Poplicious.com Review: 2/5/01, Uniondale , NY
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Date: Feb 18, 2001
Backstreet Boys' Tour Goes Out to Everyone
Written by Jessica Su
On February 4 and 5, the Backstreet Boys played to a sold out audience at the Nassau Coliseum. 16,000 fans flocked to the concert each night. Why did so many people fight for tickets, trek to Long Island, and pour out their hearts for a group of five guys? Maybe the Backstreet Boys' vocal talent attracted the concert goers. This past year, the Backstreet Boys' harmonies have become tighter and darker. Or, maybe the dance spectacle was the center of attention. Everything from hip hop in "Everyone," to ballet in "More Than That" and salsa in "Shining Star" was performed. Or, perhaps it's the vivid lighting, which rivaled the Northern Lights.
While all these aspects were amazing in and of themselves, the heart of the show revolved around the Backstreet Boys' undeniable love for their fans. The Backstreet Boys kicked off the show with "Everyone" and directly sang to the audience: "Everyone, everyone, we're standing strong 'cause of what you've done, and this one goes out to you." The homage continued as they immediately performed "Larger Than Life," a song that Brian Littrell, the golden voiced Boy, co-wrote about the fans' devotion for the Boys.
After performing upbeat songs to excite the audience, the Backstreet Boys sang ballads and literally touched the fans. They utilized the extended stage wings to get closer to everyone else who did not have floor seats. The Backstreet Boys then invited the fans into their lives, as a video played overhead and showed the Boys goof off in their dressing room. After the costume change, they popped up on the second stage, which was located in the back of the auditorium. When the Backstreet Boys sang "How Did I Fall in Love With You," it was as if they were asking the fans that very question.
To make the transition back to the main stage, the Backstreet Boys walked across a bridge that connected the two stages. It's no coincidence that the Boys sang their most personal song, "Time," when they were closest to the audience. The song, written by all five men, chronicled the evolution of their careers and lives. The Backstreet Boys decided to share this poignant song by reaching out to the audience, and at one point group member Kevin Richardson gladly accepted and displayed a fan's large drawing of the BSB.
When the Backstreet Boys reached the main stage, they pumped up the volume and the audience once again. During the songs, they threw various pieces of their costumes, including sleeves and monk-like robes, to the audience. This gesture revealed that the Backstreet Boys wanted to give a piece of themselves to the audience, literally and figuratively.
The Backstreet Boys' ability to touch each fan made the show unlike any other. They realize that behind the sea of fans lies thousands of unique lives and stories. Here are some of them…
Fourteen-year-old Okira Peralta, has followed the Backstreet Boys for four years. After watching a commercial about the Backstreet Boys' debut US album, she immediately fell in love with "the blond one," Nick Carter. After she bought the album, she was hooked. Although Okira is the age of the average teenybopper, she understands something that most critics don't. "The Backstreet Boys are not a boy band. They're five incredible guys who work hard. I'd like to call them a group...a guy group, because it's what they are," she says. Okira also appreciates the Backstreet Boys' love for the fans: "The Backstreet Boys would do nearly anything for their fans. They can be sick or whatever, and 'the show must go on' for them. They'll give them autographs whenever they have the chance and anyone can tell they truly love their fans."
Jackie Tejada, a freshman at St. John's University, agrees: "From personal experience, I can tell you that there are no other people in this industry that care more about their fans than BSB. They try so hard to please every single one of us." Although the Backstreet Boys are generous to the fans through direct contact, the Backstreet Boys also affect the fans on an everyday basis. When asked how the Backstreet Boys inspire her, Jackie replied, "How haven't BSB inspired me? They inspire me in everything I do. I mean practically everything I do has something to do with BSB...even with everyday things. I've been bothering my roomies about recycling and conservation because of Kevin's environmental organization (Just Within Reach)…I'm more aware of [environmental issues] now. I always recycled but conservation kind of wasn't always on my mind until now. I used to leave the lights on and the computer and radio on all the time."
Ever since becoming a fan during the summer of 1997, Beth Kent has also looked to the Backstreet Boys for inspiration: "Honestly, I know a lot of people say this but they really do inspire me to follow my dreams. If they could do it and still be awesome normal people, then I know I can too. They just keep me going when I'm down." Because of Beth's devotion towards the Backstreet Boys, she decided to drive from Rhode Island just to catch them on tour here. Although the journey was long, it was well worth it. She says that the Backstreet Boys' concerts are "the best I've ever seen. No lie. I've seen everyone from Mariah Carey to Bon Jovi to Third Eye Blind and basically everything in between and yet after everyone it always comes back to Backstreet. They are so sincere in their performances, it really shines through." Besides travelling to New York, Beth also went on a "Backstreet pilgrimage" last February to watch the "Into the Millennium" tour in St. Petersburg, Florida.
LaShanda Lee Bell, a Backstreet Boys fan since 1998 says, "It frustrates me…when I read a review and a critic assumes that all the fans buying the albums are under 18." She should know; she's 21. Although Shanda is stereotypically labeled as a fan who's "too old" to like the Backstreet Boys, that's not even the worst of her problems. As an African American, she has been harassed for liking a white group. She even knows of a fellow African American fan who argued with a Burger King employee about the Backstreet Boys. When the fan bought Backstreet Boys promotional CDs from Burger King, the employee questioned her about buying CDs from "white boys."
Although some people may be surprised that some Backstreet Boys fans are older than 18, they do not realize that the fans come in all ages. Perhaps the best proof of the fans' diverse ages is the Mature Fan Club, which consists of fans ages 25 and older. With 1,851 members, the Mature Fan Club strives to create a positive atmosphere for all Backstreet fans and to promote each of the charities that the Backstreet Boys endorse. Linda Hughes, a member of the MFC, lost her father to cancer, just like Kevin did. Because she can relate to Kevin, she says that she has "been inspired to participate in fundraisers for charities especially that of the American Cancer Society and that was very special to me, a way of honoring my father's memory." Besides being inspired by the Backstreet Boys themselves, Linda also enjoys their music immensely: "Their music has been able to make me forgot about pain, sorrow and made me happy and feel young again!"
Another group of fans that most people do not recognize is males. Thomas Mac Donald, who was converted by his sister, says that he likes the Backstreet Boys because "their music just flows and they tell life as it is." Unfortunately, Thomas's friends make fun of him for being a guy fan, calling him names like "loser" and "gay." However, these comments don't bother Thomas because "as long as they're making good music, I'll always be a fan. And I think that their music is sooo powerful that they can change your mood and attitude and influence many peoples' lives with their music. I am proud to be a BSB fan."
So are the thousands of other fans that attended the Nassau show.
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