By Jarred Tito
Artist: Backstreet Boys
Date / Venue: Tuesday May 12th, Vector Arena, Auckland
I have never experienced the volume of sceaming and shouting of the likes in all of my life as I did at this concert. My mind was immediately take back to that famous concert with the Beatles when the fans were so loud that the band couldn't be heard. Backstreet Boys are back and I can assure you that they are bigger, better and badass as than I could ever remember them being.
The lights go out in the Vector Arena and the crowd immediately lights up with cheers of sacred anticipation, as they eagerly anticipate the arrival of their teenage idols. The sultry sound of a by gone James Bond 007 track further stirs the crowd to with breaking point, as photos of the band profile illuminate the giant stadium screens. We see portraits of AJ McLean, Kevin Richardson, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell and the baby of the bunch Nick Carter go wizzing past and with each face new screams of delight are heard from the many female fans. I swear I was surrounded by idolising BSB girl fans. That was confirmed later when there was a screem off competition between the males and the females. The guys did get anywhere near the girls. The ratio was 10 to 1 at least. Oh my poor ears! Then BAM! The stage lights came up and there they were The Backstreet Boys back on the stage. The screams turned to shrills of hysteria like you wouldn't believe which was a show almost all on its own.
They are bigger and brighter and all grown up but they are still the same five guys. With the benefit of modern sound systems they are able to sing over the screaming fans and for the first time in twenty years we experience the silky smooth harmonies of the Backstreet Boys as I live and breath.
They start with ‘The Call', which sends the masses over the top with excitement. Everyone seems to know the lyrics and begins to sing along. By this stage I'm so excited and caught up in the moment even I begin to sing along and I don't even know the words!! Then I notice the dance sequences and amazed at how these forty plus year old are still able to mix it up on the floor. They are perfectly synchronised with the music and with each other. They are moving like they were still in their twenties. It's at this stage that Nick, the girls favourite, addresses the crowds. He's quite a polished and comical entertainer. He lays out the Backstreet Boys three concert rules which are firstly, when at this concert you must scream as loud as you possibly can. Like the audience needed any more encouragement. Secondly, behave like you are fifteen years old again. Good move. And thirdly, what happens at a Backstreet Boys concert stays at a Backstreet Boys concert. Good call Nick because that bit of advice worked its magic right throught the whole night.
‘Don't Want You Back' is the next song on the list followed by ‘Incomplete'. Song after song and hit after hit. What equally impressed me was their personal touch and connection with the audience. Each member had a moment with the fans talking to them about various subjects including nostalgia and current day events which included being fathers. Each member had his own particular flavour which added to the wider appeal of the group. AJ is the bad boy, Kevin the serious one, Nick the rock n roller, Howie the latino and Brian the playful who I'm told is secretly the girls fav? Hang on... sounding a bit seven dwarfish... moving on! Oh and AJ wore a tank top that read ‘Orgasm Donar' OMG! But it did match his personality.
Mid way through the concert we were treated to an acoustic set which included some classics and new material. I didn't realise that the boys each played instruments and play quite well. I suppose over the years they've had time to develop their skills. And yes there is an album coming out which will no doubt feature some of the tunes played. Did I mention the dancing? Yes I did but I should mention it again because it really was that good. The theme of fifteen again really did suit the night. It was really a night of fun and excitement.
They followed the acoustic set with some classic BSB songs including ‘The One' , ‘Shape of My Heart' and ‘A World Like This'. All crowd favourites which included various roles of humour and antics. These really are a fun bunch of guys that were 110% committed to the show and audience and I really do respect them for that. The dance and songs were obviously the biggest part to the show but I should also mention the lighting and video work which were perfectly combine to give us all a huge visual thriller.
The set finished with, ‘I Want it That Way' which to my amazement took the crowd to an even higher level but not to the lavel that it would ultimately reach when the boys came out to their encore which included two of their biggest hits, ‘Everybody' which brought the house don in a frenzy of dance mania and the ‘Larger Than Life' which topped everything. I truly feared for my ears at this point!
The Backstreet Boys are back and I must say, what a show and what an experience!