Tuesday, Sept. 10, 2013 | 6 a.m.
It’s been a decade since Kevin Richardson joined his Backstreet Boys bandmates Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, A.J. McLean and Brian Littrell onstage, and he made it a memorable return Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Two words: clothing malfunction.
During the concert-opening “The Call,” after an introductory 007-themed video and the five Boys (men now, actually, ages 33 to 41) taking the stage in matching gray suits, Richardson’s pants split — then split even more.
(There is proof in the accompanying photo gallery. I would’ve guessed boxer briefs, and I would be incorrect, it seems.)
Split pants aside, the Backstreet Boys’ second-to-last date in their “In a World Like This” tour was a fan’s dream come true. The Boys sang their faces off and danced and danced and danced their hearts out for two solid hours. The all-LED staircase, stage and wall set reminded my concert guest of Muse, for me Sir Elton John’s million-dollar piano in his residency at the Colosseum in Caesars Palace.
However, this was a rare concert where the artists were the focus, not the staging, set and costumes, and the Boys, who formed in 1993 (so, yes, this year is their 20th anniversary), delivered. Love ’em or hate ’em, the Backstreet Boys are born entertainers.
Among the astounding 20-plus-song setlist: “The Call,” “Don’t Want You Back,” “Incomplete,” “Permanent Stain,” “All I Have to Give,” “As Long As You Love Me,” “Show ’em (What You’re Made Of)” (with dads Richardson and McLean dedicating the song to their sons), “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely,” “Breathe,” “I’ll Never Break Your Heart” and “We’ve Got It Goin’ On” (their first single).
In a slowed-down, mostly acoustic set (and with oddly unexplained people onstage sitting as if in a choir), BSB performed “Safest Place to Hide,” “10,000 Promises,” a snippet of Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” “Madeleine” and “Quit Playing Games With My Heart.”
Then, “The One,” “Love Somebody,” “More Than That,” their new single “In a World Like This” (which I really liked), “I Want It That Way,” “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” for encore No. 1, and “Larger Than Life” for the energetic show closer.
“Shape of My Heart,” my favorite BSB song, like, ever, wasn’t part of the setlist. Sad panda. Trivia: Although the bestselling boy band of all time at 130 million albums (sorry, ’N Sync fans), Backstreet Boys have never had a No. 1 hit.
DJ PAULY D
Paul “DJ Pauly D” DelVecchio was a Rhode Island DJ long before he became a GTL star on MTV’s “Jersey Shore,” and he proved his mashup chops Saturday night, playing and shouting to the crowd amid a set that included Miley Cyrus’ “We Can’t Stop,” “I Love Rock and Roll” by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, “Jump Around” by House of Pain and “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia.
There were multiple fist pumps — and his climactic two-arm fist pump — but surprisingly (and thankfully) no “Shots” by LMFAO and (sadly) no “Back to Love,” his first radio hit.
Pauly D is more than his blown-up Bart Simpson ’do and tan, muscles and tattoos, which were hidden under a long-sleeved black shirt and camouflage pants. Pauly is the perfect hype man, and he engaged the crowd and got the party started. (I’ll even go on record and admit that I wanted more from him.)
Jesse McCartney, at the ripe old age of 26, borrowed from the doo-wop leanings of Bruno Mars and Pharrell — if it works for them, why not for him? — and bounded onstage in a blue suit jacket, a white dress shirt, a black necktie, black slacks, shiny black dress shoes and blue-and-black striped socks. McCartney also has morphed into Leonardo DiCaprio’s younger brother.
“He is adorable,” my concert guest confided. McCartney also is a solid, stylish and charming singer, dancer and performer. The performance included well-executed Michael Jackson “Smooth Criminal” leans and McCartney noting that he toured Europe with BSB in 2005 and has a three-song EP being released in October and a full album in 2014.
McCartney’s setlist: “Leavin’,” “How Do You Sleep?,” “So Cool,” “Body Language,” “Checkmate,” “Shake,” “Back Together,” “It’s Over” and, for his encore, “Beautiful Soul.”
Saturday night’s four-hour show was possibly the most fun I’ve had at a concert in 2013 (BSB’s 2011 tour with New Kids on the Block, titled NKOTBSB, also was exceptionally fun). Thank you, boys and Boys, and thanks to contributing photographer Tom Donoghue for fantastic photo galleries of McCartney and the Backstreet Boys, who — Carter, Dorough and Richardson, specifically — hosted an official concert after-party at Body English in the Hard Rock Hotel.
Don Chareunsy is senior editor for arts and entertainment of the Las Vegas Sun.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
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