NKOTBSB – review
SOURCE:"NKOTBSB" doesn't exactly trip off the tongue, but it's the official moniker for the combined forces of New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys, who put boyband differences aside last summer and have been touring together ever since. Their marriage of convenience has created a nine-man display of raunch and cheese: there's abundant crotch-thrusting and gay-biker leatherwear, but also gleaming white suits and hormonal serenades to women picked from the crowd. And there are the hits – seemingly hundreds of them, nearly every one an identical mulch of pop and "urban" that sounded fresh in the 90s. They don't now, but that doesn't stop the audience from partying like it's 1999.
Impossibly buff and toned for men with an average age of 38, the bands don't bother with modesty. "It's a good year to be in London," says New Kid Joey McIntyre. "The Queen's birthday [sic], the Olympics and NKOTBSB – that's all you need." A woman a few seats down from me agrees; she's made a placard that pleads: "Joey can we lick your boots?" To be fair, McIntyre is one of the stars of the 135-minute show; his a cappella performance of Please Don't Go Girl leaves both him and the fans drained.
There aren't many moments to equal it. Each band is on stage for a few numbers, revisiting the No 1s (BSB's I Want It That Way, New Kids' Hangin' Tough) and lesser-knowns, before disappearing to let the next lot on. With both groups rooted musically in vocal harmonies owing something to the Temptations, there are more similarities than differences. What they do have, all these years later, is perspective. During Tonight, New Kid Donnie Wahlberg accepts a fan's proffered beer and downs it in one, knowing he may as well have fun while the sun shines.