Ten thousand screaming fans in a sold-out Singapore Indoor Stadium on a Wednesday night can only mean one thing – Backstreet’s back, alright!
Backstreet Boys (or BSB as they are affectionately known) ended the Asian leg of their DNA World Tour 2019 in Singapore on Oct 30 with a one-night-only show that was, as expected, larger than life.
After all, this was a synchronised dance-filled two-hour performance with a whopping 33 songs (yup, including solo material and encore), delivered to relentless screaming that did not let up once throughout. From five dads in their forties no less.
Before the detractors yell "Oh my god, they're back again!", it was evident that nobody in the 10,000-strong audience seemed to mind that AJ McLean, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell and Kevin Richardson last performed in Singapore a mere two years ago at the National Stadium, and only two years before that in 2015 at the Star Performing Arts Centre.
So bite your tongue if you think they’re the next Air Supply: As far as members of the sold-out crowd CNA Lifestyle spoke to were concerned, BSB can come to Singapore as often as they like and nothing will dampen the ardour and undying love. As proven, fans will keep paying good money to see the boy-turned-man band sell out stadiums over and over again.
And it was plain to see why.
Every “You guys are exactly why we always love coming back to Singapore”; every synchronised dance step; every hip thrust; every hat-topping mic stand sway was executed in full unapologetic glee.
And on top of the requisite wink-point-smile moves, 41-year-old McLean and 48-year-old Richardson then proceeded to up the boyband ante by hurling their sweat-drenched underwear into outstretched arms (“Remember when you used to hurl underwear at us in the 90s? We’re returning the favour”).
The fangirls in the VIP standing mosh pit were not in the least bit appalled. Instead, Singapore Backstreet mania swelled in the stadium as the boys continued to pump out their classics and chart-topping ballads, alongside new(ish) album DNA’s hits (and misses) cleverly interspersed throughout.
Whether it's Quit Playing Games With My Heart, Drowning or I’ll Never Break Your Heart that were your favourites, or Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely, Incomplete and Shape Of My Heart that ruled your airwaves, the boys sang them all.
Always self-deprecating ("Fifteen years ago, we would have changed in front of all of you, but we've got dad bods now!") and self-aware in concerts, BSB were never the band to hold back on delivering the hit tunes that made them the best-selling (over 130 million records sold) boyband in history. And they are certainly not about to start now.
Whether you're a fan or not, one cannot argue that this is exactly the kind of concert BSB diehards paid for and will unabashedly lap up with joy.
Many will say that this is a concert befitting the most successful boyband of all time. Between sincere speeches from every single member about their own families and babies and reminiscing about how they started a massive 26 years ago, who wouldn’t agree?
Especially when the boys break out in a capella and prove that, despite tired touring voices, they can still hit the very notes and harmonies that made the world swoon.
Yes, Littrell obviously lost his speaking voice ( and dare we say, his falsetto) after this gruelling tour run, but the fans didn’t notice, much less care. If the quintet were feeling their age, it sure didn't show.
By the time the long-awaited As Long As You Love Me, Everybody (Backstreet's back!), Larger Than Life and the irrepressible I Want It That Way came on, the stadium was on karaoke fire.
Because as I’ve repeated many times in my previous concert reviews, watching the Backstreet Boys "live" is simply about reliving our nostalgic pasts of frenzied boyband fandom, 90s cheesy pop and first teen crushes.
It’s about walking down memory lane and reminiscing the good ole times. It’s about screaming like you’re a teenage girl and partying like it’s 1999.
It's about knowing all the lyrics, even though you didn't remember ever knowing all the songs. It's about having the best karaoke fest with your best friends.
It’s about unabashedly feeling young again. It's about revisiting every heartbreak and remembering our first loves.
It's about growing up and growing old with the boys-turned-men-turned-fathers, who shaped our hearts and our youth.
BSB fans will always want it that way, which is why the boys will never break our hearts.
"Like how my dad made me grow up with the Bee Gees and the Beatles, I'm making my kids grow up with the Backstreet Boys," a fan was overheard saying right after the concert. "Cos, I want it that way."