Backstreet's back

Backstreet's back
(From left) Kevin Richardson, Howie Dorough, A. J. McLean, Brian Littrell and Nick Carter of 90s pop boyband Backstreet Boys sang various top hits at their show here in Singapore.

Close to middle-aged, but Boys are still larger than life, says die-hard fan

At the risk of earning the ire of Directioners, Backstreet Boys are still the best boy band in the world.

Even if these "boys" are really closer to being middle-aged now.

When Kevin Richardson, Nick Carter, Brian Littrell, A. J. McLean and Howie Dorough returned to Singapore on Saturday to perform a two-hour-long sold-out show, 5,000 screaming fans savoured every minute of the true boy band experience.

From synchronised corny dance moves to No.1 hit after No.1 hit and all instances of flattery from the members, Backstreet Boys proved that they still reigned supreme in the boy band territory.

The group, which performed at The Star Theatre at Vista Exchange Green in Buona Vista, were last here in 2010.

This unapologetic diehard fan, who was seeing them live for the first time, analyses how the US pop group are still as good as they were in their glory days in the 90s.

MOVES

Rating: 10/10

Will jumping like it is 1995 prove too much for We've Got It Goin' On?

Will "rock your body" be taken literally during Everybody (Backstreet's Back)?

Will they be smooth operators in All I Have To Give - or just barely operating?

So many questions and concerns! But boy, can they dance.

They may well be in their 30s and 40s, but even the younger One Direction have nothing on them.

Save for a slight dip in stamina from Dorough, 41, the quintet executed every famous music video move to a T.

Individual members even threw in some extras.

Dorough gave us a preview of his salsa moves, Carter, 35, displayed plenty of crotch thrusts including a well-timed one to the word "sexual" in Everybody (Backstreet's Back) while Richardson, 43, remained the best dancer with the sleekest moves.

VOCALS

Rating: 8/10

Truth be told, I had braced myself for the tears that would flow unstoppably when I heard Littrell, 40, sing.

Err, nope, not from unbridled feelings of joy.

The group's recent documentary, Backstreet Boys: Show 'Em What You're Made Of, shed light on his struggle - sob! - with vocal tension dysphonia, which causes the tightening of the muscles around the vocal chords.

Thankfully, the trooper did not croak a single note and cemented the fact that he has - and always had - one of the best voices in the group.

McLean, 37, might have run into some problems keeping to the right key in Shape Of My Heart and 10,000 Promises while Carter overestimated his ability to do ambitious vocal runs at certain parts, but all in all, Backstreet Boys delivered fan favourites to near perfection.

CHARM AND APPEAL

Rating: 10/10

Old is gold. Baby of the group and fan favourite Carter might have packed on some pounds over the years.

McLean seems to have the same number of tattoos over the years, but not necessarily the same physique.

But one thing has not changed: They still have the ability to leave the ladies weak at the knees and send their hearts racing.

Disclaimer: I may or may not be speaking from personal experience.

McLean, especially, was generous with flirtatious remarks, telling the crowd often that they were the most beautiful he has ever seen.

The men have aged well in the last two decades and in their fans' eyes, they were probably the same wide-eyed, impossibly handsome boys in their tacky 90s music videos.

Be still, my beating heart!

FAN INTERACTION

Rating: 10/10

Two lucky fans went home with Carter and McLean's sweat-trapping black towels.

And Carter teasingly invited another two fans, cousins Shafiq Affandi, 26, and Muhd Muaaz Musripan, 27, to guest feature on the band's upcoming album.

McLean also posed for a selfie with them while Littrell acknowledged them as the two outstanding male faces in the front row among the sea of women.

Mr Muaaz, a prime mover driver, said: "I've been a fan since primary school and this is my first time watching them, so all that was crazy."

Others, like the pre-invited lucky few who went onstage, were warmly hugged by a cheeky Littrell and the rest of us received waves and air kisses from the boys.

OUTFITS

Rating: 7/10

Only because they failed to fulfil my tweenage fantasies. I missed them the past few times they were here and waited 19 years!

If I had had my way, the boys would have all been in unbuttoned shirts paired with pants a la the music video for Quit Playing Games (With My Heart).

Plus, they can make it rain on stage these days, right? But I will settle for the sharp blue suits they wore to open the show until they changed to casual outfits.


This article was first published on May 04, 2015.
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