By Amy Willard
In 1993, the popular all male vocal group (better known as a boy band) the Backstreet Boys first took to the public stage at Sea World Orlando. It is rather hard to believe that after 17 years, and the departure of Kevin Richards in 2006, the famed pop group would still be selling out venues around the world.
Since their return in 2005, the Backstreet Boys have released two albums, Unbreakable, and This Is Us, vocally capturing their maturity as a group over nearly two decade. Wednesday's performance at the Wolf Trap in Vienna, VA brought that to life.
As the clock struck 9 and the sun set on the National Park where the Wolf Trap is located, a small curly haired boy appeared in front of a bright red curtain. The crowd would soon discover it was Brian Litrell's sons as he quickly recited his lines, "are you guys ready for Nick, AJ, Howie, and my dad? Well? Here they are, the Backstreet Boys!" and scurried backstage.
The cheers and matured squeals of grown Backstreet fans erupted as the lights dimmed and a large countdown appears on a screen at the top of the stage platform. Soon video of the four remaining members running down an alley came to life as Brian Litrell, AJ McLean, Nick Carter, and Howie Dorough jumped through the footage and landed on stage, crooning the infamous lines to "Everybody (Backstreets Back)."
The hour and a half set featured many of the Backstreet Boys' hits, well sort of, most of their old songs were combined into a medley. Probably at any other type of concert fans would be upset to hear songs cut in half, but it seemed as though the BSB fans were pleased to hear all of their favorites, no matter how long or short. The set included parts of "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)" "The Call" "As Long As You Love Me" "The One" and "Shape of My Heart." Oldies in their entirety were "I'll Never Break Your Heart," and "Larger Than Life." "I Want It That Way," included the loudest sing-along from the crowd of the night. The song also features Richard's infamous solo was performed exceptionally well by Dorough.
In keeping with their more mature songs like "Unbreakable" and "Straight Through My Heart" Backstreet showcased a more adult performance with button downs and slacks, paired with mic stands and stools on stage for a good part of the show. But don't worry die-hard Backstreet fans, they haven't completely changed their boy band ways, the coordinated dance moves, complete with female back up dancers, and quirky matching space-like attire do make an appearance.
While one may experience some outside criticism for going to a Backstreet Boys concert in the year 2010, fans from the nineties boy band era will surely feel right at home as soon as they enter the venue's parking lot, because even after 17 years, cars are still painted with names and lyrics, and custom t-shirts still lineup at will call doing what they do best, "Keeping The Backstreet Pride Alive."
The Backstreet Boys will continue on the This Is Us tour through August and will return to Baltimore on August 22 for Mix Fest.