Boston Herald Review: 01/22/01, Fort Lauderdale FL

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Date: Jan 23, 2001
Source: The Boston Herald
Submitted By: Hani

Back to basics: Boys kick off new Back and Blue tour

Music Review/by Sarah Rodman

Backstreet Boys, Crystal Harris, at National Car Rental Arena, Ft. Lauderdale, last night.

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Never let it be said that the Backstreet Boys don't work hard.

The multiplatinum vocal group - who, now aged 20 through 29, are surely regretting that name - kicked off their ``Black and Blue'' tour last night in Florida and two songs into their spectacle-filled and thoroughly entertaining hour-and-40-minute set they already were soaked with sweat.

Of course, perspiration - and the leather pants that create it - has its advantages. For every glistening drop beading down their sinewy, hearthrobby biceps there was an attendant scream from the 15,000-plus sold-out audience at the National Car Rental Center.

And although the fans on this first of three nights were overwhelmingly female, their ages ranged from preschoolers to middle-aged moms to even older couples and groups of men with no kids in tow.

The Boys - Brian Littrell, A.J. McLean, Howie Dorough, Kevin Richardson and Nick Carter - did not disappoint them.

The night began - as is now de rigueur - with an ``Armageddon''-like Outer Space film sequence broadcast on the huge circular video screen above the sleek silver stage set. The group emerged from under the stage in an eruption of dry ice singing their recent fan ode ``Everyone'' clad in black leather, the first of five costume changes. That segued neatly into their funky, similarly themed hit counterpart ``Larger Than Life.''

The quintet really shined on the handful of great pop songs in their three album repertoire like the buoyant ``I Want it That Way"'' and the lovely ballad``How Did I Fall in Love With You,'' with the latter sung from a small stage at the back of the arena. They bolstered their cliched but melodic songs like ``Shape of My Heart'' with impassioned vocals and made their pure treacly pap, like the wretched ``Yes I Will'' almost painless to sit through with their smooth moves.

Their flexible backing dancers - all 10 of them - and seven-man band backedthem ably as warm, fuzzy images of clouds, sunsets and languid pools floated by on the big screen. The cameras also took a ``peek'' into the group's under-the-stage dressing room as they changed.

The technical team behind the scenes clearly worked with the same militaristic precision as the group's choreographer because there were few opening-night glitches.

The only big problem was a gangplank high above the crowd that was clearly supposed to carry the boys from the back of the auditorium to the front didn't deploy. It can be assumed that any kinks will be worked out long before the group make their way to the Boston area this summer.

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