When I told my pal Lamanda the other day I was going to see the Backstreet Boys she go the oddest look on her face. It was a cross between jealousy and hate. Lowering her head slightly she said, “I wanted to go to that show”. “Come on,” I said. I was pretty sure we could find her a ticket. “No,” she said. “I’ve got to save my money for my wedding next month,” I then suggested that could be her bachelorette party. I saw the wheels grinding in her head for a second. “Nah, I better not. But tell me all about it when you get back.”
I feel pressure now to report on this show because I don’t want to short change my pal. We met almost a year ago through business and became quick friends talking about music and pop culture. When I went to see NKOTB last month she already went to the show in Nashville and told me what to expect. That was my second NKOTB show (I was there on business – honest – just like I was here at Backstreet Boys). Lamanda is the ideal music fan. She buys her own tickets, doesn’t try to scam her way in, ends up at the merch table. She’s a genuine fan of the artist she goes and sees – a rarity.
Last time I spoke about coming to an understanding an appreciation of the boy band genre thing. And so it continues. My history with boy bands was not very good. A long, long time ago when this stuff was at its peak I had just broken up with my girlfriend. To top that the next week I was not approved for a photo credential for some hot alternative band I really wanted to shoot. The publicist called me and said, “I’m sorry Dave, I couldn’t get you approved. Would you like to go down to Birmingham and shoot NSYNC instead?” “Hell, no,” I said. Boy, I was a fool for that. And like I said, I can’t even remember the name of the band I was denied; yet we all know the members (or former) of NSYNC.
NKOTB was my introduction to the genre in its most current form and I remember sitting at Brainerd Beach Club watching the music video on the wall and kind of getting into it. (Yep, I am a little embarrassed). I always thought they were the biggest of all these bans until I watched a video of the most popular boy bands and they barely made the top five. Who was number one? The Backstreet Boys. I was a little shocked. I figured if it wasn’t NKOTB it might have been NSYNC because of the chosen one, Justin Timberlake. Once I looked at the charting singles for the Backstreet Boys I understood. Being a tried and true rock and roll guy I was surprised (and slightly embarrassed) by the number of song titles I recognized. And while it seemed as if they’ve been around forever (almost 25) a couple of the guys to my surprise were still in their 30s.
While technically “men” now the “Boys” have not lost a step. On the DNA Tour, in support of their newest album released earlier this year it was part music, part harmony and a lot of synchronized choreography. For a bunch of white boys they sure can move well.
The show was pure synchronicity as they shared vocals between all five members – A.J., Nick, Howie, Kevin and Brian. The staging setup was reminiscent of something you would see in Vegas here in the dirty south. The mega large video screens, light and flash was enough to cause a seizure add to that a 32-song setlist you had an already giddy crowd going bonkers. And while on tour promoting DNA they touched on all albums dating back to 1996 with “I’ll Never Break Your Heart” to the song I think as their theme song, “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”, “I Want It That Way” off of Millennium, their first number one album and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” from DNA, which by the way is the group’s third number one album.
With all the flash and panache the underlying aspect of the show that might get overlooked by many – myself included is the talented vocals and impressive harmonies. Sure the synchronized moves were all there but like I said about NKOTB, if you break it all down there is true musical talent there and unlike a majority of today’s hit makers there is no use – or for that matter no need for any Autotune.
It was a great show, something BSB have never been accused of doing anything bust. I just wish my pal Lamanda was here to enjoy it as well. I guess she’ll have to live vicariously through me – at least for this show.
Backstreet Boys Setlist:
I Wanna Be With You
Don’t Want You Back
Get Down (You’re the One for Me)
Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely
More Than That
The Way It Was
Shape of My Heart
Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)
As Long as You Love Me
Happy Birthday to You (Mildred J. Hill & Patty Hill cover) (Sung to Howie)
Don’t Wanna Lose You Now
I’ll Never Break Your Heart
All I Have to Give (Conversation Mix)
All I Have to Give
Backstreet Boys DNA Tour Remix
Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)
We’ve Got It Goin’ On
It’s Gotta Be You
That’s the Way I Like It
Get Another Boyfriend
I Want It That Way
Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Larger Than Life
– Dave Weinthal