Backstreet Boys Show Irvine They’ve Still “Got It Going On”

Backstreet Boys Irvine Concert

The Backstreet Boys have left a “Permanent Stain” on my heart and it’s incredible that “In a World Like This” they are still “Larger Than Life,” (sorry couldn’t resist).

Okay so maybe they don’t get played on the radio much anymore and they can’t sell a million albums in one week (tell me one artist who still does that), but the Backstreet Boys sure as hell know how to put on a great concert and they made fans at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine on Sept. 6 swoon like a bunch of teenagers.

In fact, there were actually a lot of teenagers in the audience. They could have been there to see opening act Jesse McCartney, but they could also have really cool older sisters. Either way, the crowd went wild during both sets. McCartney, who was also in a boy band once (anyone remember Dream Street), warmed everyone up with some of his more popular songs like “Leavin” and “Beautiful Soul.” He also previewed a couple of songs from his upcoming EP. McCartney’s dance moves and R&B hooks were reminiscent of Justin Timberlake, though he’s not nearly as good, it was still entertaining. His set was a perfect appetizer to the main course.

Nearing the end of the North American leg of the In A World Like This tour, the Backstreet Boys danced the night away with quite a bit of pep in their step. Back in their heyday, the boys – or should I say “men” – were often said to be the inferior dancers in the BSB versus N’SYNC competition, but believe me when I say their moves on Friday were leaps and bounds ahead of what N’SYNC did at the VMA’s. They truly seem to believe that staying together for 20 years means bringing their A game and giving the fans what they want for all 20 of those years — and when you are the world’s most successful boy band that means dancing.

The guys may be in their 30s and 40s, but they didn’t let that stop them from hitting every single move with energy and style. They opened the show in dramatic fashion, coming up from under the stage in slow motion as smoke filled the arena and nearly 15,000 fans held their breaths in anticipation. Then, the smoke cleared, all the boys were on stage and A.J. (McLean) ran towards the front platform singing the opening lines to “The Call.” Every single person in the audience started screaming and for a moment it felt like it was 1999 all over again.

But, before fans could get too comfortable in the nostalgia party, the boys would throw in a song off their latest album. They sang six songs off “In A World Like This,” including the title track of the same name. Fans may enjoy hearing the older songs, but the boys were able to impress with the newer songs. Kevin (Richardson) showed everyone that a good boy band does not need just one or two leads singers with his impressive vocals in “Breathe.” The group also took a step away from their more sugary pop numbers as they picked up some instruments and played “Madeline” and a few other songs acoustically.

The only thing that really took away from the show was the giant looping screen behind the stage. Most of the time it would just play kaleidoscope art, but every once in a while an out of place Zen image would appear for no apparent reason (think giants pictures of the Earth and waterfalls). But, cheesy background images aside, the group performed like they were still in their prime.

They closed out the night with two of their most iconic songs, “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” and “Larger than Life.” Many fans did the choreography right along with them. There were even a few grandmas and six-year-olds in the mix. Seriously guys, “Backstreet’s Back” is this generation’s “Thriller,” everyone knows the moves. For many of us it was like re-living a school dance, only this time we didn’t have to sneak in the alcohol.


Photography by Rosemary Vega

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