Views on pop culture through my eyes

Long Live the Boy Bands!

New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys (NKOTBSB) in Concert
Friday, July 1, 2011
Staples Center

Special guests: Ashlyne Huff and Jordin Sparks

Songs performed: “Viva La Vida/Single/The One” NKOTBSB; “Summertime” NKOTB; “The Call” BSB; “Dirty Dancing” NKOTB; “Get Down (You’re the One for Me)” BSB; “You Got It (The Right Stuff)” NKOTB; 
”Larger Than Life” NKOTBSB; 
”Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind)” NKOTB; 
”Valentine Girl” NKOTB; 
”If You Go Away” NKOTB;  “Please Don’t Go Girl” NKOTB; 
”Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” BSB;
”10,000 Promises” BSB; 
”I’ll Never Break Your Heart” BSB; 
”Inconsolable” BSB; “Drowning” BSB; 
”Incomplete” BSB; 
”Step by Step” NKOTB;
”Cover Girl” NKOTB; 
”My Favorite Girl” NKOTB; 
”Games” NKOTB; 
”Click Click Click” NKOTB; “Tonight” NKOTB;  “Shape of My Heart” BSB; “As Long as You Love Me” BSB; “All I Have to Give” BSB; “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)” BSB;
 “I’ll Be Loving You Forever” NKOTB; 
”I Want It That Way” BSB; 
”Don’t Turn Out the Lights” NKOTBSB; “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” BSB; 
”Hangin’ Tough/We Will Rock You” NKOTB; 
Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)/Hangin’ Tough (Mash-up) NKOTBSBNKOTBSB

Comments: NKOTBSB (The Super Group made up of New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys) performed a high-energy, fan friendly performance at the Staples Center. These groups definitely still have some life left in them as they kept the crowd on their feet for most of the 2.5 hour show. All the guys are in their 30’s and 40’s now, they are men not boys, but both have a lot of great pop songs in their catalogs. It was definitely a co-headlined show, as both groups took the stage together, traded off with each other throughout the night, and they ended the show together also (something I would have loved Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera to have done when they had their co-headlining tour a few years back).

When the lights went down, there was a video montage showing the names and faces of all the guys from each group. When the curtain finally dropped, the guys from both groups were standing on an elevated circular platform on the stage end of the arena. The opening song was a mashup of Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida” mixed in with BSB’s “The One” and New Kids’ “Single.” The first line of the song as sung by Joey McIntyre is “We used to rule the world…” Yes, there was a time… New Kids has more recently headlined an arena tour back in 2008 for their reunion album “The Block.” Backstreet hasn’t played Staples since the “Black & Blue” tour.

The stage had a long walkway (which they performed and danced on also) out into the middle of the arena, with another small round stage at the end that had an elevating platform on it too. So when one group finished on the main stage, the other would be on the smaller one and so on. They also made use of plenty of fire and pyrotechnics during the show on both sides of the stage.

The crowd was filled with fans of both groups, and the bands definitely played to their long time fans. Most people there had probably seen these groups before and were glad to see them back. There were a few surprises as far as song selection for both groups: For New Kids, the biggest surprise was “If You Go Away” from their flop album “Face the Music.” For BSB, the biggest surprises were “10,000 Promises”, which was featured on one of their earliest releases (the European 2nd album plus “Get Down” which was on the European first CD. New Kids sang songs from “The Block” but BSB did NOT sing any from their last release “This is Us.” (at least not in the LA area) .

They did make a point of connecting with the fans though. BSB sang “Shape of My Heart” as each of the members made their way into different areas of the arena. New Kids also went out into the audience during “Tonight’ much like they did on the last tour, except this time I was not close enough to touch them. BSB also picked some ladies (plus 1 guy too) to sing to and brought them on stage for “I’ll Never Break Your Heart.” They know they have gay fans, so it’s about time they acknowledge them. AJ was the one who picked the guy (and he’s not gay, only Jonathon Knight of New Kids is). The guy took the rose from AJ and played along with it, at one point the guys switched who they were singing to, and then Brian was singing to the guy.

It was great to see my favorites again…. Highlights were numerous: “The Right Stuff” (NKOTB), “Incomplete” (BSB) from their great “Never Gone” album, “I’ll Never Break Your Heart” (BSB), “Step by Step” (NKOTB), “Cover Girl” (NKOTB) with Donnie Wahlberg taking off his shirt showing a very hot ripped body, “Larger Than Life” (BSB), “As Long as You Love Me” (BSB) a remixed version, “Quit Playing Games with My Heart” (BSB), “I’ll Be Loving You Forever” (NKOTB) Jordan can still hit the high notes, “Dpn’t Turn Out the Lights” (the new joint song), “Hangin’ Tough” (NKOTB), “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” (BSB) and the finale mashup.

One of the biggest surprises of the evening was the appearance of Kevin Richardson of the Backstreet Boys. He left the group a few years ago, but came out right when it was his turn to sing on “I Want It That Way.” He looked good in his designer suit. He joined his old group again for the ending of “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”. All the guys had on team jerseys, the New Kids had Celtics and BSB had on the Lakers. Brian said he would love to have Kevin back in the group. So would the fans.

I loved the comment I heard from 2 ladies in the crowd regarding the overpriced souvenirs ($30 programs, $40 T-shirts). She said she gave them enough money when she was 13. I hear ya on that!

The guys did no solo songs at all, but they did manage to fit in bits of Prince’s “Raspberry Beret” (BSB) and Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison” (NKOTB).

Thanks to all the guys for a great evening. Long live the boy bands!

Ashlyne Huff was the first opening act. Her voice was decent, but the songs were forgettable dance-pop fluff. Next up was Jordin Sparks. She has a lot of nice songs from her first 2 albums, plus the new single is good too. I missed having her sing with a band… she just sang to backing tracks.

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Comments on: "Long Live the Boy Bands!" (1)

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