CDNOW Review: 01/22/01, Fort Lauderdale FL

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Date: Jan 23, 2001
Source: CDNOW's allstar
Submitted By: Teena

Backstreet Boys Tour Kickoff Is Nothing Short Of Bliss

Overdoing it with lines like "Baby, please try to forgive me / Stay here, don't put out the glow," the first words sung in the Backstreet Boys' "Shape of My Heart," has sparked one-way love affairs with pre-teen girls everywhere, and made the quintet rich.

So in their first show on their Black & Blue World Tour Monday (Jan. 22) at the National Car Rental Center in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. why wouldn't they overdo it some more?

At least give them credit for thinking up a long litany of ways to overdo it. Give them credit for the strangely sinister opening: A jumbo screen showing meteors drifting toward helpless Earth then exploding on impact, as loud blasts were detonated, after which the glossy-black-caped Boys rose up through the smoky stage. Give them credit for being shamelessly chummy: Slapping hands with their dancers as they bounded about, ribbing Howie D. about his long hair. Even give them credit for the screen's environmental montage: Whales, logging, mountain streams, and oily wading birds during "The Answer to Our Lives," a song Kevin Richardson announced has a "save-the-world kind of vibe to it," a thoughtless contrast to the annihilistic intro.

Overdone as it was, it was entertaining. If you happened to be wearing braces, though, the 90-minute, sold-out show was nothing short of bliss.

A bonus was these shenanigans gave the audience plenty to pay attention to while the Boys sang. Recorded, their music has a certain lilt. But too often Monday night, they seemed to try too hard, and the sound was tinny and shrill, especially during solos' high notes, including Brian Littrell straining during "I Want It That Way." Only Richardson always just let it flow, and always sounded good because of it.

The show was well-paced, sprinting forth with "Everyone" -- seemingly written expressly to open concerts with -- "Larger Than Life," and "Shining Star," then easing with a Richardson monologue into "What Makes You Different (Makes You Beautiful)" and "Yes I Will."

Later, a string of slow tunes whetted appetites for the lively "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)." But the Boys couldn't resist this predictable moment: A.J. McLean bothered by a phony cell-phone call mid-monologue to kick off "The Call."

They hardly needed to, but the Boys made an extra effort to connect, including a playful detour into their dressing room, shown on the big screen, as they shot water guns and Silly String at each other.

Some awkwardness, though, was plain to see. During "Yes I Will," they sometimes didn't know what to do with the glittery canes they used as dancing props. And Nick Carter, wearing a T-shirt two sizes too small, once strutted around faux-tough then suggestively grabbed a female dancer, oddly, as if he didn't know whether he was in the mood to start a fight or make out.

The band, seeming to realize the ephemeral nature of youth-pop music, is relishing the spotlight while it can. And the crowd had more fun because of that alone.

-- Tom Collins

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