8/15/86-8/19/86…Puerto Rico Trip #1

"The Girls" at O'Hare Airport before we boarded flight for our first trip to Puerto Rico.

“The Girls” at O’Hare Airport before we boarded the flight for our first trip to Puerto Rico.

In 1986, the Menudo experience became heightened by the opening of Five Guys.  This was a store dealing only in Menudo merchandise.  Not only was it a great addition to Chicago as far as the fans were concerned, but it became the key to my friends & I going to Puerto Rico for the first time.  For us, that was our fantasy come true.  The owners of the store put together and semi-chaperoned a 4 day (what turned into a 5 day) trip to Puerto Rico.  The trip included travel & hotel, two Menudo concerts, & two private events with the band.  So basically, we were going to both see them in concert and MEET them.  WHOA!!  This was just beyond all of our expectations and would be a first for all of us.  My friends and I all begged our parents to let us go.  Mind you we were 15 & 16-year-old girls, so there were  definitely some concerns about letting us go.  But with a lot of tears, pleas, & promises of being good girls, most of them finally gave in.  We saw our first concert from fourth row seats at one of the most famous venues in Puerto Rico, El Centro de Bellas Artes, the second night we were there.

Menudo @ Centro de Bellas Artes 8/16/86

Menudo @ Centro de Bellas Artes 8/16/86

Since Puerto Rico is such a small island, most of the people involved with Menudo (including friends, family, & business associates) all know each other.  So the security is usually very lax at their concerts here.  So lax in fact, that after the concert my friend Marcie and I casually hopped up on stage, took a walk around to view the stage set-up, and then just moseyed down the hall until we found the hallway & dressing room of the guys.  Luckily we ran into the dad of one of the members (Robby) who remembered us from a couple of months prior when we had met him at Five Guys for an appearance.  When questioned by one of the group (Sergio) who we knew back there, Robby’s dad jumped in and said, “They’re with me.”  Phew.  What a lifesaver.  We honestly couldn’t even believe we had made it back there without anybody stopping us.  CRAZY!!

We saw a second concert the next afternoon where we got to sit in the pit.  These were primo seats, right in front of the stage.  This show proved to be even more amazing.

The next day we got to enjoy a private party & concert held by the guys.  It was extremely informal as you can see in the photos and the video.

The video included of Charlie & Robby singing “Come Home” was not shot by  me or my friends, but somehow I got a copy of it.  At around the 1:50 mark when the camera pans down you can actually see the back of my head:

My friends and I managed to snag seats literally right in front of where they were performing.  And I was in heaven sitting right in front of my love, Charlie.  We fell in love with the island and made many new friends.  Some of these new friends were from Puerto Rico and some of them were also visiting the island for the same reasons we were.  This trip overall was a dream come true and one that would spark two consecutive follow-up trips to the island.



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