May 29, 2011 – Women in homemade t-shirts are screaming and holding signs. You hear certain names being shouted over and over again – Donnie, Nick, Danny, Howie, and “A.J.”. Then it all starts to make sense. You’re at a New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys concert, shortened to the unbelievably long acronym ‘NKOTBSB‘ for the purposes of their summer tour together. A decade or two may have passed since these two boy bands dominated the charts, but that didn’t stop them from breaking out the hits and the dance moves that made them famous. The boys are back, and so are the ladies who will not stop screaming for them.
The Kids and the Boys didn’t just storm out on stage and get down to their business of singing and dancing acrobatics, though. Oh no, they made the ladies wait. The reaction to opening act Ashley Huff was less than warm as her DJ struggled to force one pair of hands to start clapping – a true sign that fans were holding their excitement for the main attraction. Even a swarm of backup dancers couldn’t bring her show to life.
Jordin Sparks fared better, but with no backup dancers, her presence alone isn’t quite suited to fill up a large stage. But the waiting still wasn’t over. There was a two minute opening video that seemed to run twice as long as necessary, although it did serve its purpose of building hype. Then they arrived, on a hovering platform, at the stage to begin a show that was actually quite spectacular.
Sure, the New Kids on the Block aren’t exactly “new” anymore, and the Backstreet Boys are no longer “boys”, but that doesn’t mean that these groups aren’t relevant. One look at a Justin Bieber music video reveals that today’s big names in music are taking big cues from these ’90s idols.
Smiling at fans and simultaneously switching hand gestures every half second, Nick Carter and Joey McIntyre showed that they haven’t lost their stage personalities or their synchronized dance moves. They even sounded great, though their voices can’t be expected to reach preteen levels.
For all the critics that may dismiss NKOTBSB as a fleeting nostalgia tour, their influence on contemporary pop is here to stay.