concert reviews

Backstreet Boys at the 9:30 Club, Washington, DC, Wednesday 30 March 2005

It's been five years since the Backstreet Boys released an album, but not much has changed for the quintet. At a sold-out show at the 9:30 club on Wednesday night, the Boys danced in perfect sync while fans screamed the words to such hits as "I Want It That Way" and "Shape of My Heart."

The Boys are performing at smaller clubs in preparation for the release of a new album this summer. In addition to brushing up on older songs, they tried out a few new ones, which flowed seamlessly in their set. The new track "Climbing the Walls" featured their trademark mushy lyrics ("I can't let you go / You're a part of me now") and that same climax-signaling key change as on older songs like "I'll Never Break Your Heart."

The group's formulaic songwriting may be an easy target, but it has resulted in a number of catchy, hard-to-forget pop songs. The Boys flashed wide smiles as they danced all over the stage, even interacting with their five-piece backing band. Despite all that movement, their vocals blended effortlessly as they crooned to the ecstatic audience.

They closed their 90-minute set with "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)." The eight-year-old track summed up the night's energy with the triumphantly repeated phrase "Backstreet's back -- ALRIGHT!"

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post, 1 April 2005
.: Selected discography: The Hits: Chapter One (Backstreet Boys, 2001); Black and Blue (Backstreet Boys, 2000); Millennium (Backstreet Boys, 1999); Backstreet Boys (Backstreet Boys, 1997).