Was it Everything You Hoped It Would be? #BSBAtTheBeach Day 2

by | May 7, 2024 | #BSB30, #BSBAtTheBeach, AJ McLean, Backstreet Boys, Backstreet Boys: 30th Anniversary Celebration, BSB Army, Review | 0 comments


Day 2 began with a room service breakfast for some of our room and a buffet breakfast with friends for others. I joined friends at the buffet and got to spend some time catching up and meeting new friends. That alone is a tenet of BSB events and one I greatly enjoy. The food was pretty good with a lot of options at the buffet. I particularly enjoyed the mimosa bar, but the eggs were pretty good too. 

After breakfast, we headed over to the Sunrise to check out the merchandise area ahead of AJ’s solo Karaoke event. As expected, the merch line looked like a brand new Disney ride and we bailed. We wanted merch, but we wanted the sun more. We did return much later to see what was left, which wasn’t much. I struck out on the sweats and teal shirt I so desperately wanted, but I got some good stuff on the pre-sale, so couldn’t really complain.

We headed out to enjoy the sun for awhile. After exploring the pool area, we wandered over to the outdoor amphitheater to partake in BSB trivia. The Trivia was set up for us to participate on a digital platform. We were asked to form teams of no more than 5. I attempted to sign myself up and then gather some friends to join me, but the number of teams that were able to enter had already maxed out. Thankfully, I spotted some friends who were only a team of 2, so I joined them, expecting to have a fun time with some easy questions. When the trivia began, we realized pretty early on that they weren’t playing with this trivia game. Some of these questions were HARD! From the theme of the “Never Gone” tour video footage to the name of all 5 comic book BSB characters, we had to use our collective brain to try to recall or guess the answers. Of course there were still some questions which we knew without thinking, but most required some kind of conversation. I appreciated the level of difficulty they put forth for this one!

Photo Credit: @PlsThk Instagram

Somehow, we managed to win (Yay!) and were summoned to the stage. We took a few pictures and were given a BSB At the Beach fanny pack, which immediately went into use for me since I had minimal options for touting around my gear. Then it was back to the pool for some lounging.

Later in the day, we were treated to Karaoke with AJ. This was a blast. They opened with “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga, and the contestant really put on a show. She and AJ were singing to one another, showing sass towards one another.  It was a great sight and it was obvious AJ was enjoying himself on stage.

We also got a great performance of Bon Jovi from one of the last contestants who really brought the goods. He was all over the stage, hyping people up as if it was his show. We later ran into him and learned that he was a late addition, as someone else had dropped out. He had campaigned hard to get as many people as he could to hear that singing with AJ was his dream, and he put that out into the universe. The universe listened, and he was called up on stage as the show was starting to participate. And the crowd loved it. AJ joined in and it became an exercise in theater. Never a dull moment with that one.

The best part of the show was the smooth transfer of a phone number from a contestant’s pocket to AJ’s hands. The contestant was singing a song with the lyrics, “you never called me”. AJ responded “I don’t have your number” and without hesitation, she pulled out a slip of paper with her phone number on it, handing it to AJ. 

AJ was so taken aback that it stopped him short until he realized what he had. As she continued singing, he praised her for being the smoothest person he’d met in a long time. He was highly impressed and even commented that he would have to set himself up to do that in the future. 

After Karaoke, I spent some more time by the pool (duh), relaxing with some drinks and catching up with friends, old and new. We spent way too long in line at the swim up bar, but I did enjoy the drinks I was able to get and the conversation with others as we waited for the drinks. There were several people floating around that I hadn’t seen in a long time, so it was such a fun time to just chat away with whoever was around. The day was full of relaxation, joy, and connection. I especially enjoyed the throwback 90’s music the DJ was playing. It made us feel right at home.

Afterwards, I headed back to The Grand for dinner with my roommates. We went to an amazing Japanese restaurant at The Grand called “Jade”. We each ordered a few things and shared and we got the best of everything. Literally, it was so good I ordered a second helping of the tuna tacos and that rock shrimp tempura that was to die for. We ate like champs before rushing over to the Sunrise beach front venue for the DNA show.

DNA (take 2.0) was a great show, because the boys always put on a great show. However, there were some important pieces missing, including almost every DNA song…One of the things I was really looking forward to with seeing DNA for the (maybe) 20th time was being able to really embrace and enjoy those DNA songs. The DNA album is likely my favorite, or maybe my second favorite, of the boys entire discography, so it pains me that there are songs on that album that I still have never heard live…ever. Despite having seen the DNA show almost 20 times. Many of the songs from DNA that we did get on the tour were shortened versions. I don’t want to hear the chorus of Nobody Else, I want the whole thing! And my favorites, “Just Like You Like It” and “Is It Just Me?” have never seen the light of a stage…it’s criminal! So coming to the DNA 2.0 show where the majority of the people in attendance are hard core fans, I had hopes we would see justice for DNA. Sadly, not only did we not get the full versions of any of the DNA songs except for “No Place” and “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” (of the 12 songs on that album!), but those half songs we had before were cut completely, along with “New Love” (a fan favorite) and “Breathe”, the only acapella song the boys have ever released. 

To say I was disappointed is an understatement. But, we still had 30 for 30 coming in a few days and I was holding out hope that we would get what we wanted out of that show. 

The show itself, what songs they did do, were great as usual. The boys were their typical selves, playing and laughing at one another, bouncing off the crowd, and hitting every mark of choreo. Admittedly, Brian had some challenges at the beginning of the set with his voice, and we know this is something he continues to work on with his diagnosis of Vocal Dysphonia. As the show went on, he seemed to settle in and we were able to hear his vintage Brian vocals on many of the classics. 

When the show ended, we were off to the after party. We ran into some friends who were posted up at close-ish to the stage and got to spend some time talking with them. We moved around a bit, searching for a good spot, which was hard to find given the demand on the boys time. This was the first night we attempted to get close to the stage and it was no easy feat. 

We ended up spending about half our time on the side of the stage, watching from afar (a short distance honestly, but not up against the stage). Brian, Kevin, AJ, and Howie were there on this night and were doing their best to both entertain the crowd (AJ taking over the song choices from the DJ and belting out every word), and make their way through the crowds to see as many of the fans as they could. Because I was on the side of the stage for much of the night, I missed out on most of the boys. I was with a large group of my friends and we were trying to take turns switching in and out when one of the boys came close, but we were also trying not to squish and push each other. I did move over to another area and slipped into the front for a chance to snag a shot and a quick conversation with Howie. I gave him a bracelet from a friend, which he was very thankful for, and got a quick picture. I slipped out of the front area to allow others to see Howie, before heading back down to the side stage. We noticed the boys were leaving from that area and did see a few of them as they took off as the night went on. Most notably, we watched the fans line up down the path and witnessed Howie on the back of a golf cart being chased by a fan who was somehow able to catch up and grab on…Howie snapped a quick picture of the fan with him before reminding her to stay safe, and he was off. We called it a night at that point as well, heading back to our hotel. 

We made a quick stop in the restaurant cafe where we ran into a few friends. We chatted with them for a few minutes, grabbed a few snacks, and then headed to our room. 

As we were heading back from the after party, two of my roommates got the news of their lives. They had been selected to participate in Backstreet Boys Singled Out the next day, both for Brian’s team. We jumped for joy before I jumped joyously into my bed. My roommates were scouring the room for the best outfits to wear for Singled Out, but I was happily snuggled in for the night. It had been a long day. We did pull a few Singled Out clips from the internet so that we could remember how to play the damn game. It had only been a quarter of a decade since the show had aired, so we all disagreed on how this would go down. We watched a few clips for research before turning in for the night.

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