Saturday Night: New Kids On The Block & Backstreet Boys At Toyota Center

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Photos by Jim Bricker
New Kids on the Block, Backstreet Boys
Toyota Center
June 25, 2011

It's been 25 years since New Kids on the Block emerged on the pop scene, creating an entire generation of maniacally devoted fans overnight. Some girls fainted at the mere sight of the group; others creatively crafted puff-paint T-shirts in homage to their favorite member.

As Aftermath approached the Toyota Center Saturday night to see the reunited '80s boy-band sensation, it seemed not much had changed since 1986, at first glance: Girls excitedly entered the venue wearing faded, old-school or handmade NKOTB T-shirts; in this instance, however, most shirts read "NKOTBSB," as the New Kids' arguable '90s equivalent, the Backstreet Boys, co-headlined the show.

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After a dramatically long teaser intro, NKOTBSB took the stage together, opening with a medley of NKOTB's "Single" and BSB's "The One," set against an orchestral sample of Coldplay's "Viva la Vida," oddly enough.

Unless you've seen the New Kids before - or Justin Bieber, or, hell, the Beatles - you cannot begin to fathom the magnitude, and volume, of 18,000 relentlessly shrieking girls. The music wasn't particularly loud, but Aftermath found ourselves desperately searching for earplugs to soothe our ears from the screams.

Clad in black denim and bedazzled leather jackets, NKOTB performed the first solo slot with "Summertime," from 2008's The Block. Next, BSB took the stage with "The Call." The trade-off continued all night, which worked surprisingly effectively; the shuffle was like the antidote for A.D.D-ridden show-goers.

Within seconds of the opening beats of "You Got It (The Right Stuff)," the stadium roared with wistful glee. Sweetening the experience was the group's inclusion of the exact choreography from the song's 1988 video. Every NKOTB fan in the house melted at the familiar sight.

While the NKOTBSB union makes sense on paper, Aftermath struggled with the pairing; NKOTB and BSB were from different eras. We were in high school when BSB debuted, and remember thinking we wouldn't be caught dead listening to their music; we also never considered it particularly good. Moreover, they emerged in the same era of so many comparable acts like N'Sync and 98°; when NKOTB debuted, there were no other pop acts like them.

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But Aftermath seemed to be in the minority Saturday, as fans were clearly supportive of both acts. Girls raised handmade posters with "I LOVE NKOTB" on one side, and "I LOVE BSB" on the other; they flipped the signs accordingly.

Both groups performed with perfected choreography and enduringly high energy; they're also master flirters. Aftermath thinks every girl in Toyota Center left the venue believing she was the receiver of a blown kiss at some point during the night.

While there were sprinklings of lesser-known, new material in the bunch, we were treated to every single nostalgic hit, too. But most highlights came thanks to the New Kids' between-song banter.


Location Info

Map

Toyota Center

1510 Polk, Houston, TX

Category: Music

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16 comments
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Jayme
Jayme

25 years? NKOTB were here in concert 2 or 3 years ago. 

Neph Basedow
Neph Basedow

"It's been 25 years since New Kids on the Block *emerged* on the pop scene." Their debut album was released in 1986.  ;-)

LeatherMcWhip
LeatherMcWhip

One hand clapping against another makes a very nice sound for....Rooster Boy!!!

Kathryn Pipes Stewart
Kathryn Pipes Stewart

Here, let a Backstreet fan help you understand the meaning behind mashing Backstreet and New Kids with Coldplay's Vida La Vida. All it takes is knowing the lyrics--"...I used to rule the world/Seas would rise when I gave the word/Now in the morning I sleep alone/Sweep the streets I used to own.....One minute I held the key/Next the walls were closed on me/And I discovered that my castles stand/Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand...Lyrics pretty much sum up the fickle nature of being on top of the pop world one minute, next you're a nostalgic act. I will admit this was one of the best concerts I'd seen in years and I was impressed by both groups completely-they are true professionals and give their all to the audience.  I was not familiar with NK's song catalog but the songs were fun. Backstreet pulled out some older songs not heard in concert for decades like 10,000 Promises, Get Down and their polyphonic harmonies were spot on! I can't recommend this concert enough!

Misty
Misty

I am happily surprised that A) HP actually covered this show, and B) allowed someone who isn't a hater and truly likes the band to attend and review the concert.

Nice review, Neph. Thanks.

ArchieLeach
ArchieLeach

My inner 12-year-old is happy.  I was amazed that they still could move that way cause I sure as hell can't.  Not anymore. 

Monica R.
Monica R.

This is the best article I have read thus far covering the show!! I was there sitting front row, center at the "tip" and I was there with my awesome husband. I was one of the girls that you are referring to with a double-sided sign!! One side read "I Luv Jordan" and the other read "I Luv AJ." I was the short, dark-haired Hispanic girl standing between 2 photogs (I think it was you guys) screeching and flipping my sign like a mad woman. AJ McLean of BSB actually came down the stairs and off the stge & stood nose-to-nose with me and sang to me at one point. My sign worked!!! Hey, did your guys happen to get video or a pic of that special moment between me & AJ by chance?? Lol. ;O)

Neph Basedow
Neph Basedow

I'm glad you had so much fun at the show! I don't believe we had a videographer at the show, but I'd suggest asking around some BSB message boards.

Marcsmall
Marcsmall

The fact that you reviewed this show and not the Widespread show says everything about what is wrong with this city and why the Houston Press fell off hard. You Fail.

I LUV NKOTB!
I LUV NKOTB!

Oh, and as for your snarky remark...you obviosuly have NO IDEA as to the power of the NKOTB Blockhead fans or you would have never made that ignorant comment. I will be sure to send my BlockHead sisters over here to put you in check! Lol. :P

James
James

What?  Who the hell cares about Widespread?  This was New Kids on the Block, homes!  You don't just NOT cover NKOTB when they roll through your town, that'd be ridiculous.  You probably don't even like big butts, or you do and you lie about it.  Ugh.

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