Dirrrty Pop Review: The Backstreet Boys – Never Gone Tour, Wembley Pavillion

Wembley is full of screaming teenage girls, a multi-million-selling boyband are on stage – you’d be forgiven for thinking we were back in the 90s, and for an hour and 45 minutes we very almost were. I’ve been to more than my fair share of pop concerts, but this was my first time seeing a full show by a boyband and it was quite an experience.

The Backstreet Boys haven’t toured the UK 6 years ago, and it was after hearing of the brilliance of that 1999 tour that I decided I would go along the next time the band played the UK – I had no idea their return would not arrive for 6 years, but I kept my promise and bought my ticket the day they came on sale. It seemed that I wasn’t the only one desperate to see the band, as the tickets sold out in a few hours and more dates were quickly announced for the next night at Wembley as well as Manchester and Birmingham.

When the day finally arrived for me to see the band, I was extremely excited, and after a quick detour to Ikea I arrived at Wembley Pavillion (the enormous tent currently filling in for the mid-revamp arena) just in time for the support act. I was more than shocked when on stage came one of my worst enemies in pop history – Jamie Shaw, the really annoying one from One True Voice!! He sang one reasonable song, 2 really crap ones and a cover of My Sharona. I wonder how many audience members thought it was a new song sampling No Good Advice?

After that terrible shock, it was a half hour wait until the band finally came on stage, but when they did there was so much noise my ears were ringing. The BSB fans, like the band themselves, may have aged a bit since the last tour, but their enthusiasm hasn’t waned one bit. Most of the audience sang along to every word of every song, album tracks included, and when the biggest hits cropped up you couldn’t hear the boys themselves, the fans were so loud. They sang 2 or 3 singles from their 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th albums, plus their Drowning, from the greatest hits, and most of the songs from their new CD Never Gone. They have had so many huge songs, there was no need for cover versions or old album tracks – every song they sang got a fantastic reception. Most bands are lucky to have 1 song as great as any of the songs they sang.

One thought that both amused and horrified me was how uncool the BSBs must seem to 12 year olds now, yet I was that same age at the height of my Backstreet fandom. I laugh at the thought of people still being fans of Cliff Richard or Paul McCartney or going on the Here & Now tours, yet I still got excited about the return of Hanson a year or so ago, and there I was at the BSBs concert, as much a fan as ever. For the first time I felt genuinely old, and at 17 that surely can’t be right!

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