I can think of countless childhood classmates more deserving of the opportunity to see NKOTBSB, the boybandaganza that invaded the Honda Center last night. Particularly the girls at my school who would smooch posters of Donnie Wahlberg taped to the inside of their lockers and wear buttons that say "The Right Stuff" on their acid-wash denim jackets. And yet I, a New Kids sorta-fan who could never tell the difference between brown-haired cutie Joey and brown-haired cutie Jordan, was lucky enough to get the golden ticket.
By the end of the night, I was squealing my lovestruck heart out with preteen abandon. OMG, do you think they'll sign my cassette tape?
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
NKOTBSB, of course, is New Kids on the Block + Backstreet Boys, a summer tour collaboration that banks on giddy nostalgia. New Kids' Joey McIntyre addressed the generational gap in the female-dominant audience, saying, "For some of us, it feels just like 1989. For some of us, it feels just like 1999." Which just proves that women of all ages can enjoy synchroized pelvic thrusts by guys in color-coordinating outfits.
The show opened with all nine members of NKOTBSB (five from NKOTB; four from BSB--the fifth guy Kevin Richardson left the group in '06) joining forces for an energetic mash-up of Backstreet Boys' "(I'll Be) the One" and New Kids' recent track "Single," doused with some of Coldplay's "Viva La Vida." It was enough to show that though the boys have grown up, they still got it.
What followed was a tag-teamin' supershow with both groups performing their respective hits. NKOTB sang their 2008 single, "Summertime," then took all the way back to 1989 with "You Got It (The Right Stuff)," complete with their signature side-to-side kicks. Jordan Knight sang a mind-blowing falsetto on a version of the Delfonics' "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)," and McIntyre slid down the stage on his knees as he finished off "Please Don't Go Girl," which had the audience roaring.
BSB had less impressive vocals, but were just as fun to watch. Their ballads were heartfelt and swoon-worthy. For "I'll Never Break Your Heart," they serenaded four girls (including one little one) on stage and handed them roses. Later, in one of the most memorable moments of the entire concert, they walked through the audience, hugging (!) fans as they belted "Shape of My Heart."
Throughout the show, both bands wooed ladies with hip swivels, body rolls and lyrics like,
"Oh, baby, you're so fine. I'm gonna make you mine." A bra was thrown on stage.
In the end, both groups, who really seem to genuinely like each other, sang a medley of "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)" and "Hangin' Tough." It all felt very, awesomely 1990s. Except now everyone has iPhones and is old enough to buy overpriced beer.
Christopher Victorio/OC Weekly
Critic's Bias: Yeah, I'm still having a hard time figuring out who's who.
The Crowd: Girls in neon tops holding neon signs that read, "Marry Me."
Random Notebook Dump: Stuck in my damn head: "All you people, can't you see, can't you see. N-K-O-T-B-S-B."
Single/The One (Mash-up) - NKOTBSB
Summertime - NKOTB
The Call - BSB
Dirty Dancing - NKOTB
Bye Bye Love - BSB
The Right Stuff - NKOTB
Larger Than Life - NKOTBSB
Didn't I (Blow Your Mind) - NKOTB
Valentine Girl - NKOTB
If You Go Away - NKOTB
Please Don't Go Girl - NKOTB
Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely - BSB
10,000 Promises - BSB
I'll Never Break Your Heart - BSB
Inconsolable - BSB
Drowning - BSB
Incomplete - BSB
Step By Step - NKOTB
Cover Girl - NKOTB
My Favorite Girl - NKOTB
Games - NKOTB
Click Click Click - NKOTB
Tonight - NKOTB
Shape of My Heart - BSB
As Long As You Love Me - BSB
All I Have To Give - BSB
If You Stay - BSB
Quit Playing Games (With My Heart) -BSB
I'll Be Loving You Forever - NKOTB
I Want It That Way - BSB
Don't Turn Out the Lights - NKOTBSB
Everybody (Backstreet's Back) - BSB
Hangin' Tough / We Will Rock You (Mash-up) - NKOTB
Everybody (Backstreet's Back) / Hangin' Tough (Mash-up) - NKOTBSB