Vancouver Province Review: 2/23/01, Vancouver
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The Province's Carey Gillette shares her play-by-play of the Boys' sold-out gig at GM Place Carey Gillette The Province
8:10: Seconds after Krystal sings the last notes of an impressive opening act, GM Place goes pitch-black and the screaming begins. Glowsticks are at full speed. Five shadowy figures make their way to the stage and the screams hit a higher pitch. Should have bought those $2 ear plugs. Then the lights raise and . . . false alarm. It's just some roadies getting the stage ready for the Boys. Bet they did that on purpose.
8:35: A section of fans start the wave and it continues around GM Place until . . .
8:37: The lights go out and the screams start up again. This time, though, it's for real. The giant circular screen starts a cosmic trip through space. Suddenly, flashes of fire come down from the ceiling like meteors. Brian, Howie D., AJ, Nick and Kevin rise up from trap doors on the smoke-filled stage. The fans leap to their feet, screaming. The Boys are lowered to stage-level and the show begins.
There's smoke, there's fire and there's the leather-clad Boys strutting their stuff in perfectly choreographed moves. It's obvious early on that Brian and Nick are the faves. Every time their faces are put up on the screen, the cheers get louder.
"Larger Than Life"
As the Boys switch over to this lively number from the Millennium album, they're already glistening with sweat. "Vancouver, what's happening?" yells Kevin. "We missed you guys so very much," says Howie.
The Boys come out showing a lot more skin -- well, except for Brian, who wears a long-sleeved shirt. Poor sport. At one point, Nick takes centre stage, turns around and shakes his bon-bon. Should have purchased the earplugs.
"What Makes You Different"
After a quick costume change, Kevin looks around GM Place and says, "Good Lord, there's a lot of people here tonight." (Wow, good looking and he's smart, too!) Howie kicks off the song but, as soon as the camera pans from him to Brian, the cheers get louder. Poor Howie.
"Yes I Will"
Another slow song. This time, though, they have shiny silver walking sticks to use as props. Cheesy but the fans eat it up.
"More Than That"
The Boys make their way to the upper level as the stage fills with smoke. Dancers dressed in white flowing costumes pop up from below. Very cool.
"I Want It That Way"
A definite fan fave. In a few spots, the Boys stop singing and the crowd fills in the blanks. Kevin puts his mic up to a young girl and she sings a few lines.
"Not for Me"
A short video of the Boys rehearsing and hanging out with fans gives the band time to change costumes yet again. The tape must be old 'cause Kevin's hair is super short. The group returns dressed in dark pants and black and red shirts. It's not long before the sleeves are ripped off. This time, Brian bares arms. Good boy.
"Show Me the Meaning"
The Boys play this one straight, walking up and down the long stage, touching hands with fans.
"Are you having fun yet?" AJ yells after the song. Uh, duh! Nick comes out and asks the fans if they'd like to see AJ take his clothes off. Yes, please.
One by one, the Boys drop into a box labelled "Backstreet Boys Wardrobe" and a video of the quintet in a tiny dressing room starts up on the big screen. The camera pans past AJ changing his shirt (big screams). Brian surprises AJ with silly string (big laughs). AJ turns around with a squirt gun and nails Brian (bigger laughs).
What fans don't realize, however, is that while all this is going on, the Boys have made their way to the other side of GM Place where they pop up on a second, smaller stage to sing . . .
"I'll Never Break Your Heart"
Fans who thought their seats weren't so hot are suddenly front-row. A sea of young girls rushes the stage.
The Boys sit down and relax, though every time they wave back to the crowd there's a burst of screams. Brian takes a rose from a young girl. Someone throws a plush toy at Nick but it lands six feet short of the stage. Hey, I thought the Grizzlies were out of town.
A giant catwalk is lowered from the ceiling, joining the two stages. The Boys start walking across, singing to the fans below. A little girl is lifted high over the crowd and Kevin gets down on his stomach and reaches to touch her hand. That's so sweet.
"The Answer to Our Lives"
Kevin says a few words about charities each of the Boys have started or represent as a segue to this song. He even mentions the endangered Kermode bears of B.C.
"All I Have to Give"/"If You Stay"
This was supposed to be a medley of four songs but was cut in half, probably because the show started 30 minutes late. The number is followed by a dance break, where the band members are introduced while the Boys take a breather and change clothes.
"Backstreet's back, all right!" With that, the Boys literally leap up out of nowhere in a sea of pyrotechnics. The fans jump back to their feet and start groovin'. At one point, Nick straps on a guitar and plays a few licks.
"Get Another Boyfriend"
Fans stay standing. You can tell the Boys rehearsed a lot for this show as the dancing -- some of the best seen at recent concerts -- is perfectly co-ordinated to each other and the music.
"I have some bad news for you guys," says AJ. "We only have time for one more song." Noooo! Suddenly, a phone rings and the place goes nuts. Mega glowstick action as the Boys perform their hit single from the Black & Blue album. The Boys wrap up with a "Goodnight Vancouver!"
Hey, AJ lied! Brian returns and starts singing "The Shape of My Heart." There's even more interaction with the fans. Howie's given a heart-shaped balloon. AJ empties his water bottle on the front row. Nick walks over to one side of the stage and picks up a young girl who was reaching out to him. He sits her on his lap and the two sing together. Finally, the Boys regroup at centre stage to take a bow, thank Vancouver one more time and drop off below the stage. More fireworks as the crowd gives a loud standing ovation.
10:15: The lights come back on, most fans are deaf, but everyone is smiling.
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