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Review: At Omaha show, Backstreet Boys show they've only gotten better

Review: At Omaha show, Backstreet Boys show they've only gotten better


Make fun if you want, but I admit it. The Backstreet Boys were good.

Really, really good. Better than I imagined such a thing could be.

Look, I’m not exactly the target demographic for a pop-slinging boy band.

I’m not now as an adult, and I certainly wasn’t when they were first popular either. In fact, they were antithetical to what teenaged Kevin thought was good music.

Sticky-sweet love songs synced up to perfectly coordinated lock-step dance moves? Couldn’t do it at the time. The Backstreet Boys were what I thought was wrong with music.

I’ve obviously evolved in the intervening decades since the Backstreet Boys showed up on our radios and TVs — it was the height of MTV’s “TRL” era, after all — and I have to say Sunday’s concert was quite entertaining.

I’m definitely not alone. The Backstreet Boys sold out the arena, packing an impressive audience of more than 13,000 to dance and sing and wave their arms and scream at the absolute top of their lungs when their favorite song started.

And it was deserved. These guys are really, really good at their jobs. They nail the vocals. Their harmonies are on point. The dance moves are insanely impressive. Even songs are, well, pretty good. (Cheesy? Sure. But you can’t fault a love song for its subject matter.)

The mega-popular boy band got started 26 years ago. Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson, Brian Littrell, Howie Dorough and A.J. McLean sold millions of records, inspired a lot of dance moves and made some interesting fashion choices.

You remember “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back),” “I Want It That Way,” “We’ve Got It Goin’ On” and “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)”? There was an era when they absolutely dominated radio.

And they’re still at it.

Backstreet’s back? They never really left, and the quintet has only honed its skills.

That they can still dance and sing and entertain a crowd of thousands is all the more admirable. It might be even more laudable that they seek to still enjoy each other’s presence, which they showed by telling numerous stories stretching all the way back to their earliest days.

They’re also not done making music. A new album, “DNA,” dropped this year, and while its not necessarily going to make my list of the year’s best albums, it has some enjoyable tracks. “No Place,” in particular, is a sweet love song that you’ll wanna play for your significant other.

On Sunday, the boys played a large chunk of that record and did so in a smart way: Instead of beating fans over the head with it, they sang only portions of some songs and used them as a way to tell a story about themselves, pulling the audience into the show and their new music at the same time.

Their recent Las Vegas residency must have rubbed off on the boy band, whose stage presence was spectacular and seriously evolved from when I saw them just five or so years ago.

The stage itself was a behemoth, and the five men were the only people on it, letting themselves and their well-practiced dancing be the focus of the show over backing dancers or a band.

Of course, most fans were there for their favorite songs, now semi-classic pop songs like “I Want It That Way” and “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).” When those songs began, the arena was immediately filled to bursting with screams, and the concrete floor shook as the group’s heavily female fanbase jumped up and down in excitement.

They were the biggest boy band back in 1995, and they’re the biggest one around right now. Not bad at all.

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Reporter - Entertainment/music/concert

Kevin Coffey is the music critic and entertainment reporter, covering music, movies, video games, comic books and lots more. Follow him on Twitter @owhmusicguy. Phone: 402-444-1557.

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