With summer concerts returning to FivePoint Amphitheater, the Backstreet Boys were back in Irvine Sunday night June 5th for just the second stop on their DNA World Tour. As with any boyband show, the demographic was predominantly thirtysomething females and this particular night they were all in fully party mode early and ready to scream their way through a night of classic BSB hits. The venue was nearly sold out, with only a handful of empty seats in the upper reaches of the grandstands.
The initial lineup remains intact with Brian Littrell, Kevin Richardson, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean and Nick Carter. All are now in their 40s with Richardson the oldest at 51. In standard boyband fashion, the quintet emerged together behind a wall of CO2 blasts, lasers and intense spotlights for their kickoff song, “I Wanna Be With You”. “The Call” followed immediately and saw the boys break from their single file formation at the back of the stage.
BSB packed in 8 songs from their most recent release, DNA. The album, released in 2019 never had a proper tour due to the ongoing pandemic so they made sure to give the album ample treatment. In all, over 30 songs would be covered throughout the night during the almost 2 hour set which spanned their entire 29 year career with the biggest hits largely saved for the frenzied final half hour. The entire set was back tracked, with no live support.
Wardrobe changes a-plenty throughout the show, I unofficially counted 4 different swaps. The middle chunk of the show saw a heavy dose of ballads with “Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely”, “Incomplete”, “More Than That”, “Shape Of My Heart” and “Drowning”. No hit was left off the setlist, they came quick and fast with “Quit Playing Games With My Heart” and “As Long As You Love Me” leading into “I’ll Never Break Your Heart”, which saw a slightly different musical arrangement. Another amphitheater wide sing-a-long filled the air with “All I Have To Give”.
A short ‘back in time’ interlude and video montage allowed yet another costume change before the band reemerged in all white outfits with the anthem “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”. BSB still retain some serious choreography, during “The One” as the band employed some nifty neon mic stands and some skillful moves. I’m sure the entire Great Park and large parts of Irvine could hear the fans singing along to possibly their most popular song – “I Want It That Way”, which concluded the main set. Confetti blasts signaled the end of the night as “Larger Than Life” finished the evening.
With over 100 millions albums sold worldwide, Backstreet Boys continue to pack venues and will do so as long as the nostalgic feelings that boybands provide still persists. Their current DNA World Tour continues across North America through midiSeptember (with a total of 58 shows planned). A European leg fills up October and November, largely in Germany with 14 already sold-out dates scheduled.
Delta Goodrem scored the opening support spot on the tour, the beautiful Australian singer-songwriter is fresh off great reviews from the BottleRock Festival a few weekends ago in Napa. Her quick half hour set was highlighted by “The Power” and “Sitting On Top Of The World”. This vocal powerhouse should definitely benefit from the exposure of this tour.