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Arts in Review

NKOTBSB: the art of beating a dead horse

As a child of the eighties and nineties, I have become more and more depressed as I see everything that I once loved dragged out until it’s unrecognizably terrible. I remember Land Before Time before it was over-sequeled and a musical; I remember the original Power Rangers – not that “Zeo” or “Time Force” crap; and I even have fond memories of listening to the Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block (on a tape deck, not on an iPod).

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Date Posted: June 28, 2011
Print Edition: June 24, 2011

By Sonja Szlovicsak (The Cascade) – Email

As a child of the eighties and nineties, I have become more and more depressed as I see everything that I once loved dragged out until it’s unrecognizably terrible. I remember Land Before Time before it was over-sequeled and a musical; I remember the original Power Rangers – not that “Zeo” or “Time Force” crap; and I even have fond memories of listening to the Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block (on a tape deck, not on an iPod).

Ah yes, the Backstreet Boys. They were one of the few boy bands that became an actual semi-success at a time when Z95.3 FM’s playlist consisted of groups like 98 Degrees, N’Snyc, B4-4, and O-Town. It was almost impossible to tell these groups apart, but Backstreet seemed to stand out. Likely, it was because they filled the void left by the New Kids on the Block’s very recent break up.

Years passed, New Kids and Backstreet drifted off into anonymity, and that should have been the end of them. Should. It’s not.

“One Night – One Stage. Once in a Lifetime” is the laughable line plastered on the posters for the New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys joint tour. This is despite the fact that they are showing on multiple stages, in multiple cities, and even doing multiple shows in some cities. That’s false advertising if nothing else. No doubt these groups think that by combining forces they will become some sort of super boy band, attracting fans that never grew up and a whole new generation of tween girls.

Yes, it’s despicable. And it’s coming to Rogers Arena July 9 and 10.

So what would prompt these two groups to come together? No, they didn’t get the idea from the Power Rangers’ Megazord. After the two groups surprised fans with a mash up performance of Backstreet’s hit “I Want It That Way” together at a New Kids show, they realized that their sound and energy meshed well. Since many members of the two groups aren’t actually doing anything career wise (with the exception of New Kids Johnathan Knight, who has a successful career as a realtor), they decided to spend the summer touring. Many dates have already sold out, including July 9 in Vancouver.

Their set list consists of various “hits” from the two bands plus two new singles, “All in My Head” and “Don’t Turn Out the Lights.” The new songs aren’t anything special, but they certainly make the NKOTBSB album a must buy for all true fans and their kids. Somehow, this album debuted at number seven on the Billboard Top 200. Obviously, the new songs did the trick. That, and the fact that tape decks are almost impossible to find.

It is hard to take this tour seriously. While big name bands like KISS can still tour successfully in 2011, the fact remains that neither New Kids nor Backstreet were anything more than a foot note in the history of pop music. They played unoriginal songs, performed lame dance moves, and are almost indistinguishable from competing boy bands. At their peak, they were little more than dancing barber-shop quartets with too many members. Their successes came from the fact that they looked good and were easy to market.

Undoubtedly, the show will be the biggest disappointment Rogers Arena has hosted since the Canucks lost game seven. While the two groups may have had some glimmer of appeal during their prime, the boys are now men. Puberty and aging make singing and dancing so much harder. At the end of the super group’s encore, most fans will realize they’ve moved on. Hopefully, these boys move on too.

For more info on the tour, or for proof that I’m not making this crap up, visit www.nkotbsb.com

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