The Allstate Arena in suburban Chicagoland might not exactly be The Axis At Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, but for about an hour at the B96 Pepsi Jingle Bash, it could’ve probably passed as somewhere in Sin City thanks to the Backstreet Boys and their “Larger Than Life” teaser. Accompanied by a ten-member dance crew, multi-level stage and cyclones of confetti, a fully reunited Nick Carter, Howie D., Brian Littrell, AJ McLean and Kevin Richardson turned in many of their hugest hits just coming up on 25 years with more than 130 million records sold.
If it takes some time for the Backstreet Boys to come back to town, this performance was probably enough to tide over casual fans, though for the more fervent, the 2018 “Larger Than Life” residency (which kicks off January 31) appears to be worth the pilgrimage.
Indeed, the Backstreet Boys are “pop royalty” as the announcer so appropriately summarized and all the younger faces in the crowd (many who likely came to see Taylor Swift) had to do was pay close attention to “Larger Than Life,” “The One,” “Get Down (You’re The One For Me)” and the rest of the contagious lot to learn why. Even with the generation gap for newcomers, they didn’t miss a beat joining longtime listeners in screaming along to “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart),” “As Long As You Love Me” and “I Want It That Way.”
There was also a lot to watch when it came to choreography, which became a bit busy at times with 15 people on the stage, but at one point turned a simple stack of folding chairs into a clever maze of coordinated sitting, standing, carrying and folding at breakneck speed. In terms of the tunes, BSB dialed it all the way back to their self-titled beginnings (“We’ve Got It Goin’ On”) and worked up to 2000’s “Black & Blue” (“The Call”) and 2001’s “The Hits – Chapter One” (“Drowning”), but basically skipped over their second decade entirely, at least in this abbreviated instance.
Yet that seemed to be everyone’s preference in the end, especially when “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” brought down the house in the encore with its call and response chorus and an extended “Stomp”-like segment. If it takes some time for the Backstreet Boys to come back to town, this performance was probably enough to tide over casual fans, though for the more fervent, the 2018 “Larger Than Life” residency (which kicks off January 31) appears to be worth the pilgrimage.
Click here for more photos of the Backstreet Boys at the Allstate Arena.
For additional information on Backstreet Boys, visit BackstreetBoys.com.
Upcoming concert highlights at the Allstate Arena include The Chainsmokers, Demi Lovato and more (Dec. 13); Trans-Siberian Orchestra (Dec. 28); Little Big Town (Feb. 16) and Brad Paisley (Feb. 24). For additional details, visit Rosemont.com/Allstate/ and Ticketmaster.com.