Review: 02/20/01, Denver

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Date: Feb 21, 2001
Submitted By: Newsdiva D

~*~*Thanks to Gina~*~*

Backstreet Boys best ever? No but good

By Mark Brown, News Popular Music Critic

You do this job long enough, you learn a few things. You learn that if you go to a Backstreet Boys concert and you don't say it was the best show you've ever seen, you're inundated with angry messages the next day.

So with no further ado:

"This was the best show I've ever seen," Rachel said.

Granted, she said it before the show started.

"Why is everyone screaming when there's nobody on the stage?" Rachel asked.

Anticipation, honey.

"Oh," she said. "Do you have any earplugs?"

Rachel's in the first grade and female. She's the audience the Backstreet Boys are trying to impress with its weepy ballads and polished pop. I'm not; I'm old enough to vote and I shave.

People of my age and gender might disagree with Rachel; they might be tempted to write that the classic '70s funk played on the PA system before the concert was by far the best music of the night.

And they may be right, but they'd be missing the point. With an intricate light show, pristine sound, Grammy-caliber presentation and enough fireworks to make Kiss blush, the four Backstreet Boys brought the Black and Blue tour to town and kept even the shortest attention spans rapt. And with $20 programs and $30 T-shirts, they made even the fattest wallets slim.

Wait -- four Backstreet Boys? Yep. Kevin Richardson -- he of the snowboard-injury-arm-in-the-sling last time Boys played here -- missed the show entirely after flying to a photo shoot in L.A. and being unable to get back in time due to the weather. Refunds were offered, but few were taken.

The result, though, was a more spontaneous show than last time. The four singers had to cover for their missing partner, loosening up the scripted performances. And a genuinely funny round of Happy Birthday to mark Brian Littrell's 25th birthday got the mood loose early on.

And everything the fans come for was there. All the hits were served up early and often, from Larger Than Life to I Want It That Way. The harmonies were impeccable, and no, they didn't seem to lip-sync. The crack backing band was drilled into perfect, if somewhat sterile, form. Rather than the "Let's all turn this way at the same time" faux choreography other boy bands get away with, there was real, athletic, precision dancing. The staging was spectacular, with a bridge over the audience and top-notch lights and sound. And hired hands or no, the Boys seem genuinely happy to do what they're doing. It was harmless, energetic entertainment on a cold night.

Opening the show was Krystal, a combination of Goth fashion and generic, thumping ballads, destined to be the next big thing with her single Supergirl.

So are the Backstreet Boys the best band ever?

"Not ever," Rachel said.

What was, then?

"The Beatles," she said.

People of a certain age and gender might agree.

February 21, 2001,1299,DRMN_54_45167,00.html

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