Daily Northwestern Review: 2/13/01, Chicago

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Date: Feb 18, 2001
Source: Daily Northwestern
Submitted By: Gina

Backstreet Boys light on music, heavy on theatrics

By Mina Kim
Daily Northwestern
Northwestern U.

(U-WIRE) EVANSTON, Ill. -- "Do you like these pants? I don't. They make me look like Vanilla Ice!" Way to insult your stylist, A.J.

The tattooed crooner diverted the crowd's attention with his intellectual banter while the other four "BBoys" did one of their many costume changes. A.J. is the wild child. Nick is the heartthrob. Brian and Kevin are the unattainable married ones (sigh!). And poor Howie needs a new hairstylist.

Sitting amid 15,000 screaming young girls is quite an experience. I left the show with my ears ringing more than they did after Gwar last year. Too bad earplugs cost $10. Speaking of commercialism, you can count on the boy bands to go all-out with overpriced nasty T-shirts, tour books, mugshots and you-name-it.

Here's a rough breakdown of the demographic at Tuesday's Backstreet Boys concert at the Allstate Arena. Ninety percent of the audience were girls ages 6 to 11. About 8 percent were parental chaperones, 1 percent were college-age and up, and the last 1 percent were poor little boys who will deny having been there in 10 years.

Now the most important part -- the music. Or rather, the presentation. It goes without saying the production was grand, complete with a cutting-edge backup dance troupe, skilled pit musicians, pyrotechnics and a complex stage with trap doors. No teen pop setup would be complete without the "special feature" that brings the performance closer to the back of the stadium. For Britney, it was a flying "magic" carpet. For the Backstreet Boys, it was a giant bridge that stretched lengthwise across the arena. What a treat for those people in the back who paid $1500 less than those in the front row!

Needless to say, the Backstreet Boys sang their hearts out, and they seemed genuinely fond of their fans. They even stopped mid-set to dedicate a song they wrote themselves to the girls in the house -- a special Valentine's Day treat.

I couldn't distinguish a word sung in this masterpiece written by the Boys, but all in all, it didn't matter. I left the show in a lofty mood, pondering the deeper meaning behind "I Want It That Way."

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