Backstreet Boys

Backstreet Boys• August 4, 2022• USANA Amphitheatre

Reviewed By Alisha Gregson

After a two-year hiatus, the Backstreet Boys resumed their DNA world tour on August 4th. They brought a performance that was truly “larger than life” to the USANA Amphitheater. There was little surprise that the show sold out to an audience made up primarily of women in their 30s and 40s. I was looking forward to a night full of boy band nostalgia along with thousands of other women there. The Backstreet Boys knew precisely what their fans wanted and would not disappoint. 

The night was full of dancing and singing along to their high-energy 90s bops, as the band proved they were the same boys we grew up loving. While their songs were no different, and no talent was lost, they had still changed so much in the last couple of decades. Throughout the night, they seemed excited to share little glimpses into their current lives with their fans. Who also found themselves in very different places than they were 20 years ago. In many ways, the evening felt like running into an old friend you hadn’t seen since childhood.

It was fun to reminisce on the past and enjoy old memories while also having the opportunity to catch up and see how much has changed. The Backstreet Boys did a fantastic job entertaining. They never took themselves too seriously while also putting everything they had into creating an unforgettable experience. 

The crowd was going crazy before the Backstreet Boys even took the stage. Seats and blankets became useless, as the entire audience would spend every second of the concert on their feet. Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean, Brian Littrell, and Kevin Richardson stepped out to an audience that could no longer contain their excitement. They started by singing just a few lines from their song “Everyone.” 

Let’s get on with the show (Let’s get started)
Turn the lights down low (Turn the lights down low)
You were there from the start (You were there)
We know who you are.

Their message was clear; the show had begun. Bringing the crowd back in time, they jumped right into a few old hits “I Wanna Be With You,”  “The Call,” and “Don’t Want You Back”. Brian Littrell then took a moment to comment on how beautiful the night was and thanked everyone for being there. “Without you, the Backstreet Boys fans, The Backstreet Boys would not exist. So thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! Who’s been to a Backstreet Boys concert before?” After receiving a thunderous cheer in response, he replied, “Ok, me too. Tonight we want to take you back. We want to make you feel like you are 8, or 10, or 12 years old again.”  

They then played a few songs from their 2019 DNA album. “Nobody Else,” “New Love,” and “Chateau” were all new to me, but the Backstreet Boys super-fan I had just befriended sang along with every word. Every other band member also took an opportunity to express their gratitude and connect with their fans. Their appreciation and love felt very genuine. 

About halfway through the show, everyone but AJ McLean and Kevin Richardson went backstage. This may have been the most unexpected moment of the night. AJ and Kevin explained that while the rest of the guys were changing backstage, they planned to change on stage. To the disappointment of many of the women in attendance, they did their disrobing behind privacy walls. AJ had a question for all the women, “So, Ladies, do you guys recall a time back in the day when you would throw your bras and panties up on stage? Do you guys remember doing that?” He turned to Kevin and suggested they return the favor.

The men then each held out a pair of white briefs before throwing them out into the front rows. Kevin complimented someone’s quick catch and warned that his pair might be a little damp. I am about 99% positive they were just a couple of pairs of clean underwear used for the joke, but there is really no way to be sure.  After a few minutes, the remaining three band members joined them back on stage. They pleased the crowd with some of their most famous songs, “Quit Playing Games” and “As Long as You Love Me”.

While they sang “No Place,” jumbotrons displayed pictures and videos of the Backstreet Boys with their own families. Kevin Richardson then explained, “That song is about family y’all. We are family. Everyone here, we pretty much all grew up together. Y’all have started your families. We have started our families. You got babies; we got babies”. He then turned all attention to his wife, who happened to be in attendance celebrating her birthday that night. He got emotional as he expressed his love to her while the audience witnessed her smiling back on the jumbotrons. The same guy who had just thrown his damp underwear to the crowd was now wiping away tears as he talked about his wife and kids, and the entire audience was touched. 

After singing a few more songs, including an acapella version of “Breathe”, it was already time for another wardrobe change. The Backstreet Boys slowly walked back onto the stage, looking exactly like I have remembered them over the years. Dressed head to toe in all white, they began their synchronized dance and sang “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”. The remainder of the night felt like how I imagine a Backstreet Boys concert would have felt in 1999. The energy was incredible as they played through some of their biggest hits, “It’s Gotta Be You,” “The One,” and “I Want It That Way.”

Surprisingly, I could still hear their voices over all the screaming. After all these years and another full night of singing, they sounded just as good as ever. They ended their incredible performance with a two-song encore. Confetti shot out over the crowd as they sang “Larger Than Life.” After their impressive 33-song set, the Backstreet Boys took a bow and waved good night to their thousands of cheering fans. It was an all-around fantastic night. Although I missed my opportunity to see them perform when I was 10 or 11, I think I had even more fun experiencing it in my 30s.

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