For almost 30 years, the Backstreet Boys have been some of pop music’s biggest stars. With hits like “I Want It That Way,” “Larger Than Life” and “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back),” their music has been the soundtrack to many people’s lives over the years — a feat they fully embrace.
The boy band — composed of Kevin Richardson, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean, Brian Littrell and Nick Carter — is gearing up to head back on tour after a brief break amid the pandemic, where they will deliver their chart-topping tracks, along with their impressive dance moves, to their loyal fans.
“To be the ‘soundtrack’ to people’s lives for almost 30 years is an absolute blessing,” McLean tells TODAY during their Las Vegas shows at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace, where they kicked off the DNA World Tour on April 8. “When you come to our show, doesn’t matter what’s going on in your personal life, good, bad or indifferent, for two hours you can forget about that. You can get lost.”
“Our show is for every one of every age. We have fans from five to 85 that come,” he continued. “Every song is different for everyone and whatever that song is, I’m sure, takes that person back to a very specific moment in their personal life … whatever that feeling is, you know, that, again, is a testament to the music.”
Formed April 20, 1993, in Orlando, Florida, BSB has sold over 130 million records worldwide and is recognized as one of the best-selling boy bands in history. Their last album, “DNA,” released in 2019, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart.
“Boy bands are us, baby,” Littrell said. “We’ve stood the test of time.”
The group prides itself on being a five-part harmony, bringing their distinct styles and sounds to come together as one.
“We are friends. We are family, we are brothers. We have spent more than half our lives in this group together. But collectively, I think we all bring something special to what makes up the sound of the Backstreet Boys, the look of the Backstreet Boys,” McLean detailed, noting they have “been blessed to work with some amazing songwriters and producers.”
With the DNA World Tour, fans get to see the artists' impressive repertoire during the two-hour, 32-song-filled concert. The show includes rare songs like “I Wanna Be With You” from their 1996 debut album and “That’s the Way I Like It” from “Backstreet’s Back,” as well as exciting medleys of songs from their 10 LPs.
“This is a jam-packed, explosive performance,” Carter described. “I think it’s the best thing that we’ve done in years since the late ‘90s, and early 2000s, where we had these really incredible shows with dancing and production.”
Coming out of the past two years with the pandemic, Carter believes that people are “really hungry for performances” and “searching for things that they love and that makes them feel good.”
“We came from a place in time where we put a smile on people’s faces with our music and the nostalgia that comes with it,” he added, expressing how proud they are of the show. “This is the best that we’ve had to date. And it’s the best of the Backstreet Boys. So we’re looking forward to getting back on the road, performing for all of our fans and giving them about two hours of escapism away from the crazy world out there.”
After four shows at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas in April, BSB will hit the road on June 4 starting in Chula Vista, California, and wrapping Nov. 6 in London. This time around, after originally postponing the tour amid the pandemic, they also added a number of shows across the country.
Dorough noted that they “started itching” to get back on tour and “We missed this connection that we have with our fans.”
Added, “Our fans are truly, as I say, the heart and soul of the Backstreet Boys.”
Of course, the BSB fans are a dedicated bunch, with many hoping to hear their favorite songs while at the concerts. Littrell shared that fans in Mexico enjoy hearing the Spanish version of “I’ll Never Break Your Heart,” while over in Germany, “They talk about ‘We’ve Got it Going On.’” He also mentioned that “The Perfect Fan” and “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely” are personal ones for fans who have lost a loved one.
The members also have their own songs that they identify most with. Richardson’s mother, Ann, recently died and he shared how the latter track “really resonates” with him.
“My mother passed and so that song is about loss. That is a very deep song,” Richardson explained, talking about “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely.” “And it hit me especially hard last night, I couldn’t even finish my verse and the fellas had to take over for me. It just hit me. Out of the blue, I felt some emotions coming up. As we were doing rehearsals, I thought I was gonna get emotional when I spoke to the audience. But no, it was during my verse.”
He shared that he got three or four words in when he couldn’t finish the lyrics.
“So that song hit me hard last night. I know a lot of people have dealt with loss during these last two years,” Richardson added. “Everybody’s gone through loss. Everybody’s gone through tough times these past two years. So that one really resonates with me right now.”
Whatever emotions arise during the shows, the singers are overjoyed to be back on stage and creating new memories with their fans.
“It’s just been an absolute dream to still be doing this almost 30 years later. It’s a testament to the music and it’s a major nod to the best fans a band like us could ask for,” McLean expressed. “It really is awesome to know that our music has stood the test of time and that we’re coming up on the big 3-0, which is just amazing. So thank you to all of our fans. And thank you to everyone that has stuck with us for 30 years. Hats off to all of you.”