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After a two-year hiatus on their DNA World Tour, the Backstreet Boys resumed their world tour with a four-night launch at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. ET Canada was there when the boy band kicked things off with flirtatious strip shows, tears, celebrity guests, nail polish parties and cute family appearances.
But it was the deep nostalgia that bubbled throughout the two-hour show, which hits Canada from July, that took fans back in time and left them spellbound by the pop bliss of the late 1960s. 90s.
The 32-song set paid homage to the band Millennium era, during which they ruled the charts with hits like “I Want It That Way”. And while these favorites are a staple of any Backstreet Boys show, the DNA World Tour brings back some deeper cuts from the era.
“There are so many great songs in our catalog, but I love it when we do an acapella set and sing ‘Don’t Wanna Lose You Now,’ by Millennium,” Nick Carter told ET Canada. “It was never a single, but it was a really good song. It’s the epitome of being a real fan because if you’ve listened to the deep cuts of the Millennium era, you know the Backstreet Boys by heart !
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This song is partly responsible for sending me all my life @backstreetboys hole. Amazing to have him resurrected for the #DNAWorldTour set list 😍#millennium #bsb @kevinrichardson @howied @brian_littrell @aj_mclean @nickcarter #dna pic.twitter.com/JusjPM8Nmr
— Leena Tailor (@LeenaTailor) April 18, 2022
Inside the Colosseum Theater on Friday night, AJ McLean told the audience – which included *NSYNC’s Lance Bass and her husband Michael Turchin – that Las Vegas is a “second home” for the band, which had previously broken a record. larger than life residency at Planet Hollywood. Kevin Richardson then cried as he expressed how it felt to be back with the BSB Army.
“We are so lucky to be here with you tonight,” he said. “It has been two long and hard years. We have all been through a lot.
For Richardson, the past few months have been further clouded by the loss in January of his mother, Ann, who also loved music and sang in choirs as a youth. She was probably on Richardson’s mind on opening night, when he choked out singing “Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely,” a song partly inspired by heartbreak.
“He’s an emotional guy,” McLean later said. “I love it.”
Richardson, 50, and McLean, 44, then switched gears with a strip show.
“The other guys are backstage doing a quick change, but how would you feel if we were changed here…this is Vegas, right? McLean teased, before undressing from an open box. “Anyone with seats upstairs – you’re gonna see the whole fucking enchilada!”
In another tribute to the peak pandemonium the quintet faced around the millennium, fans then threw panties and bras on stage as the singers continued to get dressed. McLean and Richardson fired their boxers in response.
After performing “Passionate” by DNA and the 25-year-old hit “Quit Playing Game (with My Heart),” McLean kindly greeted his mother, Denise, who was in the audience.
“I wouldn’t be here on this stage doing what I love today if it wasn’t for a woman – my mom,” he said.
Richardson added: ‘Denise used to do our wardrobe, our merchandise, she was the bus mum, she cleaned up after us. She traveled everywhere with us.
The singers also recalled training in Orlando, Florida in April 1993.
“I was a very mature 19-year-old,” joked Howie Dorough, 48.
“He was so mature he was the only Backstreet Boy with chest hair,” Carter, 42, added. “He had all the hair and AJ didn’t, so he was combing over his goatee.”
Carter then teased Brian Littrell, 47, about the thickness of his southern accent when he joined the group.
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The musicians also performed solo excerpts from DNA tracks, with Dorough singing “Chateau”, Littrell performing “Nobody Else”, and Carter launching “The Way It Was”.
Carter wrapped up Friday night to celebrate her brother-in-law Corey Conrad’s birthday at Caesar’s Palace hotspot Omnia Nightclub, alongside Bass and Turchin. But the fun didn’t stop there for new dads Bass and Turchin, who welcomed twins in October.
The couple returned to Caesar’s Palace on Saturday afternoon to attend a nail polish tutorial for McLean’s brand, Ava Dean Beauty. McLean launched the brand with close friend Josh Naranjo in 2020 and they recently introduced a do-it-yourself nail polish kit in collaboration with Taylor Made Polish, whose founder Vanessa Ungvarsky showed fans how to mix their own shades .
McLean created a new shade named “Bye Bye Bye” in honor of Bass. “It’s going to be your biggest seller!” Bass laughs. The polish will be auctioned off to benefit Bass’ chosen charity, The Trevor Project, which helps LGBTQ youth.
Only in Vegas you take a @avadeanbeauty nail polish tutorial hosted by @aj_mclean & to have #lancebass & @MichaelTurchin like your classmates. Stay tuned as AJ auctions off a tint he created on behalf of Lance to benefit @TrevorProject 💅🎰💅 #avadeanbeauty #DNAWorldTour @sureitsjosh pic.twitter.com/psViPB0R9C
— Leena Tailor (@LeenaTailor) April 16, 2022
Given that at the time he was often frowned upon for wearing nail polish, McLean told us that it was “incredible” not only to have his own brand, but also to organize an event at which attended by fans, boyfriends, moms and Bass.
“This is where I belong, in this space,” he said. “I’ve always been comfortable in my own skin and express myself the way I do, so to all the haters – you just don’t get it. I love who I am and who I’ve become and that is the best way to share it with the world.
McLean also shared that he will be holding similar events during the Backstreet Boys’ Canadian tour. He added that his sense of style is even partly inspired by Vancouver native Ryan Reynolds.
With fans ready with their new nail polishes, he was back at the Coliseum for the final Las Vegas show on Saturday night, where Carter was thrilled that his two-year-old daughter, Saoirse, was attending her first Backstreet Boys concert.
“I like You!” Carter gushed as Saoirse watched him onscreen, waving frantically as he sat with mom, Lauren, and her big brother Odin.
This is my daughter Saoirse’s first BSB show. Daddy loves you. 🙏🏻❤️🥰 pic.twitter.com/KFqkYLS7dr
—Nick Carter (@nickcarter) April 17, 2022
The group is now eager to take the DNA World Tour hit the road again, with stops in Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Saskatoon, Winnipeg, Ottawa, Quebec and Montreal.
“I feel like I’m back home with the guys, back in our element,” said McLean, who spent his free time from the Backstreet Boys performing with side projects ATCK, “Back -Sync” and The After Party. “The crowd love is unlike anything we’ve had before due to the amount of time we’ve been off the road.”
“I can’t wait to come back to Canada,” added Carter, who recently collaborated with Jimmie Allen on “Easy.” “My God, Canada is so beautiful! There are so many memories, of my early days in Montreal and Toronto and being there a lot before we were big in America. I love it up there and we have great fans and amazing memories.