A packed house of screaming young ladies — most alongside their patient, ear-plugging parents — witnessed the latest touring production from the Backstreet Boys at Staples Center on Wednesday, an action-packed, no-expense-spared night of light pop music, high-energy dancing and absurd theater that elicited the usual hysterical reactions from the assembled youngsters.
Show opened with lots of fire and explosions, a la Kiss, which, combined with outer space video footage on the giant backdrop, gave the appearance of asteroids striking the planet. From out of the smoky destruction arose our five conquering heroes, dressed in long shiny black coats and singing “Everyone,” one of the tracks from the Boys’ latest money-printing machine “Black & Blue” (Jive).
The ensuing 105-minute show, which included many of the hit tracks from the group’s last two albums, was a smart mix of heartbreaking ballads (“Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely”), Journey-like anthems (“More Than That”) and life-affirming dance numbers, like “Shining Star,” which climaxed with a Broadway-style routine from the 10 coed dancers.
Each of the five guys got a chance to speak with the fans between songs; based on screams alone, Nick Carter and Brian Lattrell are the two most popular members. Costume changes and breaks for the Boys were facilitated by use of candid and backstage video footage shown on the giant, crystal ball-like screen. Scenes of fans meeting the group caused many on-hand to shriek with joy.
The excitement level reached its peak during a winning mid-show read of “How Did I Fall in Love,” which the quintet performed from a small stage at the far end of the arena. The guys then made their way back to the main stage during “Time” via an impressive suspension bridge that dropped from above.
Show closed with a pair of “Black & Blue” singles, “The Call,” which was set up when A.J. McLean had to stop the show to take a cell call from his girlfriend (more screams), and the graceful “Shape of My Heart.”