Backstreet Boys at The O2 Arena, London, UK – 18th June 2019

Posted by Bianca on Tuesday Jun 18, 2019 Under Pop, Pop-rock

Review by Cain Suleyman with Photography by Michael Sibbons

What has the world come to? It’s been making me so distraught! What the hell has happened to boybands??? They’re all in mismatched clothes; they move about the stage with no purpose; and sometimes even have the audacity to play live instruments. That’s not what I want. I want matching outfits, synchronised dancing, over the top harmonies and cheddar cheesy key changes! It’s a good job that the world’s number one selling boyband stopped by England’s capital for a couple of shows. Back to basics and back in town. BACKSTREET IS OFFICIALLY BACK, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

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I surely wanted to be with The Backstreet Boys as they open with ‘I wanna be with you’. It was perfect. Like time had never passed from their very first album. They own the massive stage situated in London’s O2 Arena. Thousands of fan girls screaming every single word and screaming in worship of these god like human beings. But hang on. The typical scene of a boyband concert is screaming teenage girls. So why am I surrounded by middle aged women from a wide range of cultures? Well to answer that, you need to go back to 1996 when the boys bursted onto the scene. At this point in their career, gig goers would’ve been in their mid to late teens. Fast forward 23 years and all of these fan girls are now in their mid 30’s/40’s. But from the sounds of everyone in the arena, they were still teenagers for this two hour period.

After a little calm in their set, they pull out a cheeky bit of ‘Get Down (you’re the one for me)’ which sends a massive wave around the crowd and no one can resist the urge to boogey. The boys all spread across their pentagonal catwalk that encroached into the floor seating area, touching star struck fans as they go. They met in the middle to deliver their heart touching ‘Show me the meaning of being lonely’. Their voices sounded extremely well considering the duration of their careers.

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A little later in the show two strikingly handsome members of the band are left alone on stage. We’re informed that everyone else is doing a quick change and that they were left with no choice but to change behind small screens on stage. This was obviously popular with the females in the crowd. A little shoulder is shown by Kevin Richardson, who goes on to ‘return the favour to all the girls who threw bras’ at them in the early stages of their fame. The proceed to throw various items of clothing into the audience, not withholding their underwear, which is met by a fit of screams from those lucky enough to catch a piece of signed memorabilia that will be treasured forever.

I’ve got a little message for the band, if I may. I don’t care who you are. Where you’re from. What you did. ‘As long as you love me’ I’ll stay a true and loyal fan forever. This is the next instalment that begins the closing act of the gig. Refined choreography sees perfectly symmetrical compositions where one hand is on the mic while the trailing arm makes a slow rise to match the groove and feel of the track. A regular occurrence throughout the song, this has my heart melting. I only wish I had experienced their musical journey from the start. Unfortunately their debut album was two years before my time, but I still appreciate their sound and completely love their music.

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‘Everybody (Backstreet’s back)’. Did I already mention that? Am I original? Yeah! Am I the only one (who loves the backstreet boys)? No way! In this song, they are ‘everything I need’ and I join 20,000 others in dancing my socks off. But unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and this experience is finished with ‘I want it that way’.

It was an experience that I’ll never forget. ‘I want it that way’ is a song that brings me back to my childhood and I love it all the same today! So I couldn’t believe I was witnessing this live in my early 20’s. It was perfect. The dance moves were everything I could’ve imagined; the harmonies were everything I could’ve hoped for. The gig couldn’t have been put together any better. Thank you Backstreet Boys for providing me and thousands of others with your music that will be passed down for generations.

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Setlist:
Everyone
I Wanna Be With You
The Call
Don’t Want You Back
Nobody Else
New Love
Get Down (You’re the one for me)
Chateau
Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely
Incomplete
Undone
More Than That
The Way it Was
Chances
Shape of my Heart
Drowning
Passionate
Quit Playing Games (With my heart)
As Long as You Love Me
No Place
Breathe
Don’t wanna Lose You Now
I’ll never Break Your Heart
All I Have To Give
Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)
We’ve Got It Goin’ On
It’s Gotta Be You
That’s the Way I Like It
Get Another Boyfriend
The Once
I Want It That Way

Don’t Go Breaking My Heart
Larger than Life

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