Oh, to be 13 and in love.

They came to RFK Stadium last night by the vanloads, thousands of them, in perfect white Keds, freckles and pink frosted lipstick, tightly clutching posters they had spent all day making. Posters that read: I Love You Joe. I Love You Jordan. I Love You Jon. I Love You Danny. I Love You Donnie. Or, the collective version, I Love You New Kids. They came bearing gifts, like plush teddy bears and drooping long-stemmed red roses.

"They had red carnations," said 12-year-old Angie Crum, of Walkersville, Md., "but we wanted roses."

"Roses are the best," said her friend Stacey Smith, 13, "and we want the best for the best."

Angie, Stacey and her 11-year-old sister, Shanna, and Karla Davis tried to take their roses up to the stage before the show, but the guards wouldn't let them on the field. They were determined, though, and said they'd try again. Angie's pink heart-shaped card read in her own sweet scribble, "Joe, you are my favorite. If you get this, will you send me an autographed picture? Love, Angie."

But mostly, the 55,000 girls came to scream. They screamed when Tommy Payne, the opening act, came on, so loud it could be heard five blocks away. They screamed whenever a singer from Perfect Gentleman, the next act, jumped closer to the front of the stage and spun around a` la Michael Jackson. They screamed when the house lights were all on and the roadies were still moving equipment around.

"Oh my God! There's one of them!" gasped one preteen, pointing to a stagehand.

And when the New Kids on the Block -- Boston's version of the Jackson Five -- finally hit the stage, at 9:20 p.m., they screamed so loud and so high it made every hair on your skin stand on end.

Do you know why they screamed so loud? "Because," squealed Jennifer Smith, 10 1/2, "we love them."

There are the brothers Jordan and Jon Knight : "{Jordan's} the cutest, I think," said Andrea Crabens, 11, of West Virginia. But her stepsister, Andrea sighed, likes Jon.

There's Donnie Wahlberg: "I worship Donnie," said Lisa Arnaiz, 14, of Gaithersburg. "Donnie's definitely the coolest-looking. My room is plastered -- two walls of posters of Donnie."

There's the group heartthrob and baby, Joe McIntyre: "He's cute," said Krissy Fisher, 8, biting her bottom lip with her only front tooth. "I like Joe 100 percent," said Cheryl Miller, 10, also of Walkersville, Md. Cheryl's boyfriend knows about her crush on Joe, and she says he's not jealous.

And there's Danny Wood. "Donnie, he's the hottest, but Danny is really cool," said Tracy Miller, 15, of Severna Park. "He's really outspoken, and he's a good dancer."

When Jordan sang the ballad "Valentine Girl" ever so sweetly, one adolescent female clutched her long blond hair, fell down on her knees, shrieked and began to sob. When Joe pulled up his T-shirt to his armpits, baring his lily-white chest, the stadium walls began to rattle. Girls jumped up and down on their seats and screamed, yes, even louder.

But, mind you, they didn't only scream. They danced in unison, just like the fivesome. They swayed in unison, just like the fivesome. And they sang with as much passion as one can have before reaching 16.

"My baby girl, ooooh, my baby girl ... "

"I figured I'm the only groupie here {past puberty}," said 21-year-old Trudie Finley, of Greenbelt. She took her cousin to see the New Kids last January. "That's how I got hooked. I have a crush on all of them. I'm a total junkie.

"When I was a little kid, Donny Osmond was it," she said, looking skyward and smiling. "I never had a Donny Osmond nightgown, but I have a New Kids one." This time she left her cousin at home.

There were lots of parents milling around on the concourse, some with cotton stuffed in their ears. "What time was this supposed to end?" asked one, looking at her watch.

Never. The 12th of Never.