I mentioned in my post on Friday that I was on my way to see the Backstreet Boys and I wasn't lying. I am wholeheartedly (still) a Backstreet Boys fan and their show in Camden, NJ on Friday, Aug. 16, marked my 10th Backstreet Boys concert. I had pit tickets, as well as their Gold VIP Package. So how'd it go? Was it worth it? Am I full of regret for how much money I spent on just one evening? Am I just really embarrassed that I'm an adult and this is my life?
Backstreet Boys VIP Experience
At each show, the Backstreet Boys offer VIP experiences to around 200 or so fans. There are four tiers to choose from, each one offering progressively more than the last. There's bronze, which includes a pre-show soundcheck and Q&A with the group; silver, which offers a group photo and a group meet and greet; gold VIP, which substitutes the group photo and meet and greet for a one-on-one experience; and platinum, which gives fans access to a pre-show hospitality room and a chance to go on stage during the concert.
As I mentioned, I went for gold. Overall, I felt it was worth it and I would do it again. This was my first VIP experience ever and it went pretty much as expected, although there was much more waiting and standing than I thought. (Seriously, steel yourself for lots and lots of standing around.) Though I got there at 1:30 p.m., I wasn't actually inside of the venue until 4, and even then I had another hour to go before the VIP experience began.
By 5 p.m., the Backstreet Boys moseyed out onto the stage. First they chatted with the crowd a bit — hellos and introductions — and then they launched into a couple of songs (mostly a cappella). They performed about 5 songs or so, then went into the Q&A. Our Q&A was four questions long and then it was time for the meet and greet/photos.
Those with pit tickets were called up first (meeee!) so that they could get their picture and then be allowed to stake their claim in the pit area. The photos went quick — like, blink and you might miss it quick — but each person was given a chance to shake hands with the group and pose for a picture (no hugging or autographs), which would later be uploaded to the official BSB site.
My advice? Aside from don't freak out, have patience, wear comfortable shoes, and if you're selected to ask the group a question, make it great.
Opening Acts: DJ Pauly D and Jesse McCartney
Baylee Littrell: Although he isn't listed on the tickets or anything, Baylee Littrell — 11-year-old son of Backstreet Boy Brian Littrell — performs two songs. It's pretty adorable.
DJ Pauly D: You probably know DJ Pauly D from "Jersey Shore" and you may even remember that on the show he was an aspiring DJ. Surprise! Here he is, your first opening act, complete with his DJing laptop bedazzled with the Italian flag. Pauly mixes around 12 songs or so, and interacts with the crowd just enough to get everyone to fist pump.
Jesse McCartney: Jesse McCartney was previously in the boy band DreamStreet, had his own solo stuff (you probably heard "Beautiful Soul" even if you don't remember it), and now he's older, got a new EP, and has dancers that are delightful. He performs around 10, fully choreographed songs (with two back-up dancers) and even leaves the stage a few times, making it feel a bit of a mini-concert.
Main Performance: Backstreet Boys
The stage: The first thing you should probably know is how the actual stage is set up. Most maps are incorrect, in that this stage utilizes a cat walk. I drew you a picture (obviously a superb use of my time).
Fan pit tickets, closest to the stage, were exclusive seats that were pretty difficult to come by. I was GA pit. If you end up with tickets like mine, ignore the row/number on them because you will be standing for the entire show (as if you'd sit during the concert anyway). Here's a view of that it looks like when the Backstreet Boys are performing on the rectangular stage:
And this is what it looks like when they're on the catwalk:
For the slower songs, the band performs on the actual stage, which makes fan pit tickets prime (if being close to the stage is what you're after); for more upbeat songs, they tend to spread out on the catwalk (making GA pit seats the best). Their time pretty evenly split between both stages, and if your seats are a bit further back in the venue than you'd like, there are plenty of big screens to help you see the group, too.
The set list: The show itself is an excellent mix of new and old songs. Off of their latest album, they perform five songs, as well as an assortment of their biggest singles. For the U.S. leg of the tour, there is also an acoustic set for a handful of songs (indicated below with an asterisk). The group members play musical instruments, with Brian and Nick on guitar, Howie on bass guitar, Kevin on keyboard, and A.J. on percussion. This is also when the platinum VIPs will join the group on stage.
- The Call
- Don’t Want You Back
- Permanent Stain
- All I Have to Give
- As Long As You Love Me
- Show Em What You’re Made Of
- Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely
- I’ll Never Break Your Heart
- We’ve Got It Goin’ On
- 10,000 Promises*
- Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)*
- The One
- Love Somebody
- More Than That
- In A World Like This
- I Want It That Way
- Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)
- Larger Than Life
The transitions: It's not a pop show without costume changes. Sometimes you're waiting awkwardly as the band drags out the song you just heard for two minutes while the artists change. Not so with this concert — the audience gets to see a mixture of clips from the Backstreet Boys' upcoming documentary, which is pretty fun.
The dances: Hey, remember when you were 10 years old and you taught yourself all the dance moves to all of the Backstreet Boys songs? No, just me? Okay, well, the boys teamed up with their original choreographer Fatima Robinson to bring back all of their old dance numbers — including the "All I Have to Give" hat dance and even the praying hands from the "We've Got It Going On" music video.
Overall: If you're already a Backstreet Boys fan, or even if all you know is their biggest hit singles, you really can't go wrong with this tour. All five of them are together again; they've got fun, new music; they're back performing in large, outdoor stadiums (so affordable lawn seats are an option); and their new stage setup makes it so that when they're out on the catwalk, your seats are that much better. Plus, they perform all of their hit singles — from "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)" to "I Want It That Way." In a surprising conclusion to literally no one, I loved it and I'd go again in a heartbeat.