Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Concert Review: Backstreet Boys - "A World Like This" concert in Manila

The Backstreet Boys performing acapella

They say that the Filipino crowd is hard to please may not probably ring true but the last time I’ve seen a concert venue really packed to the rafters and an audience so enthusiastic and appreciative was during the Hall & Oates Manila concert in 1991.  That is, until today.  
The Backstreet Boys (fondly called BSB), one of the most popular boy bands in the 1990s (the golden age for being a teenager), brought back memories of that concert as they performed before a standing room only (my son Jandy and I among them) crowd at a one-night only concert, part of their "A World Like This" world tour, presented by Ovation Productions at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. 
SM MOA Arena packed to the rafters

This celebrated American male pop vocal group has won the hearts of millions and helped usher in the age of the boy band, selling over 130 million records worldwide, making them the best selling boy band in history.  
The five members of the group - Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Litrell, AJ McLean and Kevin Richardson – are no longer boys and have beautifully metamorphosed into Backstreet family men.  However, as far as their fans that night were concerned, they remained boys forever. I may be look out of place in an audience composed of people more than half my age but I am a certified BSB fan. 
From blue tuxedos .......

The band first performed here on October 1996 and returned again on January 2006 and June 3, 2012 (where they teamed up with another boy band, New Kids on the Block). The 2-hour concert featured a repertoire of their feel-good pop songs that has, over past two decades, constantly evolved and caught the attention (and affection) of music-lovers of all ages, myself included. 

Most of the audience that night came to hear their classic signature songs and BSB surely delivered I’ll Never Break Your HeartGet Down (You’re the One for Me)Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely ( a song steeped in loss and pain), Shape of My Heart, All I Have to Give, As Long as You Love MeEverybody (Backstreet’s Back)I Want It That Way (my all-time favorite BSB song), Quit Playing Games (With My Heart) and the infectious encore song Larger Than Life, a token of gratitude for all of BSB’s fans. All these songs had the people inside the arena either screaming, bouncing to the band’s choreographed pelvic dance moves, singing along or doing all three.

... to hip hop attire

At one time, they even asked the audience to turn on "those little lights on your cell phones,” and the effect on the arena resembled a clear night sky. Even during the intervals, where they did costume changes from tailored blue suits to hip hop outfits, entertaining video interviews were shown. In them, we learned that Nick was the funniest, Kevin was the most serious, Howie the biggest diva, and that they're all sexy (in their own heads). Another video showed a taste of the Backstreet Boys movie, which offered clips of the early years.

Celphone lights lit up the arena

BSB also regaled the audience with their anecdotes and little vignettes of their past Manila visits. Howie admitted he has a "personal attachment" with the country.  In 2008, he performed I'll Be There, a duet with Sarah Geronimo (whom he described as one of the Philippines' best singers). 

He also pointed out that his godmother is a Filipina. The group also expressed admiration for the singing prowess of Arnel Pineda (now the lead singer of Journey) and loudly proclaimed, to a cheering crowd, that they are big fans of our very own Manny “Pacman” Pacquiao.  Together with the Filipino people, they were saddened by Manny’s loss to Mayweather and they too want a rematch. 

The list of songs performed that night also included a few releases from their latest BSB album, showing how much they have matured through the years. Madeleine, a song about rising up against adversity, was dedicated to the Pacman while the inspiring Show ‘Em (What You’re Made Of) was written by Kevin and AJ for their babies. 
Showing the crowd their pelvic dance moves

“Party like you’re 15!,”the battle cry of that night, was exactly what the huge crowd did –people were up on their feet as they screamed, danced, and sang along with BSB, the ultimate pros in throwing a party.  Obviously, the fans thoroughly enjoyed it all as evidenced by the applause and cheers that thundered throughout the Arena that night, as BSB brought everyone on a trip down memory lane with their all-time favorite blockbuster songs. It felt like it was the 1990s all over again. Kudos to Ovation Productions for producing such a great show.


  1. Thanks for sharing your experience. How I wish I could've seen them =)

  2. There's always a next time. This is their fourth visit to the country and I am sure this won't be their last. They love performing here.

  3. What you're saying is completely true. I know that everybody must say the same thing, but I just think that you put it in a way that everyone can understand. I'm sure you'll reach so many people with what you've got to say.

    1. Thanks for your comment. Much appreciated