On November 5, 2002, Lisa from O-TFP, Lisa's friend Kristina and I (Erika from O-TFP) headed out to the O-Town listening party at the Hard Rock Cafe in Chicago at about 1:00pm. Once we arrived, we saw a lot of people outside waiting to get in. There were only about 200 or so passes given out to radio winners, Street Team winners, and people who were lucky enough to get a pass when preordering the O2 CD the week before. But the first 100 fans outside also had the chance to get in. Anyway, we went in and got our passes because Lisa was lucky enough to score some from the local radio station. We hung out inside for about an hour or so and no one seemed to care that we were just walking around inside so we stayed towards the front so that we could get a good view of the stage. Once they started letting people in from outside, we headed straight to the front and center! Luckily we didn't have to wait long for the guys to arrive. The DJ from the radio station who was hosting the event came out and hyped up the crowd. We then see the guys upstairs as they arrived. We thought they would be coming to the stage from some upper stairway down to the stage but luckily, I was wrong! They actually all came down one by one and walked right in front of me! (Well, not only me but in front of the front row!)
The DJ got the crowd going and introduced the first member which was Dan. The spot we picked to stand was great because as Dan came out, he had to pass us and I got to shake his hand before he went up onstage. Dan introduced the first song which was "These Are The Days". Before the song, Dan kinda talks about how the song came together, who wrote it and the story behind it. He sat down on the stool as we listened to the track. He just watched the crowd, waving at fans, and singing along to the song. Once the song finished, the next person to be introduced was Trevor. Him being my favorite, I was very excited and got ready to be able to touch him as he walked by. But NOOOO! Trevor had to do some sliding entrance right onto the stage! He just ran to the stage and dove! He then introduces the next song which was "Suddenly". While it was playing, he also sat down and waved to fans. And I caught his attention and waved to him and he waved back. Ok so that made me happy. lol. He was acting goofy as usual by singing and dancing to the track and flirting with the little girl on the side of the stage. Next in line was Erik. When he came out, he gave hugs to almost everyone on the front row! Did I get one? I sure did! And my other friend Lisa got one too and we were just like OMG. lol. He introduced "From the Damage" and did the same thing Dan and Trevor did with the song by telling us who wrote it and a little bit about the song itself. Ashley was next. He seemed to have some extra security when he came out but he was still able to reach out to a few fans so I got a quick handshake from him. He got onstage and introduced "The Joint". Jacob was the last one to come out. We got a nice look at his new wedding ring! Jacob just seemed so much happier now that he is married! I got my handshake from him as went to the stage. He then intorduced "Craving".
The guys were in such a great mood. They interacted with the fans as much as they could from where they were sitting by waving, winking, pointing, etc. The next stage of the party was selecting the 5 random video tapes brought in by fans for the contest they were holding in connection with Hard Rock Cafe. Each O-Town member picked a tape from the bag and called out the name of the person who it belonged to. Each of the girls (6 total because one tape was for 2 girls auditioning together.) did their song or dance. The girl who was chosen did an original rap and her name is Andrea. I kept trying to beg the guard to let me sing but ok no I didn't bring a tape because I didn't have access to a video camera. But they ranndomly picked out the tapes anyway so I may or may not have had a chance. But I was still begging to go up and sing but it wasn't fair you know since I didn't even bring a tape! But I had fun trying cuz the guard was being so cool with me. After that portion was done, the guys had to head to the table set up for the meet n greet. They each left the stage and came down to say hi to the fans. I got another quick handshake/hello from each of the guys. When I touched Ashley's hand, he just smiled and started to walk away. Then he turned back at me and was like "HEY!" as though he remembered me. Hey, it's possible! lol. He just looked at me for a few seconds holding my hand but had to keep moving to get to the m&g. All of the guys were so nice to come and see the fans by the stage.
But it was time for the m&g. We had to wait for a little while because there was no real line formed. It was just kinda messy! But we finally got our turn to go. First was Dan. Dan likes to be first! 3 out of 4 O-Town meet n greets I have been to, Dan was first! But anyway, he asked me my name and I said Erika (of course!) and he then asked if I was liking the new music. I said yes then I had to throw in "It's about time!" Then I let him know that I was just kidding! But he said "No no you're right it IS about time!" I then took a picture of him and it was time to move to Ashley. Ashley was looking mighty good that day. He said hi and then I said do you remember me? (Cuz remember I said earlier in this story that he looked like he might have.) So he was like yeah and he gets up and gives me a kiss! OMG! I was talking in his ear as he kissed me so I really thought he was just going to talk back to me in my ear but he kissed me on the cheek and I was like "HUH?" lol. Then I told him that I wished I could have made a video but didn't have the chance to but he said I should have. He remembered that I was part of O-TFP and I mentionted that I spoke to their manager earlier in the day and I asked him why Mike Morin was never on the road with them anymore and he said he just kinda does business from his office. So then I just took his pic and had to move on because everyone was being rushed.
Next was Erik. I felt really rushed with him because my friends who were before me were like done and I was only on the 3rd member. So I told Erik, "hey did you know I have a website for you?" He was like "Um YEAH!" And I said, "And you know my name is Erika with a "K" in it right?" (I was just playing around with him cuz I like to be funny like that) Then he goes "Yeah I know the story!" See, everytime I meet him, I don't know why but we always talk about how my name is Erika with a K in it just like ERIK. I guess it's just our little thing we have. lol. Again, I was being extremely rushed so I had to go on to Jacob but first I snapped a quick pic of Erik. When I saw Jacob, I really didn't know what to say! So I just said "Congratulations!" Of course he knew I was talking about his marriage because I am sure everyone was saying that to him! He said thank you and I held up my left hand to show my wedding ring and said I was married too. He said, "Wow, really? How long have you been married?" I told him for awhile now and he was said that it was really cool! I told him yeah it's a pretty good thing. But I had to move on but of course I snapped a pic of him before I moved on to Trevor. We exchanged hellos and I asked him if he has been to our website lately. I was messing with him and I pretended I was him by saying "Um no." He starts to laugh and said, "I don't have a computer! But you know what? My new years resolution is to get one and get online and check it out." So I said, "yeah ok...you do that!" At this point security was like OK GOTTA MOVE IT so I took Trevor's picture and as I walked away, he leans over the table and starts to rub on my leg saying, "Thanks for coming." I looked at him weird because I was already walking away and all of a sudden he grabs my leg! But it was ALL good!!!
Nothing much happened after the m&g but we hung out talking to other friends and just tried to take more pictures of them. It was nice just to stand there and look at them! The rest of the CD was being played throughout the m&g so we got a chance to listen to even more material. So that's basically our story. Not a long one but it was a great day nonetheless. For pictures, please clcik HERE