Welcome to my comprehensive review of the Backstreet Boys concert I attended at the Vector Arena in Auckland, New Zealand on Thursday, March 11th, 2010. Feel free to skip this entire post if you have no interest whatsoever in this band. :-)
1. Everybody (Backstreet's Back)
2. We've Got It Goin' On
4. Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)
5. As Long as You Love Me
6. This Is Us
7. Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely
8. All I Have to Give
9. She's a Dream
10. I'll Never Break Your Heart
11. The Call
12. The One
13. Bigger (included a sample of "True" by Spandau Ballet)
14. Shape of My Heart
15. More Than That
18. Larger Than Life
19. All of Your Life (You Need Love)
20. Bye Bye Love
21. I Want It That Way
22. Encore: Straight Through My Heart
Song Count Per Album:
Backstreet Boys - 6
Millennium - 4
Black & Blue - 3
Never Gone - 1
Unbreakable - 0
This Is Us - 8
My friend Haylee and I set out for the show around 6:00 PM, as the tickets said the doors opened at 6:30. About halfway to the arena, we just happened to come across a fellow named Alex who is in the Greek class that I dropped a few days ago, and whom I had only met in passing. He remembered me, though (I mean, come on, who WOULDN'T), and he was eager to help us get to our destination. Turns out he lives right down the street from the Vector Arena, so he showed us a shortcut and sent us on our way. It was most fortunate, especially because it was raining, and neither of us had thought to bring an umbrella.
We arrived at the arena to find a massive crowd of people, all standing in the pouring rain, waiting for the doors to open. If anyone thinks that this group isn't popular anymore, they are dead wrong. Shortly after arriving (around 6:20 PM), we were informed that the doors would now be opening at 7:00 PM. Great. That meant another 40 minutes of standing and soaking in the rain. Haylee and I amused ourselves by making ugly faces (one of my favorite pastimes), and commenting loudly on how disgusting we found the women who were smoking behind us (three cigarettes in 30 minutes is a LITTLE excessive, people).
When the doors FINALLY opened, Haylee and I ran upstairs, where we found another set of closed doors, and were forced to wait another 15 minutes before we could be seated. We eventually reached our seats, and around 7:30, the opening act came onstage. He was a local fella named J. Williams, and while he had some decent singing skills, he was not nearly as good as any of the people he was very clearly imitating (Chris Brown, Akon, etc). I felt that BSB could have found someone a little more polished to open for them, but I give them props for supporting a Kiwi act, and, clearly, the locals in the crowd really dug this guy, cause they went NUTS when he came onstage. Plus, he had a dance crew, which is always cool to see.
Around 8:45, a giant countdown clock appeared on a projection screen onstage, and we knew it was time. The Boys made their entrance in a cloud of smoke, and launched right into an excellent rendition of one of their first hits, "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)." They sounded fantastic, and they only appear to have gotten better and more skilled with age. The show continued with a mix of old hits and new songs, and they just got better and better with each one. Some highlights were "Shape of my Heart," "Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely," and the eternal crowd-pleaser, "Larger Than Life." The staging consisted of a DJ who provided the backup beats and music, several female dancers, and the Boys themselves, who moved about the stage and at different points sat on stools or chairs.
One interesting and entertaining thing that I enjoyed about the show was that during the costume changes, the audience wasn't just left to sit in darkness, but rather were treated to a video of each of the boys featuring them spliced into a popular film. They were as follows:
-The Fast and the Furious (Howie)
-Fight Club (A.J.)
-The Matrix (Nick)
Nick had a fantastic line in his segment, which I believe went like this:
Morpheus: You've felt it your entire life, that there's something wrong with the world. You don't know what it is, but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?
Maybe I'm the only one who laughed out loud at that, but I can always appreciate a little friendly rivalry between boy-bands. :-)
The boys finished the show with "I Want It That Way," arguably their most popular song (As A.J. said, they saved the best for last). They left the stage, and returned shortly for an encore song, "Straight Through My Heart," the catchy hit single off of their newest album. After they took their final bow, the show was over, and I was left deeply satisfied.
All in all, it was an excellent show. I got to hear all of their hit songs, plus a few of my favorites that I was not expecting but was pleasantly surprised to hear. If I had to find any fault with the show, it would be that they only played one song from "Never Gone," which I personally consider to be their finest work, and a really excellent example of adult contemporary pop. However, the album didn't do that well when it first came out, and a lot of people complained that it strayed from their more dance-pop sound, so I s'pose I understand their reasoning.
I would gladly see BSB in concert again, and I think that anyone who has written them off because they aren't "hip" anymore should take a another listen, cause I feel like their music holds up surprisingly well even now, and the bottom line is that these guys have true talent. They didn't lip sync a single song, and they sounded incredible, which is more than you can say for a good percentage of the acts out there today (especially considering that A.) they have had to rearrange every song into four parts ever since their fifth member, Kevin, left the band back in 2006, and B.) these guys are all in their mid-30s. That's pretty impressive to me).
If you made it this far, thanks for reading, and I promise I will get back to regular updates on New Zealand soon.
The Backstreet Boys:
A.J., Brian, Nick, and Howie