New Kids On The Backstreet Boys on April 21st 2012

Review: Aidan Cuffe
Photos: Sean Smyth

It’s 2012 for those keeping track. It’s more Old Kids On The Block and Backstreet Men than the names they came up with 25 and 19 years ago respectively. Despite their additional years, their ability to drive women wild has not particularly diminished. What happens when you take two chart topping heartthrob boy bands, put them in one massively co-ordinated stage showpiece mixing a dash of pyrotechnics, a dollop of choreography and occasionally remove their shirts and rattle off hit after hit for two hours. Well you would be witnessing one of the best pop shows to roll in the town in recent memory.

I was in the minority as I wade through the sea of ladies to find my seat. Looking around, hoping to find others of the male species to validate my presence at this show was a fruitless endeavour. The atmosphere was out of this world, you could feel the electricity in the air as an X-factor style introduction sequence gets the crowd screaming wildly, as visuals of each member illicit vociferous shrieks.

Opening with a medley of Single* / I’ll Be The One to a backing track of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida, it was clear from the start this would be an assault on all your senses. Out come the rising platforms, fog machines, pyrotechnics and dance moves. It’s a ’90s pop merry-go-round which becomes a chart hit tag team battle royale, in a fight for boy band supremacy. This format proves to be one of the key elements in making this such an entertaining show. Hits from the New Kids On The Block catalogue like Dirty Dancing, The Right Stuff, Cover Girl and Tonight all get an airing while the Backstreet Boys strung together hits like The Call, Larger Than Life, Incomplete and Everybody among some of the large list of chart hits on their set list.

Cover Girl provides our highlight from the New Kids repertoire, whilst Larger Than Life and perhaps Everybody using AC/DC’s “Back In Black” as a backing track, prove highlights from our Backstreet Boys offerings. Both acts changing up some of their hit songs add a fresh dimension to the back catalouge. The combination of hit after hit, rotating between the acts  is the key factor in what is so compelling about this show. Not one trick is missed with “Dublin” inserted to multiple tracks, Irish flags, Olé Olé’s, Irish tracksuit tops, claiming we’re the best and loudest crowd, bringing four members of the crowd onstage to serenade, to a New Kids vs Back Street finale to close the show. It was a pop concert 101 check-list and these veterans barely stopped to take a breath.

Stunning lighting and visuals, quality styling, theatrics and stage tricks create a phenomenal production and arguably can be described as one of the best pop shows you are likely to witness. The crowd gets a tip of the hat for the excitable and fun atmosphere created within The O2, making this reviewer feel fifteen years old again. If only! Will more pop acts tag team in the future? Who knows, but certainly walking away from this gig it has eclipsed all pop offerings I have seen roll through Dublin.

(Originally cited the track Single as Boyfriend, corrected)

New Kids on the Block and Back Street Boys Photo Gallery

Photos: Sean Smyth

New Kids On The Backstreet Boys Setlist
Single / I’ll Be The One –  NKOTBSB
Summertime – KNOTB
The Call. – BSB
Dirty Dancing – NKOTB
Get Down – BSB
The Right Stuff – NKOTB
Larger Than Life – BSB
Didn’t I / If I Go Away / Valentine Girl – KNOTB
Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely – BSB
10,000 Promises – BSB
I’ll Never Break Your Heart – BSB
Drowning – BSB
Incomplete – BSB
Step By Step / Push It medley – NKOTB
Cover Girl – NKOTB
My Favourite Girl – NKOTB
Tonight – NKOTB
Shape of my Heart – BSB
As Long As You Love Me – BSB
All I Have To Give / We’ve Got It Going On – BSB
Quit Playing Game With My Heart – BSB
I’ll Be Loving You – KNOTB
I Want It That Way – BSB
Don’t Turn Out The Lights – NKOTBSB
Everybody – NKOTBSB
Dropkick Murphys – Shipping Out To Boston intro into
Hangin Tough into We Will Rock You