Radio City Music Hall, July 27
“This is Music for the Masses”
From a thing I found:
Backstreet Boys’ band member AJ McLean thinks that their new album, Never Gone, is different from much of today’s music, because it’s appropriate for fans of all ages. AJ says: “This is music for the masses. This is something that can bring people together. They can all sit with their family and enjoy a good quality record. This is not a record that parents feel they have to be cautious or wary of their kids listening to or that it might be a bad influence on people. We always try to strive on doing positive music and if you listen to what’s on the radio nowadays it’s pretty much about how much money you got or how many cars you got or how much jewelry you got or even how many times you’ve been shot.”
Two Things About AJ McLean
After rehab, those close to AJ say they saw an immediate change in his personality. AJ now recognizes that he needs to differentiate himself form the pop star persona. He needed to learn that when he walks off the stage, he becomes Alex.
AJ is also a big animal lover and is the proud owner of 3 dogs: Tank, Daisy and Serenity. Serenity is named after the prayer he would say every day while in recovery. “People think I’m a bad ass, but I’m not,” AJ confesses. “I play with my puppies, and I’m a huge animal lover – just a big sap.”
Before the Boys took the stage, speakers pushed Brian Eno‘s “In Dark Trees”, which set off a torrent of conversation around me:
-This sounds like the jungle.
-No it sounds like the future!
-I wonder if the Backstreet Boys have been to the jungle.
-I don’t know but they’ve definitely been to space.
-No that’s the other guy.
Home-spun tour shirts, self-tans, caked faces, platinum boobs–a sea of B+T estrogen I’ve avoided since my high school days writing inside scoops on all-girls schools for the local all-boys rag. The slightest on-stage movement, and this is before the good ole Boys even come out, is glowsticked and fiercely cat-called, 50,000 boppers strong. “They must feel so powerful,” a friend says, and I couldn’t agree more. Here are five boys-nay-men on tour for no other reason than to remind themselves how important they were when they were in their twenties and their fans were in their elevens. And after the show, when they’re calling their wives instead of their mothers, stabbing their pillows instead of themselves, taking narcotics for real because their backs hurt from rocking or whatever they think they’re doing, the thought’s reassured and pretty damn comforting.
Alternate Names for the Backstreet Boys’ 2005 “Never Gone” Tour
-“Still Here” Tour
-“Go Ahead and Try to Kill Us: We’re Still Here” Tour
-“Gone (Psych!)” Tour
-“Had To Go, But Came Right Back–This Time For Good” Tour
-“We’re Seriously Never Going” Tour
-“Going, Going, Never Gone” Tour
-“Backstreet–Always Back” Tour
Backstreet Old Dudes
If the jump from 19 years old to however old the Boys are now– if it’s that drastic and debilitating and depressing in their case, why play it up? Between costume sets, projections of the early BSB days kept the crowd rapt, and made for a nice retrospective for BSB neophytes ahem ahem. High energy videos, elaborate in-concert dance sequences, buffed chests, explosions–why would Backstreet want, however subtly, to remind fans who just paid a billion dollars to attend, how boring and awful this current tour is by contrast? Instead of trapeze art we got Nick Carter lifting a microphone stand above his head; instead of skateboards and gunfights and handplants we got derby hats and smoke machines and high-fives on the sneak; instead of firefighter pants with no shirts, we got costumes that didn’t match, only “complemented.”
Case In Point
At the end of one of their new slow jams, AJ looked like he was about to pull off all his clothes–blazer, t-shirt, tattoos–in one shot. Instead, he opened his blazer like a velvet curtain, revealing no skin, just his $400+ Japanese t-shirt.
Still this show was the most incredible effort to entertain I’ve ever seen, and the Boys, despite some nasty addictions, spiritual awakenings, and overall increases in creepiness, still retained their prefab personalities. Badboy AJ McLean had no trouble having trouble with Radio City authority, running up the sidesteps to get closer to his fans starstruck by his rebel tattoos and dreamy facial hair. Howie D a/k/a Sweet D remains famous for being the Boys’ only member not affected by his fame, which means he still wears party shirts and is as boring on stage as he is in real life (I met him at a New Years party). Nick Carter remains the jokester, his biggest prank being the considerable amount of weight he’s put on since the last tour, a prank that kept him in mostly black costumes throughout the night, covered in sweat. Littrell remained charismatic, at least on paper, and Kevin Richardson, the group’s permanent werewolf wildcard, pushed the “Creepy Backstreet Boy” envelope harder than ever, his best/worst moment inevitably when he would air guitar along with the back-up band, strumming the air by his zipper like a two-year-old baby boy’s sexual awakening. We laugh, then we chastise.
There was a lot more than air guitaring actually–I saw air drumming, air bass-playing, air piano, air singing. Maybe the Boys are anxious to assert their maturity by proving to their fans they know a thing or two about playing instruments; maybe they were just nervous, or bored, or both.
Howie D Says Something Hilarious
“I’m gonna take you back to the beginning, where it all began…”
A Thing About Nick Carter
Thus decided, Carter chose The Lions Gate production, The Brew, from director Toby Hooper who is best known for his productions of the “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” and “Poltergeist.” Again Carter teamed up with producer Dan Levin, with filming on the feature which began in October 2004. In The Brew, Carter stars as Ian, a college student who inherits a brewery and decides to sell it for money. As he and his friends clean the place, lurking in the cellar are some long-dead ancestors who have been locked away, living off beer made from human blood. The ancestors get loose and lock the kids in the brewery, where the feeding begins. Movie co-stars include Amanda Plummer.’
This whole Backstreet quasi-reunion tour thing would have been better as a real reunion tour thing and thirty years from now–no pressure (or ability) to cheat age or creepiness or current proclivities, no need to seem mature in the face of teenagers who, at least I would hope, want nothing to do with maturity except cheaper fees for rental cars, no song or dance, no concert hall, just a tray of sandwiches, some Amstel Light, the Eno remasters and a backstreet roundtable discussion about stuff in general and nothing too particular.
Riff Raff thanks Jelena Kristic for Backstreet photos.