On June 19, 2010...something happened. Something strange and confusing and awesome and incredible happened.
I was there the night Backstreet Boys surprised the crowd at Radio City Music Hall. (And so that we're ABSOLUTELY clear: I did get tipped off by a friend as to what point BSB would be showing up, hence my "bring them out already" comment you hear on the video.) I remember seeing my timeline filled with mostly positive feedback but seeing some tweets of the "oh helllllllll no" variety. We figured it was going to be a one off thing and that's it.
But then it led to something bigger. Something larger. Something that for me, prayed it would happen but never would and for others, were hoping that was being hinted at would never come to pass. From then on, fans were scrambling to know who is who in the other band, learning the other group's songs (even Donnie once admitted that he was confusing Shape Of My Heart with Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely.) In a music industry where an album no longer sells enough to make you profitable, a single can make or break you just on iTunes and the idea that 2 "aging boybands" go on tour is laughable, nine men set out to prove to everyone, including fans in both camps that were not thrilled with the decision, a disillusioned industry and maybe even to themselves, that in order for both groups to survive, something had to done. Something to had to spark.
That spark grew into a flame which spread like wildfire. Who remembers the night of the 2010 American Music Awards where as the last act to perform, they brought the audience to their feet and seeing musicians dance along to The Right Stuff and sing the words to Larger Than Life (I see you Pat from the group Train!) Who remembers the giddiness of ushering in 2011 watching them perform in Times Square? The europhia of seeing the stage? (Hey, we're women....and guys too.) And now who can longer hear the opening notes of "Viva La Vida" on the radio without thinking "If you came here by yourself tonight...?" Who remembers the feeling of pride when music critics actually said kind words about the show? And for the non North American fans, who will admit that without this partnership, NKOTB may have never made it back there at all?
As the curtain lowers for the last time in Manila signaling the official end of the NKOTBSB tour, let us reflect. Who would have thought that they would get along so well that they would be spending the day at the golf course together and sharing their off stage clothing? Who would have believed that some NKOTB fans would have realized "hey this Get Down dance is hypnotic!" (ok it's not but damn it's fun.) And I can bet that BSB fans felt the same ("Wow, Mark Wahlberg's older brother is HOT!") And the one thing that BHs have been craving for is slowly coming true: as the BSB split off to record again with Kevin, this has motivated our guys to FINALLY push ahead with new music.
To the small quotient of fans who never budged on their original position of not being involved in this chapter of NKOTB for whatever reason they had, all I can say is...I respect your decision. Maybe it wasn't meant for you. But at the same time, it's too bad that you missed out on close to two years that reinvigorated your boys to push harder as performers and to keep up with their counterparts.
To the BSB fans that finally got to experience NKOTB live...as much as I hate to bring up Jabba The Hut...em, Lou Perlman, it's because of NKOTB that he set out to create the Backstreet Boys. That means he gets that one shred of credit. They're pretty solid for a bunch of 40 year olds, huh?
To the BHs who were resistent on the merge but who were willing to see BSB in person and grew to enjoy them...see they're not so bad! :)
To Brian, Nick, AJ and Howie...I'm not sure if I should call you "stepbrothers" as you were part of my life for a long time as well, but after this tenure, you'll ALWAYS be part of the NKOTB family.
And to Donnie, Danny, Jonathan, Jordan and Joey...5 Brothers, a million sisters, a million more "stepsisters," and 4 more "stepbrothers." NOTHING can hold us back or keep us down.
Raise your glasses Block Nation and Backstreet Army. We shocked. We made people awe. We kicked ass and took names doing it. Time to bring it home for one final session at Mixtape.