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They’re not standing around the watercooler, but Cheryl Sadler, Mark Meszoros, Mark Podolski and Nicole Franz are talking about what they’ve been watching, listening to and playing during their free time.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Let me tell you the story about the call that changed my destiny

About 5 p.m. Friday, I got an unexpected phone call.

"Do you want tickets to the Backstreet Boys concert?"

One guess as to what I said.

Two hours later, I found myself driving to the flats with a friend, getting lost on our way to Nautica (neither of us had ever been there). I will admit that I initially hesitated at the thought of attending the concert. I figured that their show couldn't be much more than a novelty act at this point. I couldn't imagine that they would play anything other than the most loved and popular hits from "Black & Blue," "Millennium," and, of course, their self-titled album. I envisioned an audience of 20-something girls reliving their teen years, still swooning as the slightly out of touch stars of a now-irrelevant 90s pop sensation tried to dance like they were still 20 (Nick is now 30, 32, Howie is 37, and Brian is 35; Kevin is 38 but no longer tours with the group).

This is obviously not great photography; I was far away
and armed with my cheap-o point-and-shoot.
I guess I wasn't that far off in guessing the demographics of those attending. 95 percent of the attendees at the concert were young women averaging, at my guess, between ages 18 to 28. 3 percent of the remaining fans were women probably old enough to be the mothers of the first 95 percent. Then there were a handful of guys--most with girlfriends, but a group of about four or five 20-something guys were sitting near us quite obviously flirting with girls (but very emphatically singing along. I am not judging them).

There was a DJ to provide a little bit of pre-show entertainment, mostly playing pop and dance charts. Eventually the crowd around us started a "B S B" chant, and the girl behind me was practically hyperventilating in excitement. Finally, a cute little boy came out to kind of introduce the band--I'm convinced it was Brian Littrell's son, but I have no way to confirm that aside from seeing the (former?) BSB heartthrob pick the kid up at the end, and noticing that the little boy had super cute redish curly hair. But that is not the point. For the duration of the concert, all of my hesitations were forgotten as I became a screaming preteen again, singing along loudly to "Backstreet's Back" with the rest of the crowd.

The show's entertainment level was still clearly derived from the novelty of seeing the group years after they were really popular. It was all nostalgia, from their music down to their costumes (matching glowing sneakers, hooded sweatshirts sporting a bedazzled "B" on the back).

I am clearly not a photographer.
That said, I was still impressed with the quality of their performance. While their singing was heavily drowned out during most of the older popular songs by singing fans, I could still hear the boys singing; they definitely haven't lost their chops. They got the crowd involved in some of the lesser known songs, such as "PDA" which I'll admit I had never heard before. While the dancing was toned down a bit, they still were able to rock the typical boy band performance style. There were even these amusing videos during costume changes featuring each of the remaining four boys superimposed into movie previews (A.J.'s "Fight Club", and Nick's "Matrix" were my favorites; Howie stared in a "Fast and the Furious" video and Brian did an "Enchanted" spoof).

All in all, the show was a success, at least from the perspective of a 24-year-old girl who enjoyed singing along with songs she's usually embarrassed to admit she ever enjoyed.

And since the current "This is Us" Tour has only one stop left (Florida in December), I guess it's time to really get pumped for the New Kids on the Block/BSB joint tour Cheryl mentioned.

--Danielle Capriato

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