Whether a longtime fan or too young to remember the Backstreet Boys, it certainly speaks volumes that twenty years after they first hit the stage together in 1993, this Florida-formed boy band still has what it takes to sell out the largest venues across North America.
On this current ‘In a World Like This’ tour (named after the band’s eighth album), the Backstreet Boys make their comeback of sorts and celebrate their fans, their reunion, and certainly their longevity in this business. All members, including Kevin Richardson, Nick Carter, AJ McLean, Brian Littrell, and Howie Dorough are back into the mix following the debut of their eighth album and the first to come from their own label, K-BAHN.
For two hours beginning at 9p.m., the Backstreet Boys went back and forth in time with a generous and dynamic 22-song set. They kicked off the show with ‘The Call,’ emerging from beneath the stage engulfed in a cloud of smoke. Although their choreography, vocals, and styles are very reminiscent of the Backstreet Boys that fans remember and love, what was clearly different was their relaxed energy and comfortable personas on stage, something that only comes with time and maturity. All five members made it apparent that they were not only there to put on an ‘act,’ but also to connect with the fans that made this reunion tour a possibility. Throughout every single performance last night, each member made eye contact, gave little signals, shook hands, and engulfed themselves into the audience as much as the set would physically allow. Their camaraderie and friendship was clearly genuine and this positive energy bled out into the Cedar Park Center.
In the second half of the show, the Backstreet Boys brought a couple dozen fans onstage and performed a 3-song acoustic set which showcased their vocal harmonies as they joked about learning to play instruments since they wouldn’t always be able to ‘shake what our mommas gave us.’ After 2 encores, Backstreet Boys ended the night shortly after 11p.m. with ‘Larger than Life,’ showing that they still have what it takes to get Austin on their feet and party like it’s 1999. No surprise that singing ‘I want it Austin’s way’ during the performance of famed ‘I Want it That Way’ went over really well for this mostly all-female crowd. Before closing out, The Backstreet Boys promised it wouldn’t be another thirteen years until they came back to this music town.
Three opening acts preceded the headliners. Baylee Littrell, eleven-year-old son of Brian Littrell, showed that he has the talent and confidence to follow in his father’s footsteps. Introduced briefly by his dad, he sang two songs without skipping a beat, with confidence, style, and obvious voice coaching. He interacted with the ladies and worked the stage like he’d been doing it for years. R&B boy band B5, previously known as TNT Boys and Audio, came on next and performed for approximately 20 minutes. These five abs-bearing brothers definitely appealed to the younger female audience, and had the moves and performance to back it up. DJ Pauly D, best known for his MTV reality show ‘The Jersey Shore,’ came on next and was a great fit for this tour.
‘In A World Like This’ Setlist:
- The Call
- Don’t Want You Back
- Permanent Stain
- All I Have to Give
- As Long As You Love Me
- Show ‘Em (What You’re Made Of)
- Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely
- I’ll Never Break Your Heart
- We’ve Got It Goin’ On
- Safest Place to Hide (A Cappella)
- 10,000 Promises (Acoustic)
- Madeleine (Acoustic)
- Quit Playin’ Games (With My Heart) (Acoustic)
- The One
- Love Somebody
- More Than That
- In A World Like This
- I Want It That Way
- Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)
- Larger Than Life