do a photo op to put your head on the PEZ dispenser. (We didn’t end up doing this)
Our activity to win a PEZ dispenser was a scavenger hunt, you had to find hidden in all the displays each of the 7 dwarfs. Once you found them, it told you what letter to put on the card and when you exited you handed it in to get you dispenser. We got I believe a fox? They show at the ticket booth what the prize is when you’re buying your tickets. We actually struggled to find the last 2 dwarfs, even though we had already figured out what the phrase they would spell out was.
Overall it took us about an hour to check out all the displays, solve the scavenger hunt and shop. They also have a bucket of pez available for I think $7 though the flavors they had didn’t really appeal to me so I didn’t get it, even though I wanted to. The price of admission is pretty low considering all that you end up getting out of it. I’d definitely recommend visiting and I wouldn’t mind going again.
Last year my brother was telling me about this fun baseball team in Savannah, GA called the Savannah Bananas. He wanted to go and see them but was having trouble being able to get tickets to see them so I was recruited to try and help. We had no luck getting tickets to any of their games in GA but then they announced in 2023 they’d be going on a tour and they’d be making a stop in Hartford. I signed up for tickets immediately and they were going to do some sort of lottery from their wait list. But in December, my work sent out an email to “Go Bananas” and get tickets to the game so of course I wasted no time signing up and grabbing tickets! In June, I was told that I wasn’t even going to have a shot at the tickets going on sale to the public and honestly I am not even sure any tickets did go on sale to the public. Everyone keeps asking how I got the tickets and I don’t have any real trick to it, just got lucky my work did a group thing.
Finally the day of the game came! The email mentioned when gates would open and when people typically started lining up. We got there at 4:30 and were told the seats would open at 5:30 and there was a line that had started at *9am* which was absolutely not what the email had said! Fortunately they were very accommodating for those with mobility issues and told us to wait in a different area and we’d get to snag seats at the top of the concourse a little before the general public was going to be released. I thought for sure we’d witness a stampede once everyone was let in, but the team went to the line and celebrated the opening of the seats and everyone made their way in pretty orderly.
Banana Ball is a bit different than your regular baseball game… before the game started they “Simba’d” a 10 day old baby, had a young girl eat a banana and say whether or not it was good or rotten, and instead of first pitch a grown man had to crawl around blindfolded to find a golden banana and throw that to the catcher. Music is playing constantly, little clips in between at bat songs and there are no such thing as walks. Because it is not your typical baseball game, they can’t exactly play against any other team, so a 2nd team, The Party Animals, are their opponent. Now the Party Animals live up to their name and they were dancing outside the dug out for most of the game. It essentially was if boybands played baseball and I loved it. I’m not sure if I can go to a regular baseball game again and I hope that when they tour next year my work does something again so I can snag tickets!
In Banana Ball, whoever scores the most runs each inning gets a point for that inning, unless it is the 9th (or last) inning in which all runs count as a point. The game has a timer going from the start that it won’t go over 2 hours, and it doesn’t even stop for the in between inning games. At the end of the Hartford game, the Bananas came back to tie things so they had to go into a tie breaker. The Bananas ended up walking it off and winning 5-4 scoring 7 runs to the Party Animals 6. Because the games are timed, a stat that you’ll see for the pitchers is minutes per inning and the bottom of the inning ends as soon as the home team scores enough runs to give them the point.
After the game they announced that we could go down to the field and meet the players, but expecting it would be total chaos, we opted to try and get out of the parking lot quicker instead. I’m not sure this review does the game justice since I wrote it so long after we had attended, but if you have the opportunity to see the Savannah Bananas and are a baseball fan I think you should take it. It’s fast paced and a ton of fun!
Initially the Jonas Brothers announced their show at Yankee Stadium as a special one night only show where they’d play all the songs from all their albums (after they had recently done a residency playing them all over 5 nights on Broadway). Inevitably the “one night only” became “two nights only” when there was such demand – but I am not sure anyone was expecting them to then announce an entire tour doing the same damn thing. Tickets were up for sale left and right because why would you travel all the way to New York if you weren’t local? But we stuck with our plan to go and the jury is still out on whether or not we will end up at Mohegan Sun in a couple days to see it again.
When we arrived we were just outside Gate 4. I overheard some other girls saying more tickets had just been released and when I checked they were front row ADA tickets. So I thought about it for a second, told my friend I put them in my cart and was going to do it, and she said OK. We then found out that we needed to enter via Gate 8 and had to go all around the stadium. This was our fault, we parked where we parked and our original tickets were somewhere between Gate 4 and Gate 2. However, what happened from there was absolutely the fault of the stadium and absolute miscommunication with their staff and a total lack of signage. We got to Gate 8 which had a very long line and we were then told that there was actually an accessible entrance. We went in and were given 2 wristbands for the floor – one because we were on the floor and one because we were in the front row. And then… no one was available to help us again. Upon entry into the doors there were stairs, so we went to the elevator. A whole bunch were taken in before us and we waited a bit only for no one to return, so we took the elevator up ourselves. We were told “no more stairs” and were on the main concourse – but there WERE more stairs to get to the field and we had no idea where to go. We asked an usher at the top of the section who ended up calling over another guy who told us to go to the Hard Rock, show them our floor wristband and they’d let us down. We got to the Hard Rock only to be told that the elevator was broken (there was a private event going on so whether it was broken or they just weren’t allowing us to go in there, I’m not sure.) and we had to go to – GATE 4! The walk from Gate 4 to 8 was ridiculous enough the first time, I was not about to do it again. Then everyone else we asked if there was a closer elevator told us something different. We got taken to an elevator by someone that didn’t even have a down button. I know generally for baseball games no one is actually going on the field – but Yankee Stadium just had a concert the night before! We also ended up being told Gate 2 would get us down, but that was even further away from Gate 4. Knowing that there was no way I could walk that far again, I had my friend carry my walker down the stairs and I slowly went down behind her. Success. We made it to the field. No thanks to anyone else.
Security had no idea what any of the seats were and there appeared to be no ushers. When they did come, they gave us seats that didn’t match what I had purchased on the seating chart, so I showed them what I bought and they moved us to where I thought our seats were supposed to be – but then they said if someone else showed up with higher seat numbers we’d need to move. I mean, fine with me, I bought the aisle seats 15 and 16 so I’m not sure how anyone is going to appear with a larger number! When the opener took the stage, one of the security guys inside the barricade made one of the security guards outside the barricade to move so I could still see, which I thought was really nice. Unfortunately, by the time Jonas took the stage, it was a whole different story.
Next to the catwalk there were 2 chairs, then a very too large aisle, and then our seats. Well, as soon as the guys popped up from the catwalk, people started flooding into the aisles and onto the barricade and on top of me. I ended up standing up at the barricade because it was either sit and have everyone on top of me and see nothing or stand and hold on to the barricade and hopefully be able to see something. Finally, like 5 songs in, security decided the aisle needed to be clear which just made everyone try to fill in behind me. The rest of the night it became a bunch of back and forth with security telling girls to leave, other girls coming in or the same girls just moving in and out of different spots once security pushed them back. At one time I was told I needed to be off the barricade – but that wasn’t happening as I can’t “free stand” and was not about to sit and have everyone on top of me, that would be a panic attack waiting to happen. Fortunately he didn’t seem to come back and push the issue. Security inside the barricade kept making sure I could still see – but I really wanted to be SITTING and able to see as I bought an accessible seat because I can’t stand for extended periods of time.
As for the setlist, they seemed to be going somewhat chronologically with the older albums, with the newer tracks mixed in. They also seemed to think that Jack was their original “OG” drummer, but I beg to differ. Then again, It’s About Time wasn’t included at all. The end of the first half of the show came with Burnin’ Up, and special guest, BIG ROB! (They also did pretty much everything but “Don’t Charge Me For the Crime”)
Then the screens that were on top of the stage moved down and there started to be a slight drizzle. At first, it was nice since it was so hot, but as the drops started to intensify we put our ponchos on. I don’t even know how many people asked where we bought them. Mine? A Walmart in Atlanta before a Hanson concert. It ended up absolutely POURING and my shoes ended up soaked. I didn’t think to try and poncho them as well until it was too late. Then the 5 minute count down came up on the screen and the rain slowed up. By the time the guys came back out on stage for part 2, the rain had all but stopped. It was at intermission we found out one of the girls who was next to us (who was trying really hard to help us out and keep people off of me) was bleeding because the girls during the first set were SO freaking vicious. Why can’t everyone just stay in their spot!? Why can’t everyone act like decent human beings?!
There seemed to be less crowding during the second set of the show – save for a couple of drunk girls who at one point were actually STANDING ON TOP OF ME. Her foot was ON my foot. This happened more than once. Security would tell them they couldn’t be in the middle and they’d squeeze back on top of me, then security would walk away and they’d move back and it was just again, back and forth the whole show. One of them was dancing with security so I don’t know if she actually knew him or if she just made a new friend – as I swear I overheard her asking one of the other security guards if she could do something inappropriate to him and he politely declined.
Since I was in my poncho I was going to try and just take less photos as it was a bit harder to make it work, but then the guys had changed their outfits so I had to take some to document it. We also got another set of special guests when Kirk Franklin and Jon Bellion joined the guys on stage as well as a choir for Walls. The teaser article had said something was going to happen during intermission and the guys wouldn’t be on stage for it – so I believe our special guest was actually rain. (The following night Jimmy Fallon came out to lead the crowd in a sing a long)
During Strangers after they sang, “I just saw the lightning strike” one of them (Joe?) said “HOPE NOT!” because that would have gotten the show shut down. (And I have NO idea how/where we would have taken cover in the event of that happening either) And just before Turn Right Joe had everyone doing the wave and Nick didn’t seem to pleased because he wanted to say something that was important!
The second set seemed to go on for a really long time so when the guys decided they were going to sit at the end of the catwalk, I decided to sit as well. Somehow this seemed to alert security and I got asked by at least 3 of them if I was ok. I mean, yeah, but I’d have been better if I could have been sitting the whole time! One came over and told me to just turn my chair around so I could see the catwalk, but I was fine just watching the screens for the last handful of songs.
When it was time to leave, we made our way to Gate 4, since that was where we had parked. That elevator was in fact working and they had us walk along the edge of the field and past the dug out and into some sort of restaurant before we made our way up and out and came out just where we needed to be. (Finally, something worked in our favor)
Now I am off to figure out all the ways the stadium violated the ADA and to formally make a complaint.