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ATP! Live Review: Backstreet Boys - Susquehanna Bank Center Camden, NJ (06/21/2014)

Nick Carter, who still looks like the same dreamboat he was in 1999, surveys the crowd and announces that there are three guidelines everyone must follow throughout the night. “Rule number 1, go crazy,” he began. “Rule number 2, act like you’re fifteen years old. Rule number 3, scream as loud as possible!” His directions weren’t a challenge for the Camden, NJ crowd. When the Backstreet Boys took the stage minutes prior and jumped quickly into hit “The Call,” cheers coming from the audience were so loud that nobody would have noticed if the band members weren’t even singing.

Their set was expected – a mix of old and new that kept the audience sufficiently satisfied. Among the favorites early in the performance were “Incomplete,” “As Long As You Love Me,” and “Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely.” Mid-set, the Boys settled down with acoustic guitars and invited onstage those that had purchased special tour packages while they goofed off and played various songs, including a funky cover of Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky.”

Based on their live performance, it’s hard to believe that the oldest Backstreet Boy will be turning 43 in October. The band has managed to retain their heartthrob image and signature moves, including the anticipated hat flipping and synchronized dancing. Ending the night with their classics “I Want It That Way,” “Everybody,” and “Larger Than Life,” the group was able to send the message that Backstreet was indeed back, with no intention of ever leaving.

Perhaps the most striking experience from the Backstreet Boys show was the humor laced with irony the group was able to incorporate. While A.J. was confessing his former crush on opening act Avril Lavigne, the rest of the ensemble joked about being a “man band” and poked fun at themselves for knowing how to play “actual instruments.” They admitted that their newest album, In A World Like This, was the first record they wrote the majority of the songs for. Instead of telling the crowd to take out their lighters, the Boys instructed everyone to turn on the flashlight application from their iPhones in a sort of strange nostalgia meets technological revolution. As someone who can proudly say that she saw the Backstreet Boys for the first time at age 7, it was remarkable to process how familiar something can feel in a time where everything is actually very different.

Words by Laurel Weber
Photo by Danielle Parsons

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