Celebrating twenty years together and marking the release of their new album, In a World Like This, the best-selling boy band of all time, the Backstreet Boys, left quite the impression on legions of longtime fans who gathered at Verizon Theater in Grand Prairie, Texas, on Friday, August 30.
The Boys, who appear to have discovered an anti-aging elixir, still deliver just as well as when they were arguably the biggest name in pop music in the late '90s. When the eldest member of the group, Kevin Richardson, ensured the crowd that it was time to 'party like it's 1999', he wasn't messing around. Whether it was the fans who were too young to know BSB back then, yet discovered the group's back catalog in the past few years, or the very ones who cried, screamed maniacally at a mere glimpse of Nick Carter or a wink from Howie Dorough, wore braces and watched TRL to see if "I Want It That Way" would triumph over the latest *N Sync single -- okay, just about everyone there actually fit into the latter category -- the crowd would unanimously agree the Boys have still got it.
Opening with a trio of their best songs, "The Call", "Don't Want You Back" and "Incomplete", highlighted by the indisputable vocal talent of the bunch, the raspy, soulful, enigmatic A.J. McLean, the Backstreet Boys' set struck the perfect balance of the hits of yesteryear and the catchy, captivating new material. The latest single, "In a World Like This" stood its 'sing-a-long' ground right next to anything from Millennium. It was also particularly nice to hear a lesser known Backstreet Boys tune, one of their very best -- the ballad "10,000 Promises", with Brian Littrell's unforgettable lamentations of "What a lie, you and I". The group's soaring vocal harmonies even caused Carter to jokingly exclaim at one point, "Not bad for some boy-banders, right?" And of course, the popular hat dance routine from "All I Have to Give" made its mandatory appearance.
Each member of the group took time to make solo speeches throughout the set, frequently walking into the crowd and mingling with fans to do so, expressing their appreciation to the fans who have stuck with them for two decades. The lasting friendship between the five men appears exponentially more genuine than that of many of the acts BSB is frequently categorized with, which is refreshing to see.
As it stands, the people who loved the Backstreet Boys back in the day will still find them greatly entertaining now, and should seize this opportunity to see them on tour. The droves of infinitely uninteresting pop newcomers could certainly learn a thing or two from Orlando's finest.