Wednesday, June 13, 2012

NKOTBSB in Manila Concert Review: A Slice of Boyband Heaven

NKOTBSB in Manila Concert Review: A Slice of Boyband Heaven
Written by Jamie Ortega
Photos by Magic Liwanag Photography

I am very much a 90s girl. I listen to 90’s music at work, I watch Dawsons Creek during my free time, and I was, and still am, a huge fan of 90s boybands. I don’t know why I love the 90s so much, probably because I was in high school during the ‘90s, and like most highschool kids my world revolved around my teen idols. So you can imagine my glee when I found out that super groups New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys would be having a concert in Manila. I forced myself to not watch any of their previous tour performances online just so I could feel the magic on June3, 2012 at SM Mall Of Asia when NKOTBSB Live In Manila came around. And boy, was it a good decision!

The night kicked off with a decent enough front act, the boy band VFort. I loved their original song Princesa, the song was so incredibly upbeat and peppy, with a sound reminiscent of another OPM group, ‘80s boy band Neocolours. I also enjoyed VFort’s
 Katy Perry medley which made a good number of people stand up and dance. So, good job guys! Before I go on with my review can I just say how much I loved this concert because it was full of surprises. The first surprise was when Donnie Wahlberg of New Kids On The Block introduced the other two front acts, Roscoe Umali and Prince Of R and B Jay-R- who are both Pinoys! In the dog-eat-dog world called the music industry isn’t it nice to see an American popstar like Donnie support Pinoy talent? Props to Mr. Wahlberg for doing that.

            Whoever thought of having these two groups tour together should be given an award because, judging by the insanely spectacular show the boys gave, the idea was absolutely brilliant. Kudos should also be given to Ovation for having a stage that gave enough room for the boys to walk around and interact with their fans with. (For those who weren’t there the stage was horizontal in length with a runway at the front.)  As soon as the lights dimmed for the third time, fans rushed to the sides of the runway and in front of the main stage to have a closer look at their idols. The boyband extravaganza (or marriage of boybands as some reporters put it,) was kicked off with an interesting mash-up of Single by the Backstreet Boys and Coldplay’s Viva La Vida as the boys gave it their all wearing leather outfits and black top hats.

            What followed then was an interchange of performances which gave fans of the two groups ample time to scream, shout, and basically go ballistic for the boybands. NKOTBSB performed a total of 29 songs plus three encore songs making the show worth every penny. New Kids On The Block came in first with a rendition of Summetime followed by BSB’s The Call. As the show progressed, it was pretty obvious that NKOTB showed more skin. Jordan Knight was clad in a white, tight sleeveless top, Donnie Wahlberg paraded down the stage with his insane six-pack, need we say more?

            However, the Backstreet Boys made up for it by giving undeniably energetic, heart-pumping, kilig-inducing performances. I loved how they would go to the side of the stage, wave, cheer, and give out autographed pictures to the fans. The Call was followed by NKOTB’s Dirty Dancing and BSB’s Get Down mashed up with LMFAO’s Party Rock Shuffle. As expected, NKOTB’s hit songs garnered the most applause like You Got It (The Right Stuff) which had the boys lining the runway, singing into their mike stands while dancing in unison.

            Remember how I mentioned I was a kid of the ‘90s? Nick Carter was a huge part of that. I remember collecting BOP, Teen Beat and Tiger Beat magazines with
 his face on them. Which was why the  next number, BSB’s Larger Than Life, will forever be etched in my memory as a tattooed and muscled Nick Carter in a sleeveless black shirt, together with the rest of the Backstreet Boys, caroused down the runway. If at the start of the show NKOTB and BSB took turns performing, towards the middle of the concert each of the boy bands enjoyed a longer time in the spotlight with New Kids On The Block going first. NKOTB kicked off the “longer rounds” with a medley of love songs starting with Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time) and Valentine Girls as Jordan Knight’s flawless falsetto reverberated throughout the arena. The boys, looking unbelievably dapper in suits and berets, succeeded in making the swoon meter at the venue go a million times higher. Valentine Girl was followed by more NKOTB tunes,
If You Go Away and Please Don’t Go Girl.

            The Backstreet Boys didn’t disappoint either as they serenaded the audience with  Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely, 10,000 Promises, I’ll Never Break Your Heart, Drowning and Incomplete while wearing crisp white suits. A boy band concert wouldn’t be a boyband concert without the usual “sing to the girls onstage portion” and the Backstreet Boys did exactly that as they each serenaded a girl with Nick overtly flirting
the girl he picked (yes insert jealous font here!).
            Not to be outdone, NKOTB took the crowd’s energy a notch higher as they delighted their fans with hit tunes Step By Step, Cover Girl, My Favorite Girl, Games and Tonight. During Tonight the boys took time out to go down into the crowd, shake hands, kiss and hug lucky fans. Touched by the response of their Pinoy fans Donnie shared this message, "Manila, mahal ko kayo. Mahal na mahal kita," while Joey McIntyre expressed how lucky they were to finish the tour in the Philippines. “"This tour is so special. We're finishing it in the Philippines. We're so blessed to have such good memories here," McIntyre said.

            The boys indeed saved the best for last as Backstreet Boys took center stage once more performing some of their biggest hits like Shape Of My Heart, As Long As You Love Me, All I Have To Give, We’ve Got It Goin On and Quit Playing Games (With My Heart) with the crowd gleefully singing along. Another great aspect of the concert was how it allowed each member of the group to shine, like Jordan Knight who followed up the last Backstreet Boys medley with I’ll Be Loving You Forever, impressing everyone with his goosebump-inducing falsetto.
It was obvious how close the two groups have become, judging by their farewell messages to each other toward the end of the concert. It was the final stop in a long tour spanning several countries and they showed how special they are to each other by giving each other sweet and touching goodbye messages.” In behalf of Backstreet Boys, I would like to thank the five selfless guys we have shared the stage in the last year and a half. Without NKOTB, this would not be possible. Thank you, fellows," shared AJ McClean. Wahlberg in turn, shared, "I'm going to miss all of the Backstreet Boys -- they're great partners and even better friends. I want to thank the BSB fans for joining the New Kids fans. This marriage of two boy bands -- in the 15 years, we're gonna have boy band babies and they're going to come here in Manila," Wahlberg said. The boys fittingly ended the show with NKOTBSB’s latest single Don’t Turn Out The Lights.

Just before we thought we saw the end of one of the best shows this writer’s ever seen,  the Backstreet Boys and New Kids On The Block gave one last hurrah with an encore medley of BSB’s Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) and  NKOTB’s Hanging Tough mixed in with Queen’s We Will Rock You. As this writer was fighting tears in her eyes, the two groups, wearing jackets with Philippines printed on the back, joined together for a touching group hug onstage with confetti falling on everyone. The entire concert was a dream comes true in so many aspects-having two groups I love onstage, performing in the flesh, making fans like me happy. Indeed, it was a night full of memories boy band fans will forever keep in their hearts. 

For more photos from the show, visit:

1 comment:

mya said...

I saw Kiss the last 2 times they came around the East Coast..they put on a great show and play all the old classic songs!! For the price of Kiss tickets they are always at good prices !!! Enjoy!