Backstreet's back! And the original five boys proved that on Saturday 9 May at AllPhones Arena, Sydney.
Photos: Voight Photography and Design
Words: Loretta D'Urso
The Backstreet Boys are back alright and Sydney was not afraid to show its rapturous appreciation for the nineties’ boy band. Nick, A.J., Howie, Brian and reunited Kevin were sleek and entertaining, their voices not tainted by age at all. In blue suits matched with slick choreography the boys took to the stage and opened the In A World Like This tour with “The Call” and upbeat hit “Don’t Want You Back”.
“Incomplete”, a later song from the Backstreet Boys’ catalogue, saw Kevin on keys and Nick strumming away at the guitar. Not used to seeing the band with instruments in hands, it ended up proving to be a perfect addition to the show. The youngest of the five Nick then welcomed the group to Sydney against growing cheers from the full arena.
Following a short interlude filled fittingly with a cute video of antics from the band, “As Long As You Love Me” brought the crowd back to their feet. Changed from suave suits to comfortable nineties street wear, energy pulsed from the band who did not miss a step in the well rehearsed choreography. “Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of” is a new song written by Kevin and A. J., capturing the passing of time with focus on the former pair’s children. Fans soaked up the track with ease.
Once sassy twenty-somethings, the Backstreet Boys have definitely matured but still grace the stage with more than a hint of that cheek and swagger so strong in the nineties. As A. J. faultlessly cried out; “party like it’s 1999!” Another new song called “Breathe” was taken on board by fans remarkably. The entire arena was lit up by mobile phone lights, a sight to see from the stage. An acoustic set followed shortly after with guitars, keyboard and percussion played by the band. “10,000 Promises”, “Madeleine” and the much older “Quit Playing Games With My Heart” were three tracks chosen for the set. Seeing the band seated and relaxed balanced the evening’s show and also gave the chance for the crowd to take a bit of a breather.
After another short and very entertaining video interlude the boys returned for their final set of the evening. “I’ll Be The One”, “Love Somebody” and “Shape Of My Heart” were three gentler song selections of the night before the incredibly long awaited “I Want It That Way”. The hit from 1999 the song sent the crowd to dizzying heights of applause and attention, and certainly prepared everyone for the encore.
“Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” was a song awaited for with tangible anticipation from the crowd, so making it the first song in the encore was a fitting choice with not a word missed from fans. “Larger Than Life” closed the show, the three words encapsulating the mood of fans and band alike. For one night it felt as if the five Backstreet Boys were larger than life, their longevity sure proof of this.