This week marks the end of the Backstreet Boys North American leg of the DNA tour. To say I’m sad is an understatement. I’ve shared in previous posts, but I’ll say it again. I LOVE THIS TOUR. I was reflecting on this tour specifically, and some of the others they’ve had in comparison.
I was fortunate to be around back in the Millenium days. I attended one of those shows and will never forget it. At the time, it was easily the coolest display I’d ever seen in my young 14 years of life. Arguably, Millemium was when the boys were truly on top of the world. There has not really been another time when they’ve thrived like that in terms of sales, popularity, and prestige. But one could argue that the progress they’ve made in all of these areas leads to a firmer foundation now. Think about it, almost 30 years in and they are still selling out stadiums and arenas. Either way, they are clearly back on top of the world now.
When I was thinking about the DNA show, I was comparing it to Millenium for a few reasons. One, what I said before, the height of their career, seems to have been the Millenium timeframe, and is now mirrored in many ways by the DNA era. Second, my two favorite albums are Millenium and DNA, so it is natural that I link those two records. Third, I believe these two tours have been their biggest in terms of sales.
When I consider these two tours, at first, it was very difficult for me to decide which tour I enjoyed more. I was in a very different space during the Millenium era. A young teen, falling all over the boys, still fantasizing about marrying one of them (the specific boy changed through the years), and completely under the guidance and control of my parents in terms of time, money, and permission to do anything at all. Now, as an adult, I have my own family, career, and can make my own choices. I have been incredibly fortunate to have been to a number of DNA shows from pre-pandemic to now. Because of these factors, my experience has been vastly different between the two shows.
I sat down to watch the Millenium tour online just to get a refresher of the show. It’s been years since I have seen it. I noticed a few similarities between the shows. The Millenium tour was done “in the round” with a round (actually pentagon) stage and seating all around. DNA did not have this, but did have DNA circle (again, which was actually a pentagon), that allowed the boys to be on all sides of the audience. Another similarity, the theatrics of the shows. The Millenium tour included flying Backstreet Boys, both flying in on surf boards and flipping through the air attached to hanging cables which moved them over the crowd. During the DNA show, we didn’t have any of that, but we did have intense and amazing visuals from the lights to the pictures and videos. DNA was truly a stunning visual display of creativity and are completely unparralled from anything I’ve ever seen, Backstreet or otherwise. Of course another similarity is a handful of songs. The major songs from Millenium and before, even a few that were not released as singles, are in both shows because they are staples. One difference, however, is that DNA, years and years after those songs were released, gave a new spin on a few of them. Everybody, for example, has a whole different beat that adds to the energy of the song and show. Larger than Life has a remixed section that I LIVE for each time I’ve seen it. It’s nice after so many years of the same song to hear them in a different variety.
Along with all the similarities, there were some differences. One big difference was the live band and instrumentation of the Millenium show. DNA uses recorded tracks, whereas Millenium had a full band backing the boys. Again, pros and cons for either. When the focus of the show is the boys, their voices, their dance moves, losing the band makes sense. And for me, that is really the true show. Of course, I am definitely a fan of watching Kevin on that piano and Nick on the drums or bass…
The largest difference that I saw were the people. Millenium included 10 dancers along with the boys. There were definitely pros and cons to having dancers. They add to a lot of the theatrics, create more opportunities for the boys to show off a variety of skills, and offer a chance for them to set the scenes differently. However, they also take attention from the boys. I personally love watching the boys do what they do best: perform. They ham it up, they mess with one another, and they sing and dance with so much heart. When the dancers are on stage, there is less of that because there is less time for it.
In the shows I was able to attend on the DNA tour, I have noticed the boys tend to be more comfortable with one another, more interactive with one another, and just overall having even more fun together and with the fans. On the DNA tour, we get to see them goofing off more, playing with fans and interacting a ton more than in the Millenium show, and just poking fun at one another in a way that just seems more comfortable. In essence, they just seem to be having way more fun now than they were back then. And it bleeds into the audience. The DNA show was not just about the singing, or the singing and dancing, but the performance and experience of watching them shine in so many ways, both as individuals, and as a group. Something I didn’t see or could not have seen in the Millenium days.
For all these reasons, I realize that this tour, DNA, is hands down the best tour the boys have ever done. And it makes me so sad that it is nearing the end (fully over in North America), but also incredibly thankful that I was able to see it so many times.
What luck we have to be fans of a group that truly continues to get better with age?!