Review: Blast from the past with NKOTBSB in Melbourne
Oh my god, they're back again!
NKOTBSB @ Rod Laver Arena, 18/05/12 Review: Giselle Nguyen Photo: Cameron Stewart
It's pretty likely that many of the thousands of screaming fans filling up Rod Laver Arena first experienced the embarrassing tingle of Liking A Boy due to any of the nine members on stage tonight. New Kids On The Block's Jordan Knight was celebrating his 42nd birthday, and Backstreet Boys heartthrob Nick Carter certainly isn't the spring chicken he was in 1996 - but it didn't seem to matter, as they busted the same cheesy dance moves that made them famous and sang the songs that soundtracked the slow journey towards puberty.
There were fireworks. There was confetti. There were big flames that shot out of seemingly nowhere. It really could have been the 90s - grown women were holding signs with their favourite member's name surrounded with hearts, or wearing DIY T-shirts emblazoned with glittery letters. There were clues that reminded us that we're decades ahead now, though, such as the mash up that kicked the show off, using Coldplay's "Viva La Vida", NKOTB's "Single" and BSB's "The One", and the awkward moment when the Backstreet Boys shuffled to LMFAO's "Party Rock Anthem".
If you squinted, though, the choreographed dance moves were exactly the same as they were back in the glory days, except there's something significantly more disturbing about forceful pelvic thrusts and crotch grabs from men who are reaching their forties.
The two groups mainly stuck to their own tunes, joining together every once in a while for a medley. "All you people can't you see, can't you see? NKOTBSB," they sang during the Backstreet Boys' "Larger Than Life". Some appropriations, such as that one, were truly cringe-worthy; but some things that should have brought cringes instead brought feelings of envy and delight. Yes, the Backstreet Boys picked four lucky ladies from the crowd, claiming it was the first time they'd ever done so (of course), sat them on chairs and serenaded them with "I'll Never Break Your Heart". And yes, every single other person in the room, probably including bored boyfriends and husbands, was a little bit jealous.
It was probably the Backstreet Boys who held more command of the room, though NKOTB's massive numbers - such as "You Got It (The Right Stuff)", "Step By Step", "Cover Girl" and "Please Don't Go Girl", with an appropriately cheesy extended solo from Joey McIntyre - reduced plenty of grown people in the room to blubbering messes. As did, grotesquely, every member of NKOTB's propensity to roll their shirts up seductively, exposing flesh that was, admittedly, rather toned - all things considered.
The costume changes swung between awesome and awful - from all-white suits to matching Australia track suits that would make our founding fathers weep - and when any of the members ran through the crowds it incited near hysteria, causing respectable people to absolutely lose it.
A tour like this is so enjoyable because of how deliciously corny it is. It's equal parts amazing and harrowing that men who have seen much better days are still plugging away at this - but judging from the reaction of the crowd tonight, their glory days are far from over. Or perhaps it's just fun strolling down memory lane with them to the days when they really did rule the world.
Now we'll just hang out for the ultimate boy band tour of 2030 - The 1nteD. Maybe on Zayn Malik's 37th birthday. You heard it here first.