Backstreet boys

Backstreet Boys review: The long-awaited Indianapolis show delivers

About halfway through their Sunday night show, two Backstreet Boys began undressing on stage.

Luckily, there were privacy screens emblazoned with the band’s initials. But I’m not sure they were there to preserve anyone’s modesty.

These screens were for security.

When AJ McLean and Kevin Richardson began stripping, with McLean at one point throwing underwear into the crowd, a wild roar went up into the night – the lion’s share of 25,000 people willing to risk it all: the family at home, the family sitting next to them, the prison.

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Those screens are probably the reason I and everyone else here are alive today, albeit with (hopefully) temporary hearing loss.

Loud doesn’t do this crowd justice. Excited isn’t good either. There really is nothing quite like this rabid teen idol, boy band buzz.

And the Backstreet Boys, a year shy of their 30th birthday and back on the road after more than two years away due to COVID-19 delays, put on a stellar, fast-paced show of dancing, ballads and belts. .

More than three years after the DNA World Tour was announced, it finally arrived at the Ruoff Music Center. A woman to the left of the stage held up a sign telling the group that it had been something like 582 days since she bought her ticket.

I jokingly set a low bar before the show: If they go out and do the dance to “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back),” I told my wife, then that’s a perfect review with no ratings.

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They weren’t wearing horror movie costumes, but Brian, Nick, Howie, AJ and Kevin were damn sure they danced. Perfection.

The song set off a dance chain reaction both on stage and in the audience. The children stood on chairs and the ushers felt it at their assigned posts.

“We have it going.” Another firecracker. “It must be you.” Let it come.

The Backstreet Boys perform at Ruoff Music Center on July 10, 2022.

As the spike in fever toward the end of the show carried over to “That’s How I Like It,” a woman near the audience had something of an emergency. I couldn’t see what happened.

To their sincere credit, the Boys immediately cut the show off. It seemed like a system was in place, as McLean raised his arm and the music, singing and dancing stopped in unison.

The singers called for help and a dozen employees moved into the audience. After a few moments, she was speaking and signaling to the group that she was fine.

“We want everyone to have a good time,” McLean told him.

She was taken in a wheelchair and was awake when she passed by my seat.

All five members did their best to restore energy and rally to a thunderous finish, with another deafening roar as they finished with “Larger than Life” and a shower of confetti.

We had a lot of dancing, acapella work and some costume changes – from a black and red leather look at the opening, to casual dad clothes for the quiet middle and finally the brand’s white “Millennium” costumes to close.

Their voice was a bit better than I expected. Nick Carter in particular is to be commended. He was up there at 42 singing parts he recorded at age 15, with very little noticeable difference.

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Brian Littrell, however, was often much quieter than the rest of the band during his main parts. Whether it was a splash or a sound, it was constant throughout the night.

The bass of the backing music was also way too high. There’s no doubt that these are dance-pop songs, but the bass often drowned out the main reason we were there: the singing.

And yes, they looked like they do, which is 25 years older than many of us remember them. They recognized it and made jokes about it. They included a touching video montage of their various wives and children.

It didn’t distract or bother me. It certainly didn’t deter the crowd of probably 75% women from hollering either.

Sunday’s show was also a bit more laid-back than a typical Backstreet Boys concert in the 2000s. There were no backup dancers or a band on stage. No one was lifted above the stage or lifted from below. But it didn’t affect the quality.

I didn’t recognize anything released over the past two decades, which the band has been going through at a steady pace throughout the set. The shortened song versions allowed over 30 tracks in the span of two hours.

It was a good pace to keep the energy going. I was thrilled to hear the hits, many of which I practiced in my bedroom as a preteen, and the new stuff didn’t distract or damage the energy for what was usually a concert leaning on the nostalgia.

“Does that mean you still like the Backstreet Boys after all these years?” Carter asked at one point.

A few early exercises for the “Everyone (Backstreet’s Back)” call and response:


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Rory Appleton is the pop culture reporter at IndyStar. Reach him at 317-552-9044 and [email protected], or follow him on Twitter at @RoryDoesPhonics.