Writing and gallery photography by Ursula Rogers
Cover Photo by Dennis Leupold
The show was a ‘Merry Mix’ indeed filled with seasoned acts that have been together for over twenty years as well as up and coming musicians who will surely stand the test of time. People in the crowd certainly felt the holiday spirit with Santa hats and other holiday-inspired garbs. The hosts from Mix 94.7 kept the show moving along between performances along with the DJ. He made sure guests remained entertained while playing classic pop hits. And created an atmosphere of togetherness by playing Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody”. It didn’t seem that a single person could resist singing the classic song while waiting for the show to begin.
The opening act was Scottish born singer, Nina Nesbitt. The songstress has at least 3 top 40 songs. She managed to showcase effortlessly smooth vocals. While she primarily performed original songs, she managed to win over an already enthusiastic crowd with a slowed down cover of Brittany Spears’ ‘Toxic’. Nesbitt will return to Austin in February 2019 at Antone’s to promote her next album titled ‘The Sun Will Come Out, The Seasons Will Change.’
Following Nina Nesbitt’s flawless vocals was Marc Roberge from the group OAR. He took to the stage like a pro. Passion showed in his face, could be heard in his vocals, and flowed from his fingertips through his guitar. Once OAR bandmate, John Lampley joined Marc with his trumpet, the performance reached a new height. Their chemistry was exceptional and displayed an amazing musicality only seasoned professionals could provide.
The penultimate act was Michael Franti. He and his crew gave the audience an eclectic blend of reggae, funk, folk, and jazz music. He was the ideal choice to perform prior to the Backstreet Boys. Not only did his music provide positive vibes; he was able to develop a personal connection with the audience by sharing life stories about bullying. He managed to turn those negative experiences into inspirational stories and remind the crowd we’re all connected by humanity. With simplicity, he did what art is meant to do: transform the mundane into the miraculous.
It’s a bit cliché to say, ‘Backstreet’s back’. However, the truth is they haven’t truly gone away. Especially with their Las Vegas residency and upcoming tour. The Backstreet Boys began their 30-minute set by bounding on stage full of energy to an enthusiastic crowd of new and longtime fans. The six songs performed by the group included such hits as ‘As Long as You Love Me’, ‘Larger Than Life’, and their new Grammy-nominated song ‘Don’t Go Breaking My Heart’. Even after 26 years, there is love between the Backstreet Boys and their fans. Their interactions with the crowd were fantastic and their dance moves still sharp. The performance was short, sweet, and left the crowd wanting more. Fans will get more Backstreet Boys next year with their worldwide DNA tour. Fortunately. for Texan fans, they plan to make a few stops in the Lone Star State.