Backstreet Boys at Bayou Music Center, 12/18/2013
Backstreet's back...all right?
There comes a point when it's disingenuous to keep calling these nostalgic boy bands "boys," and we've definitely reached that point here. There's nothing boyish about these men. They're fathers, husbands and Little League coaches.
There also comes a point when it's time for these nostalgia acts to call it a day; a time when they should pack up their harmonized wares for greener, more family-oriented pastures. Luckily for both Backstreets and their fans, it's not that time yet.
Throngs of glittered, sign-bearing Backstreet Boys fans -- both the original '90s fans and a new generation -- made their way to Bayou Music Center Wednesday, where the Boys were scheduled to play their second Houston concert of the year. It's a little strange to see adult women in side ponytails and glitter shirts, but perhaps the dress-up is part of what drives this whole nostalgia trend.
Folks who grew up worshiping these boy bands get to play the part they may have missed in their younger years, while reliving the moments of their youth. But the artists get to play into that, too: when they take the stage, they get to step back into those old dancing shoes and pop and lock it for a couple of hours in front of a massive number of screaming women.
Oh, how the women in Bayou screamed. From the first note of first opener Plain White T's "Hey There Delilah," those women shrieked at insane decibels. Yes, everyone loves Delilah, but it was a bit strange to have bedazzled women jumping up and down to a folksy, silly love song. But whatever. They were excited, I suppose, and Delilah does seem like a rad chick.
Second opener James Blunt was about as mellow as one can get in terms of his music, and it seemed strange to have him follow the T's. Backstreet -- with their synchronized dance moves, flirty facial expressions and flat-out boy-band motif -- are the epitome of high-energy. That's their entire job, other than singing in harmony. They're supposed to get the women screaming. I wasn't sure how Blunt's sickly sad songs were going to please these folks.
In spite of the juxtaposition to everything Backstreet, Blunt pulled it off well. People were stoked to hear him belt out his depressing, lovelorn songs, and the crowd's approval was evident from the roaring response to "You're Beautiful." Those singer-songwriter ballads, even the ones where Blunt took the stage solo, with only a piano to accompany him, didn't quell the excitement in the air over the Backstreet Boys.
I, however, contemplated hanging myself from the rafters in response. Man, those songs are depressing. James, you're a fantastic artist, but perhaps a few more upbeat songs would make you less of a downer. Just one or two, please?
By the time Blunt had finished his final Captain Depresso song, plus an awkward crowd-surf to some pretty mellow music, it was well after 9 p.m., which felt like an awfully late start considering the Backstreet Boys (and myself) are damn near entering geriatric territory.
Review continues on the next page.