The Backstreet Boys
Vector Arena, Auckland, New Zealand
May 12th 2015
Words by PATRICK CAMPBELL. Photos by JESS SUO.

 

I will admit I was dubious when I heard I would be reviewing THE Backstreet Boys. It’s been over 20 years since they got together and they’re still going at it. Turns out, I was pleasantly surprised.

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It would have been easy to beat an opening act that forgot the words to FourFiveSeconds (that really happened) but the Backstreet Boys came on and killed it from the get-go. My childhood dreams came true as Nick, Kevin, Brian, Howie and A.J. came onstage in matching suits and launched into what would be a two-hour spectacular.

The James Bond-type intro, the elaborate set and lighting were all outshone by the boys – or rather, men. They commanded the packed-out arena as they ran through hit after hit, busted some amazing choreography, and even played their own instruments. As Nick put it: “Look Out World!”

The Backstreet Boys played tracks off their most recent album, but kept most of the set full of their classic hits from the late ’90s and early ’00s, which was no issue to the crowd. When As Long As You Love Me came on, everyone lost it; we got to relive our childhoods. It just felt so good being a part of this experience. That song was a  highlight of the main set, although the sit-down jam session in the middle was also pretty great.

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Throughout the show, the guys kept the banter flowing. They made sure it was a fun night for the audience, all of whom were involved; every last section of the crowd was given the attention it deserved. In these banter moments were some humble brags that weren’t so humble and even some flirtatious talk, but no one was complaining.

Oh, and they changed outfits a few times too. AJ really took advantage of this by displaying some provocative phrasing on his shirts, whilst the others just kept it cool and comfortable.

 

Enough about all that though, let’s talk about the encore. It was everything and more, even though they finished the main set by playing I Want It That Way. The guys all returned to the stage and busted out a killer rendition of Everybody (Backstreet’s Back), complete with the original choreography.

Then, because that wasn’t enough, they had to play another song for us. Larger Than Life was the perfect ending to the night, and the entire audience was up on its feet as the band gave us one last incredible song.

All in all it was amazing. The Backstreet Boys even hinted that they might return on the next tour. I vote YES.

 

Highs:

The choreography
Nick’s intense passion
All the childhood classics

Lows:

At one point they said that they weren’t going to play I Want it That Way and I got a bit emotional
The opening act
I wasn’t six years old

 

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