It was a once in a lifetime event. Nick Carter, AJ McLean, Joey Fatone, and Wanya Morris joined forces for the after party, a limited Las Vegas Residency which most of us would happily extend from here until eternity. I was fortunate to be able to attend one of the four nights. And what an amazing night it was!
To set the scene, we are definitely back in pandemic world. Mask mandates, distance requirements, and Meet and Greets that look very different than what we were used to before. I attended Meet and Greet with both Nick and AJ. Although we were required to mask and stay distanced, I still enjoyed having a few minutes to chat with the boys. Both of the guys, as usual, were warm, friendly, engaged, and sweeter than ever. Our pictures may look very different, but the experience was still one for the books. It felt that they really took the time to engage with each of the fans and it showed. I had a great conversation with Nick about parenting (and my fun mask) and got a pic of AJ “painting my nails”. Different, but fun!
Now this was a show unlike any other I’ve ever seen with our boys. Of course this was not a Backstreet Boys show. It was much more laid-back, less theatrical, way more casual than what we are used to. It reminded me more of the cruise shows, but with a ton of special guests. The continuous banter, the adult-natured comments, and the intimacy of the venue really added to the entertainment factor. Not to mention the vocals were out of this world, and in addition to AJ, Nick, Joey, and Wanya, we got Wanya’s band mate Shawn Stockman and the legendary Bobby Brown and Ray Parker Jr.
Our seats were in the bottom section in the back, right on the aisle. Given the restrictions due to COVID, I assumed they would never leave the stage. Imagine my shock when Nick popped up literally right next to me to open the show with N’Sync’s Dirty Pop. And right away you could feel the energy and excitement. Of course, I froze seeing Nick standing directly in front of me. Thankfully my brain caught up, and I was able to actually enjoy it before he and Joey, who was on the other side of the theater, made their way to the stage to finish the song as AJ and Wanya joined them.
Following this song, the boys went straight into Motownphilly. This was most definitely a highlight of the show for me. This song as a whole has been a huge part of my upbringing, but I’ve never seen it done live. They did not disappoint. And the guys ended the song harmonizing and it blew my mind how beautiful it sounded. These guys sound like they’ve been harmonizing together for years.
After an upbeat medley to open the show including Dirty Pop, Motownphilly, Larger Than Life, and Nick attempting (and admittedly failing) to rap, the guys chatted a bit. AJ took off while the other guys talked about the fact that they’d all done Dancing With The Stars. Once they noticed AJ was missing, they were yelling for him. AJ came running back on stage with half of his wardrobe missing, including his shoes and socks. Apparently, AJ had forgotten that it was not time for his quick change just yet. This added to the comedy of the show, and also reinforced the casual nature of the event.
After the rest of the guys finished making fun of AJ, Nick and Joey talked about their shared experience with The Masked Singer. In a friendly competition, Nick and Joey went head to head, singing songs that they had performed on their season of The Masked Singer. Nick’s rendition of Toxic by Britney and It’s My Life by Bon Jovi went up against Joey’s Livin La Vida Loca by Ricky Martin and Wake Me Up by Avicci. In the end, neither could be declared the winner, as both put on stellar performance.
Another highlight of the show was seeing Nick jump on the drums and play the guitar. We haven’t really seen him pick up an instrument during a show since the In a World Like This tour (and maybe his solo tour a few years back), so it was fun to watch him in that capacity. AJ pushed Nick onto the drums while he sang Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars. AJ sounded amazing, and Nick rocked it on the drums. Later in the show Nick picked up a guitar and played during I Want it that Way. Again, they do sounded great and gave us a little something different than what we are used to with other shows.
A really fun, out of the box piece of the show was when the guys paid homage to TV shows, and a couple movies, singing theme songs from shows that had an impact on them. We got to hear their versions of the Cheers theme song, Golden Girls, The Jeffersons, and of course Friends, among a few others. It’s no surprise that Friends is AJ’s favorite show of all time. What was a surprise, was when Nick said that he hates the show. I can’t lie, I may have lost just a little bit of respect for him in that moment… The amazing part of this portion of the show was when Ray Parker Jr showed up on stage and performed the Ghostbusters theme song along with the rest of the guys. Now this one I bet Nick could get on board with along with just about everyone else.
And then, Bobby Brown. When Joey went into the audience and retrieved Bobby Brown from the seats, my heart fell to the floor. They brought him on stage and he sang My Prerogative and it was fantastic. Bobby Brown and Ray Parker Jr joined them for a few other songs, including Poison, a lounge-type remake of Tearin’ Up My Heart sung by Joey, and an incredible version of This I Promise you, sometimes joining to sing, other times just enjoying the show from couches on the set. They hung out long enough to watch Nick and Joey get into a little debate over the song All I Have to Give, (Nick getting a little brave telling Joey off) before they joined forces to sing it together. The guys went into some of Boyz II Men’s beautiful ballads, including I’ll Make Love to You and On Bended Knee, which Shawn Stockman, Boyz II Men member, joined in on. This whole section was a highlight for me. Seeing all of these icons on stage together was epic.
Rounding out the show, the guys sang Boyz II Men’s End of the Road, before going into Everybody, Backstreet’s Back, and finishing off the night with Bye Bye Bye. Another huge highlight for me? Wanya Morris doing the Bye Bye Bye dance alongside Nick Carter, AJ McLean, and Joey Fatone. What a perfect way to end the show. Of course I was not ready for it to be over, but I’m thrilled I had a chance to be in the room to experience such a historic event.
Seriously, by the end of the show no one was thinking about all of the COVID restrictions we had to go through to get there. We are just stoked to have had the opportunity to see this phenomenal show!
Bring it back guys!! Add it to the list of things we need to make an annual affair like #BackSync! Thanks for a great night!