Upbeat pop songs that stick in one’s head? Check. Cheesy love songs? Check. Synchronized dance moves? Check. White pants? Check.
These boxes were all checked off in June 2017 when early 1990s boy band NKOTB came into town, and they were checked off again last night when BSB—Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell, Howie Dorough, and A.J. McLean—otherwise known as the late 1990s boy band Backstreet Boys performed for a sold-out audience at CHI Health Center.
Before they came onstage, however, it was the boy of a boy who performed. The opening act, which started right at 8 p.m. was Baylee Littrell, Brian’s son and a country music singer. The 16-year-old performed with a simple four-piece band that showcased Baylee’s vocals.
Baylee performed for 45 minutes, as the arena filled to the gills. By 9:05, a man three rows back from me was chanting “BSB!” He only needed to wait another five minutes.
The crowd freaked out at the first showing of glitter on the two TV screens, and, following a long intro during which the crowd became more excitable, the Backstreet Boys appeared onstage. While the band heavily promoted their new album, the crowd clearly had their favorites, from the saccharine “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” to the anthem “Backstreet’s Back.”
Along the way, the familiar came through—personal stories from “back in the day,” a PG-rated onstage change of clothes, teasing the crowd with promise and adult vocal chords stretching to reach their pre-pubescent range.
The stage performance, however, dazzled with lights, color, and glitter. The simple setup gave ample room for the five band members to dance, and dance they did—even being age 39-47 these men can move.
Theatrical? Yes. Concert? Yes. And I Want it That Way.