Backstreets Back, alright! Indeed they are. BSB performed their first show in two years at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, NV Friday night (4/8) as well as Saturday. The Colosseum was named “Venue of the Decade” for the first part of the 2000’s by Billboard and hosted residencies starting with Celine Dion and including Journey, Keith Urban, Rod Stewart, Sting, and Jerry Seinfeld. These were the first two of four shows there for their latest Vegas residency which is part of their DNA Tour that started in 2019. When the Covid-19 Pandemic began, BSB were performing in South America and their final show before lockdowns was in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. BSB are no strangers to Vegas as they go back five years to when they had their record-breaking Larger than Life residency at the Zappos Theater at the Planet Hollywood Casino and have played Vegas numerous times since. BSB formed in 1993 and are just a year away from their 30th anniversary. It all started with a performance at Seaworld Orlando with Nick Carter, Kevin Ricardson, AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, and Brian Littrell. BSB went on to become one of the most successful boy bands in history and released their first album in 1996. To date they have sold over 130 million albums worldwide and have numerous hits. Their first album alone had four major hits that they perform at every show.
BSB released their first four albums between 1996 and 2000 then didn’t release another album until 2005 Never Gone. In the early 2000’s along with NSync and Britney Spears, BSB dominated the charts and had massive arena tours. To date BSB have had 10 headlining tours and from 2011-2012 had a co-headline with New Kids on the Block. Between 2006-2012 Richardson had left the group and returned during that tour. BSB have also had six cruises. They have been nominated for nine Grammys and have been nominated or won numerous awards from the MTV Vmas to the Billboard Awards to the American Music Awards. BSB were also the first group since Led Zeppelin to have their first 10 albums hit the top 10 on the Billboard 200 and the only boy band to accomplish this. They are also one of a few groups to have multiple diamond selling albums which would be their first album and Millennium.
BSB released DNA in 2019 which was their first album in six years and only the second released in the past decade. It was DNA that gave the group their first number one album in 19 years with the last being Black & Blue, an album I remember listening to countless times when it first came out. BSB had their biggest arena tour in 18 years around the world with dates in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. Before the pandemic they had already performed around 120 shows between May 2019 and March 2020. There had been a Christmas themed residency originally scheduled for seven shows in November and five in December 2021, but with the ongoing pandemic these shows had been canceled.
If you have seen the DNA tour, this show is the same format with a very unique stage design. However the setlist is 27 songs for these shows rather than the 33 performed previously. The stage itself had two pits one in front of the catwalk part and the other within the space between the stage and catwalk similar to the Grammys stage. The weekend before this Las Vegas hosted the Grammys and this weekend BTS was at Allegiant Stadium for two nights so it was a boy band takeover weekend.
After a video intro featuring all the BSB’s albums chronologically and a few career highlights, they took the stage opening with “Everyone” from Black & Blue followed by the “The Call,” also from the same album. At least half the set came from the first four albums which for me were the albums I knew best. The show was broken until 4 segments and had several videos during wardrobe changes. Littrell spoke first after the third song “Don’t Want You Back,” and sang solo for a little bit. Dorough spoke at the end of the first segment. The next part of the show began with another major hit “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” and ended with “Shape of My Heart” combined with “Drowning.” Like NKOTB, BSB used to have a wardrobe change camera backstage. This time around, like all of the DNA tour McLean and Richardson had boxes onstage to change for the next segment of the show. McLean joked about fans throwing bras and panties onstage way back (similar to Tom Jones) so it was his turn in which he threw a pair of briefs into the crowd. McLean also said “Two years have been too long, now we can finally see your faces.”
The third segment also included some of the slower songs, mostly older hits starting with their first number one “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart). After the third song of this part of the show “No Place,” all five members talked. Carter said he had lived in Vegas since the first residency. Everyone stated the age they were when the group formed and shared the group’s influences and how they only did covers before having their own songs. During the pandemic Carter and his wife welcomed their third child, a baby girl. The band sang together briefly A capella to show what the early days were like then performed “Breathe,” as the stage rose up. For the next two songs “Don’t Want to Lose You Now,” and “I’ll Never Break Your Heart,” the stage was all the way up. A video segment featuring the band members one by one when they were younger followed. “All I Have to Give,” was the last song of this part followed by another video.
The final segment started with a remixed version of Everybody (Backstreets Back). In total there were seven songs before the two-song encore all coming from the first four albums and while the songs in the section before were more slower love songs, this part was the get up and dance segment. If there’s one group that puts on an entire sing-a-long show definitely BSB especially with all the die hard fans there many going back to the early days. The fans got all dressed up for these shows. Leading to the encore, BSB performed a slower song “I Want it That Way,” and returned with “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart,” from DNA. The final song of the night was the one everyone was waiting for “Larger Than Life.” The night ended with confetti.
To accommodate so many songs in the show some had to be shortened, but personally I’d rather hear all my favorite songs partially then fewer songs that were all full songs. BSB will return to the Colosseum this coming weekend for two more shows. You can catch BSB all across North America when the DNA tour resumes in June and runs through September before the group heads back to Europe followed by the U.K. and Australia.
1. I Wanna Be With You
2. The Call
3. Don't Want You Back
4. New Love
5. Get down (You’re the One for Me)
6. Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely
9. More Than That
11. Shape of My Heart/ Drowning
Kevin and AJ talking and wardrobe change
12. Quit Playing Games (WIth My Heart)
13. As Long as You Love Me
14. No Place
16. Don't Want to Lose You Now
17. I'll Never Break Your Heart
18. All I Have to Give
19. Everybody (Backstreets Back)
20. We've Got It Goin’ on
21. It's Gotta Be You
22. That's the Way I like it
23. Get Another Boyfriend
24. The One
25. I Want it That Way
26. Don't Go Breaking My heart
27. Larger Than Life