TVD Live Shots: Backstreet Boys with Baylee Littrell at the Honda Center, 8/5

ANAHEIM, CA | I’m a rocker at heart, but I gotta say that AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson, and Brian Littrell brought out my softer side on Monday night at the Honda Center. A sold-out crowd of 15,000+ joined me for a massive 33 song set that took us all on a wild ride down Backstreet and beyond. These guys haven’t lost a step since they took the world by storm in 1993 and would argue they have only gotten better with age. Backstreet’s definitely back—and in a big way!

Although I enjoyed some of the Backstreet Boys classics back in the day, they really weren’t my cup of tea. When I heard they were headlining at the Honda Center, I honestly didn’t think this band had the cachet to sell out an arena of this size. Legendary artists such as Elton John, Depeche Mode, and U2 have sold-out multiple nights at Honda, and I was skeptical at best that BSB would be able to pull that off.

As I walked up to the arena on Monday night, I was greeted by thousands upon thousands of rabid fans circling the building. Many had been there hours on end, waiting for their chance to rush the barricade and be up close and personal with their childhood heroes. The area surrounding the Honda Center was packed with fans from all walks of life including a few of bible thumpers warning BSB fans they were going to hell for attending the show. I didn’t know Backstreet sold their souls to the devil but guess anything could be possible these days. What I thought would be an average show at best was already shaping up to be something so much more.

Kicking off the show was Baylee Littrell (son of BSB Brian Littrell). I’ve honestly never heard of him but was blown away by his set on Monday night. At 16 years old, Baylee deserves kudos for being able to perform at such a high level at such a young age. He killed a six-song set that had a cool country-rock vibe to it, and it was well received by the BSB faithful. Baylee definitely looked the part and seemed to be the splitting image of his dad Brian back in the day. Based on his performance, I see big things in store for Baylee and he’s definitely a chip off the old Littrell block.

Anticipation was building as the Honda Center as the venue seemed to transform instantaneously from half-filled to sold-out in a few fleeting moments. When house lights finally dimmed, the now capacity crowd jumped to their feet as deafening screams filled the arena. I looked around and saw men and women alike crying with anticipation as massive video screens reintroduced AJ, Howie, Nick, Kevin, and Brian to Anaheim. Then, from out of nowhere, the group appeared through a mist of smoke and pyro, kicking off their highly anticipated DNA World Tour with “I Want to Be with You” off their 1997 self-titled debut. The energy was cranked to an 11 and the show had only just begun.

Over the next few hours, the Backstreet Boys escorted fans down memory lane with a juggernaut set that spanned their entire catalog and 25-year career as entertainers. Fans got to hear classics like “Quit Playing Games with My Heart” and “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)” along with solos and duets from all the band members. Nick Carter’s solo on “The Way it Was” was incredible and demonstrated just how talented he is as a vocalist. The 33 song-set was simply fire and ended with a couple of Backstreet Boys standards that took me way back—“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart” and “Larger Than Life”—a perfect way to cap off a ridiculously cool performance in Anaheim, CA.

Bottom line, this show was tight and one that I would highly recommend. Fans got everything they came for and more including a killer set list, pyro, lasers, massive video screens, and of course the incredible vocals and out-of-this-world dancing courtesy of the Backstreet Boys. Thank you, AJ, Howie, Nick, Kevin, and Brian for making the 2019 DNA World Tour unforgettable. It was a party of epic proportions and one that I won’t soon forget.

BAYLEE LITTRELL

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