Backstreet's back, alright!
The Backstreet Boys, made up of AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson, and Brian Littrell, are undeniably one of the most commercially successful boy bands ever. They've stood the test of time with over two decades in the industry and 130 million records sold worldwide, and it's all lead to this: a longstanding residency in Las Vegas. The boys, err... men, kicked off their new show named Larger Than Life on Wednesday (March 1) at The Axis inside Planet Hollywood, the same spot where Britney Spears and Jennifer Lopez regularly perform. The guys sought out to capture nostalgia in a bottle by performing more than 20 of their most iconic hits, including “Larger Than Life,” “Quit Playing Games With My Heart,” “I Want It That Way” and “Everybody.” Despite a hectic rehearsal schedule ahead of their 26-show stretch, BreatheHeavy managed to steal AJ and Howie away for a minute to chat about their modern visual spectacle.
Why Vegas? Why now?
"It just felt right," AJ tells BH. "We’ve been thinking about it for a while, spoke with a lot of different people about it, got inspired by the Britney show, and just knew we needed to jump on this idea. Fortunately for us boys, it’s worked out so far."
The guys spent months preparing for Larger Than Life, but no amount of training could replace the electricity coursing through the crowd on opening night. "Getting back on the stage, and performing for our fans," Howie says of what he's looking forward to the most. "It’s been hardcore rehearsals for weeks, but you don’t have the incredible fan energy to feed off from during those," he said. "It’s going to feel so good to finally get to do this in front of the best people we know."
AJ added: "We want everyone to have a good time, and to remember good times as well. That’s the beautiful thing about music… it inspires you to think about the past while creating a memory for the future at the same time. We hope people come to the show, forget about their problems for a little while, and enjoy the show."
The opportunity also called on a moment of self-reflection. The guys kicked off their careers in 1993 – before social media and streaming dominated the industry – and it forced them to face the music.
"There have been so many changes in trends… especially in digital and social media,' Howie said. "When we were first releasing music, having an 'enhanced CD' was considered to be ahead of the curve. Can you imagine if we had one of those now?! However, the one thing that has not changed in this business is how incredible fans can be to the artists they love. That will never go out of style."
AJ agrees, and has a special message for the fans who've grown up with them. "You all make living our dream possible, and we are so grateful for your many years of support," he said. "Thank you for your love through the good times, and through the times where it might not have been very “cool” to like the Backstreet Boys. That is what got us here today. You all really are Larger Than Life, and this show goes out to you all."
Larger Than Life Setlist
Larger Than Life
I’ll Be The One
Every Time I Close My Eyes
Quit Playing Games With My Heart
Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely
I’ll Never Break Your Heart
Anywhere for You
Back To Your Heart
As Long As You Love Me
We’ve Got It Goin’ On
Get Another Boyfriend
More Than That
All I Have To Give
Shape Of My Heart
I Want It That Way