Is the existence of a ‘boy band’ whose members are already on their way to fifty? A Backstreet Boys it was proposed to them years ago to remove the ‘boys’ and stay on backstreetbut they said nanay, because that was his mark and his talismanand there they are, releasing regenerative albums and filling pavilions as in their golden age: 18,000 fans (sold out) entertained them this Thursday on their return to the Palau Sant Jordi, the setting of their most epic triumphs, in the late 90s.
Naked stage (with its catwalks and its video), just wrapped in a web of ‘leds‘, because there was no object more interesting than themselves: idols of yesterday’s quinceañeras, replicating the remote choreographic routines with meritorious dynamism and showing off their voices, which in their day were in charge of highlighting to ward off the ‘Milli Vanilli effect’. The grace of Backstreet Boys is that they remain the same, the five of them, and with this they transmit a message of cohesion and resistance through time.
The ‘DNA’ campaign (the album they released in 2019) has refreshed their career, and they went through it with some care, slipping uneasiness to keep up with its r’n’b plots and rich electronic tracks. There was the dark ‘groove’ from ‘New love’, injected into a welcome firework with winks to old milestones with the brand of the Swedish Max Martin (you have to see what Britney Spears from 1999 sounds like ‘The call’), with a full stop for the heartfelt ballad ‘Show me the meaning of feeling lonely’ and their voices in contention breaking hearts. All this, it must be said, without musicians on stage, or behind the scenes. Scandal? Pop, and ‘entertainment’, can also be that.
Operating as a group of five soloists is phenomenal for dosing efforts. Everyone had their moment while their partners played slippery. Howie Dorough took the opportunity to practice the Spanish of his Puerto Rican mother (“thanks to Spain for its support of so many years”) and Nick Carter, that blond boy whose photos in ‘Super Pop’ covered so many school folders (the youngest of the combo, 42 ), reminded us that next year, Backstreet Boys will be 30 years old. “30? ‘A long time’! & rdquor ;, he exclaimed in amazement, delighting in the sight of the full stands and practicing linguistic contortions: “I love you, I love you, lots of kisses & rdquor ;.
underpants in the air
Though the concert was not short (about thirty songs, two hours), flowed without flagrant voltage drops. There was a bit of comedy: AJ McLean and Kevin Richardson (the senior, 51), changing clothes behind a screen and throwing their underwear at the electrified ‘Golden Circle’ girl, on the way to halftime ‘Quit playing games ( with my heart)’.
But backstreet boys conqueror effect worked, above all, with the entire quintet, and in the sequences with vocal purity, exhibiting harmonic refinement in ‘As long as you love me’ and, even more so, in that new number called ‘Breathe’, shared ‘a cappella’. A lot of complicity in the environment, open-hearted promises (“Backstreet Boys will last forever”) and a trail of emotional celebration of the road traveled: ‘No place’ was accompanied by images that showed the singers with their partners and children.
Backstreet Boys will have been a teenage phenomenon, that prejudice-generating artifact, but his list of ‘hits’ for history is as impeccable as that of other more respected pop figures. ‘I’ll never break your heart’, which they tackled to a large extent in its Spanish version, softened the stands, and ‘Everybody (Backstreet’s back)’ and ‘We’ve got it goin’ on’, again, with the permission of Max Martin (and Denniz Pop), resounded with showy sensuality, with their soulful voices and their imperial choruses, on the way to a denouement that included ‘I want it that way’ and ‘Larger tan life’.
So yes, it is reasonable, and practicable, to continue being a ‘boy band’ at 40, and at 50, and stretch the pop fantasy as long as conditions allow it, the material is regenerated and the public is still there to reserve such sincere howls like the first time.