A power surge caused a brief delay Wednesday night at BOK Center.
Maybe there was too much power in the building. After all, who has more staying power than the Backstreet Boys?
Twenty six years into their career, the Backstreet Boys can still pop a No. 1 album (“DNA” debuted at the top spot earlier this year), put on a physically demanding/vocally pleasing show and engage in a substantiated chat about undergarments.
Midway through the show, Kevin Richardson and AJ McLean were doing an on-stage costume change and the conversation topic was how there was a time in the group’s career when bras and panties would get tossed on stage. When a black bra then wound up in Richardson’s vicinity, the response was “We still got it.”
Yes, they do.
The Backstreet Boys -- Richardson, McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter and Brian Littrell -- formed in 1993.
Carter said he was 12 going on 13 when they met. By the time Jan. 28 arrives, all of the Backstreet Boys will be in their 40s. Really, they became the Backstreet Men long ago, and they showed a here’s-all-our-kids video (to the song “No Place”) that hammered home the point. Littrell’s teen son, Baylee, was the opening act and did his old man proud. That means the Backstreet Boys have been around so long that the boy of a Backstreet Boy is releasing a record. And if DNA is more than just an album title, the kid will be fine.
Did you know the Backstreet Boys hit the top 10 with each of their first 10 charting albums? The last group to do that was Led Zeppelin, according to Billboard. When the new album hit No. 1, it was the Backstreet Boys’ first chart-topping album in more than 18 years.
Not so coincidentally, the Backstreet Boys are on the road for what is billed as the group’s biggest arena tour in 18 years. The tour is in support of “DNA” and, truth in advertising, support happened. The two-hour set included a taste of eight songs from the new album, but it was not the kind of show where vintage tracks were eliminated from the set list to make room for new material. There were at least four songs from four different albums (seven from “Millennium”) and the opening notes of familiar songs sparked roars from a mostly female audience. (After picking up review tickets, I counted the first 100 people to enter the BOK Center’s south entrance. There were 91 females and nine males.)
The Backstreet Boys came on stage around 9:30 p.m. with an introductory video that seemed like something out of a Marvel movie. (Richardson could pass for Tony Stark or Stephen Strange.) If you want to connect some dots, Carter once approached Marvel icon Stan Lee about creating a Backstreet Boys comic -- and it happened.
It was immediately apparent that choreography and the flexing of vocal and harmonizing muscles would be the strength of the show.
During the course of the concert, which sometimes seemed like a career retrospective, members of the group asked audience members to identify themselves if they were new fans and to identify themselves if they had been fans for all 26 years. In the latter category was the person sitting next to me who had seen the group three times during their Las Vegas residency. Members of the Backstreet Boys thanked fans for their role in the group’s longevity.
Carter, noting the crowd size, said, “Does this mean you still love the Backstreet Boys after all these years?”
That got a roar, just like a few minutes later, when McLean asked, “How about we have 26 more years? What do you say?”
The Backstreet Boys' first Tulsa show since 2011 included top-10 hits like “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)”, “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely,” “All I Have to Give,” “Everybody,” “I Want it That Way” and, with the noise level reaching a new peak, the encore-ending “Larger Than Life.”
Larger than life? To fans, it feels that way, still.