The Old Kids Are Back on the Block and Headed to Jakarta
Today’s young generation has Justin Bieber and Katy Perry to worship, but back in the day it was the New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys who ruled the charts.
The two American boy bands peaked at different times — the New Kids had their heyday in the late 1980s and early ’90s, while the Backstreet Boys were hugely successful in the mid to late ’90s — but the concept of the bands was the same: They were a handful of handsome young men who could sing sugary sweet pop songs and sway their hips during their live shows.
It seems like a simple formula, and yet it was a highly lucrative one. The girls of the world went crazy over the good looks and swift movements of their dashing and talented idols: New Kids on the Block, Take That, Backstreet Boys, Westlife, Blue — the list seems endless.
Many of those bands have disbanded in the years since the zenith of the boy band craze, while others have gone on a hiatus and then reunited to make music once more.
New Kids on the Block and the Backstreet Boys, however, have done something unique: They have decided to join forces and go on tour together. Under the unwieldy acronym NKOTBSB, the two groups toured North America in 2011 and visited Europe earlier this year, much to the delight of their fans who enjoyed the offering by two of the biggest boy band acts in history.
Thanks to its big success, NKOTBSB has extended the tour to include concerts in Australia and Asia, and will make a stop in Jakarta on June 1.
“We were all on tour, not together at the same time, but we were pretty close on the road,” Brian Littrell of the Backstreet Boys told Entertainment Tonight in 2010 when asked how the collaboration came about. “NKOTB were wrapping up their summer run. We happened to be out and we ended up being on stage together. It was a magical moment none of us will ever forget. So we started talking about [going on tour together] and we made it happen.”
By the middle of last year, news spread on Twitter that NKOTBSB was going to perform in Jakarta in September, and the microblogging platform was abuzz with many users expressing excitement about the upcoming show. As it turned out, the information was a hoax.
The disappointment, however, didn’t last long. In December, both bands announced on their Twitter accounts and their official website that a June concert in Jakarta was for real this time. Tickets allegedly sold out within hours.
The set list features many of the bands’ greatest hits, including “Step by Step,” “If You Go Away,” “Tonight” and “Hangin’ Tough” by NKOTB, as well as “Shape of My Heart,” “As Long as You Love Me,” “I Want It That Way” and “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)” by the Backstreet Boys. In addition to the well-known hits, both groups will introduce material from their latest albums.
NKOTBSB even released a compilation album that features five greatest hits each — chosen by fans via an online vote — and two songs that they have recorded together, “Don’t Turn Out the Lights” and “All in My Head,” both of which will also be part of the NKOTBSB live concert.
Both NKOTB and Backstreet Boys have come a long way since they first started out and are definitely not “boys” or “kids” anymore, no matter what the bands’ names may suggest.
But as Jordan Knight said in a radio interview earlier this year, they have all come to terms with being older as it has made them more mature, and he is thankful for getting this second chance.
“I feel better than ever at the age I am at. If someone told me 20 years ago that I would still be doing this and going strong with it, I wouldn’t have believed them. Because when you are 20, then 40 feels old,” Knight said.
The first wrinkles or gray hairs may be visible and the dance moves might not be as demanding and brisk as they were a decade ago, but if nothing else, this concert promises to be one great trip down memory lane, back to a time when boy bands still ruled the world.