By Keegan Prosser
I remember the days of pop music like they were yesterday. There I am, sitting in my living room, when mom walks in and tells me about some song she heard on the radio.
“It’s by this group called Boys in the Backyard,” she said.
Oh mother, how dare you call them that.
Yes, I admit. I was the 12-year-old who loved everything pop and found no embarrassment in writing “Mrs. AJ McLean” all over my school notebooks.
I even attended the “Black & Blue” concert in 2001.
So, when E.J. offered me the chance to cover last night’s Backstreet Boys “This Is Us” concert at the ShoWare Center in Kent, I had only this response:
The audience was obviously smaller than the last time I saw the group in concert. About 5,000 former teenyboppers filled the venue, most wearing t-shirts scribbled with the group members’ names or lyrics to a song. My favorite read, “A.J., I’m legal now.”
There was no opening band for the group, but a DJ warmed the crowd up with a 60-minute dance party.
The group — Howie Dorough, A.J. McLean, Brian Littrell and Nick Carter — took the stage at about 8:15 p.m. and started with their hit “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).”
In true boy band fashion, the production was a smorgasbord of psychedelic lights, costume changes and scantily dressed backup dancers. The guys and their four female dancers made six costume changes (the most exciting being the light-up robot gear they donned during “Larger Than Life.”)
They danced, they crooned and they conquered – Carter, in all his baby face glory, even hit the high notes I expected him to miss.
And when the blood curdling chants of “A.J., I love you” and “Brian, you are so sexy,” died down, the audience was treated to four movie spoof segments, each one featuring a superimposed band member.
Dorough took on “Fast and the Furious,” McLean, “Fight Club,” Littrell, “Enchanted,” and Carter, “The Matrix.” Carter even slipped in a dig at another boy band sensation.
When told by the Morpheus character that he was sent to the Matrix to destroy someone, Carter quipped, “Who? ‘NSYNC?”
** laughter ensues**
The group performed a two-hour-long set which included a mixture of fan favorites from the early ’90s and 2000s, as well as some newer material:
“Bigger,” from last year’s “This Is Us” album, was far from my favorite song of the night, but fit the Backstreet Boys formula to a T: another harmony-heavy power ballad with a smidge of heart break.
The group seemed genuinely gracious for their audience — thanking the “best fans in the world” at every chance they got, and the crowd roared with excitement as the group ended the show with “I Want It That Way.” The song was the first single from the group’s 1999 album “Millenium,” and is their biggest hit to date.
The night proved to be a perfect flashback for the fans that have been there since the beginning, even if the nostalgia of it all left me longing for the sugary-pop of yesteryear.
And despite the fact that the Boys in the Backyard are, today, a little more like Men in the Backyard (creepy), it seems to me they’ve still got a few tricks up those bedazzled sleeves.
Backstreet Boys set list
Aug. 5, 2010
“We’ve Got it Going On”
“Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)”
“As Long As you Love Me”
“This is Us”
“Show Me the Meaning”
“All I Have To Give”
“She’s A Dream”
“I’ll Never Break Your Heart”
“Shape of My Heart”
“More Than That”
“Larger Than Life”
“All of Your Life”
“Bye Bye Love”
“I Want It That Way”
“Straight Through My Heart”