I didn't anticipate the star power of what I experienced backstage at the Melbourne leg of R&B Fridays, Australia's version of ZM's Friday Jams Live.
Or didn't experience in some cases. Because when the touring circus rolled into Marvel Stadium, superstar headliner Janet Jackson remained elusive. The only time I caught a glimpse of her was during her performance.
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Joining her on the bill was rap star 50 Cent, who myself and Hits radio host Brodie Kane spotted marching to the stage flanked by security and his entourage. The diamonds he wore around his neck confirmed his rock star status.
A closer encounter stuck with me most — when we had a friendly chat with Black Eyed Peas main man will.i.am in the hallway. He insisted I try on his glasses and made fun of how huge they looked on my small head. At that moment I knew I would probably never wear eyewear worth that much in my life again.
A few years have passed since the heyday of some of the acts on the bill, but that's the selling point — to give fans a chance to dance one more time to those anthems they loved as teenagers.
Born at the tail end of the 90s, I missed the boat when most of these artists — Janet Jackson, Brandy, Sisqo and more — were topping the charts.
But that didn't stop me from thoroughly enjoying the show.
The atmosphere was electric and fans were enthusiastic, dancing and feeding off the performers' energy.
J-Kwon was first up and he had a great stage presence, adding to his hit Tipsy with an homage to his hometown of St Louis by covering Nelly's Hot In Here.
Sisqo was next, celebrating his 41st birthday in style by performing Thong Song to a new generation of listeners.
50 Cent was flanked by two inflatable champagne bottles as he raced through his hits. He was there to get fans dancing and had the crowd screaming back lyrics to his songs. He took everyone back to a house party with his hit Candy Shop.
Backstage was a show of its own. Keri Hilson raced past us on a golf cart and, eventually, I was led to a makeshift media room to conduct interviews with the stars. We managed to nab most of the artists for quick chats after their sets. Hilson and Brandy were among those I talked to.
Sporting a matching burgundy sweatshirt and sweatpants, the impossibly flawless Hilson gave everyone a hug and took her time to answer questions, giving smart and insightful answers. The Pretty Girl Rock singer was easily one of the nicest stars on the night.
Brandy, who shot to fame with her 1998 duet with Monica, The Boy Is Mine, had everyone in awe. The singer seemed like she was dipped in rainbow glitter, with a perfect gradient across her eyelids. She had a calming energy about her, seemingly floating through the room and was lovely to everyone. Apparently her get-up was a product of great styling, but her personality seemed 100 per cent hers.
By this point, the stadium had filled up and I got a better view of the demographic: Mostly young people in their early to mid-20s who were there to party, drinking happily and dancing manically.
Jason Derulo took the stage and showed off his abs, flaunting his ripped body and leaving the crowd hyped for the rest of the night. It was just in time for The Black Eyed Peas show, which was the best and most entertaining set of the evening.
It was hit after hit and the crowd lapped up every minute. The singalongs were loud and each song took me back to blasting songs like I Gotta Feeling when I was 12 years old. Their emotional rendition of Where is the Love? was a highlight and left me with the opinion that new vocalist Jessica Reynoso was more than capable of continuing their longevity in Fergie's absence.
Despite being fashionably late, Janet Jackson didn't disappoint. Her striking and dazzling musical set was all class. Visually, her stage set was impressive too.
It might be my age, but I felt more satisfied reliving my SingStar days rocking out to The Black Eyed Peas.
If you're heading to Western Springs on Sunday, get set for a party filled with nostalgic hits and superstar acts. And don't forget your dancing shoes.
ZM'S FRIDAY JAMS LIVE: ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
WHEN: Sunday, November 17
WHERE: Western Springs Stadium
THE LINE-UP: Janet Jackson, The Black Eyed Peas, 50 Cent, Jason Derulo, Keri Hilson, Brandy, Sisqo, Scribe, Savage, J-Kwon.
HOSTED BY: Fatman Scoop plus DJ Horizon.
SET TIMES: Available on zmonline.com
GATES OPEN: 3pm
WHAT YOU CAN BRING IN: Small personal cameras are allowed, as well as small amounts of prepared food. You can bring a clear, empty plastic water bottle without a lid.
LEAVE AT HOME: Umbrellas aren't allowed, neither are iPads or other tablets or metal cutlery. For a full list of prohibited and permitted items, check out aucklandstadiums.co.nz
TRANSPORT AND PARKING: If you're heading to the show, it might be best to leave the car at home because of multiple road closures and parking restrictions surrounding the venue. Travel on NX1/2 and special event buses are included with your ticket, so save it for the ride home.