The Backstreet Boys passed through town recently and OC Music News was there! I have to say… It was quite an experience. I’ve been to a lot of concerts – big and small – and I’ve even had the pleasure of seeing New Kids on the Block in Las Vegas. While NKOTB had a fantastic show that included pyrotechnics, the Backstreet Boys show was out of this world.
It was a warm evening at FivePoint in Irvine, and people flocked from all around to watch Backstreet Boys live. With my new leopard print shoes on, I walked what seemed like miles to reach the gate, and saw women and men dressed in their best “night out on the town” attire. Heels, pleather outfits, hair done in perfect curl formation, and more homemade Backstreet Boys shirts than I could count. There were many families with young kids too, and even the kids seemed excited at the opportunity to watch mom and/or dad’s favorite boy band perform.
With the many merchandise and food booths, I started to wonder if I’d be able to find bandages for the blisters my new shoes were giving me. I was able to easily find the medical tent, slap those bad boys on my now broken skin, and be on my way to find my seat.
Opening the show was Australian singer, Delta Goodrem, whose voice is so angelic, it blows you away. With seemingly very little effort, she belted out some of the most beautiful and upbeat ballads, which made me wonder when she would be singing in a Disney movie or selling out her own Vegas residency. With her gold, boot-cut pants and no shoes, when she wasn’t playing the piano, she was dancing around the stage warming up the crowd with claps and cheers and great songs.
After Goodrem there was a lull to the crowd. As the sun started to go down completely and the sky started to darken to actual night, the big screens on either side of the stage rotated between images of Backstreet Boys and different hashtags to use for that particular show.
Finally, the lights dimmed and the crowd created a collected cheer that made the entire place rumble. Phones went up faster than race cars at a starting line, and everyone stood in anticipation for the dancing to begin. The music started, the stage fog blasted the view, and out of nowhere the members appeared on the far side of the stage like a magic trick.
“Everyone” off their 2000 album “Black & Blue” started us off just right, but this time with much more of a dramatic and full-sounding intro than the recorded version. BSB sang and danced around the far side of the stage in their black and red coordinating outfits with the red-light design that added the extra aesthetic touch.
Their second song, “I Wanna Be with You,” brought them closer to the crowd, further down the stage. It is important to note that these guys actually sang; there was no lip syncing here. Backstreet Boys sang songs that are now over two decades old with the same gusto and energy as when they were first recorded.
As the lady in front of me heard the third song come on, she reignited our previous conversation by turning around and saying excitedly, “THIS IS MY FAVORITE SONG!” She was talking about “The Call,” and this was her third time seeing BSB during the DNA World Tour. “The Call,” also off “Black & Blue,” hit home with many of the fans in the amphitheater and they sang the chorus about a regretful cheater at the top of their lungs: “Listen, baby, I’m sorry, just wanna tell ya, don’t worry, I will be late, don’t stay up and wait for me…”
Dancing closer and closer to the audience in the front from their deep stage, you wondered how long it would take them to actually get to the front. Then their fourth song, “Don’t Want You Back,” brought them so close it looked like they were on the heads of the audience. The stage had a portion that went into the standing audience in the front that gave a completely different look from the side, which was awesome.
Between songs they would each take a turn to engage the crowd, while the others took a break to change into their next round of color-coordinated outfits, hydrate, and dry off from all the dancing under those hot lights.
Most of the fans were there to hear their old stuff, but BSB were on tour to promote the album they released just before COVID, so they did something ingenious. They would play a few songs off their new “DNA” album, but only about 30-60 seconds of the song. This was a great way to give a taste of the new songs to those that hadn’t allowed the new material to make its way into the fan DNA (pun intended). Of course not realizing this, when a new song began, some fans would use this as a bathroom break only to be surprised when an old and beloved song would start faster than they realized. Women were actually running from the bathrooms into the amphitheater to not miss a note of their adored song being performed live.
Backstreet Boys performed “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely,” “Undone,” “Shape of My Heart,” “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart),” “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back),” “It’s Gotta Be You,” “The One,” and so many others that were part of the Backstreet Boys’ catalog that have been featured in commercials, on the radio, in movies, and covered by other bands. As the song would play, I would think, “Oh yeah, they sang this, too!”
After 31 songs you would have thought that Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell, AJ McLean, and Howie Dorough were actually just fabulously dressed robots that could sing, move, and shake better than most humans for that long, and then these guys actually came in for an encore! We thought the show was over, and the crowd had lost all ability to scream like a giant bachelorette party, but Backstreet Boys came in with two more songs! “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” which is the first track off “DNA,” led straight into their mega hit, “Larger Than Life.” The screams from the crowd were so loud, you could barely hear the band! As BSB danced, they engaged the crowd and everyone feel like they were there just for you.
After the show I walked back to my car, forgetting about my broken blisters and being parked in what felt like a different zip code. The good energy filled the air and I could hear people exclaim, “That was the best show ever!” and “I can’t wait to see them again!” It really was a night to remember!
Backstreet Boys are on tour throughout the country for the rest of the summer, then they will head to Europe in the fall, so see the DNA Tour while you still can!