St. Petersburg Times Review: 2/24/00, St. Petersburg, FL

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Date: Feb 29, 2000
Source: St. Petersburg Times
Submitted By: Ivy C

Energetic Boys met with 45,000 screams

By GINA VIVINETTO

published February 25, 2000

ST. PETERSBURG -- Those lucky fans who caught one or both of the Backstreet Boys sold-out Ice Palace shows last December weren't in for any surprises if they attended Thursday's Tropicana Field show. The Boys gave a nearly congruent concert. Not that that's a bad thing.

Again things kicked off with the Boys descending from the ceiling into the arena on wired surfboards to the Star Wars theme. The nearly 45,000 fans screamed so loud they nearly drowned out A.J., Brian, Kevin, Nick and Howie, clad in futuristic warrior uniforms, singing Larger Than Life.

The Boys, who performed at the 42nd Grammy Awards the night before, kept up the energy level. For the record, yes, they really do sing. Yes, they dance very well. And yes, they make their love for fans well-known in sweet between-song banter.

The stage for the Boys' Into The Millennium tour is pentagon-shaped and sits in the middle of the arena, which could be awkward for a less energetic act. But some drama teacher somewhere taught the Boys about utilizing space. The five dance and groove all around each point. Five video cameras above show close-ups of the Boys and their superb back-up band, which features St. Petersburg native Mindi Abair on sax, percussion and keyboards.

There were a few different things at Thursday night's show, namely Nick Carter's short new 'do, for which he solicited praise from the audience.

"I've been taking votes all around the country, but the one that counts the most is from my hometown," Carter said. (He grew up in Tampa.)

Fans cheered throughout the Boys' renditions of hits such as The One, As Long As You Love Me and Quit Playing Games With My Heart, during which all five Boys were wired back above the crowd, dangling, twisting, turning, tossing stuffed animals to fans.

Critically acclaimed rap duo the Jungle Brothers opened the show smartly. Peers of A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul, the Brothers have a new album, V.I.P., out this year, but they opted to keep the crowd's energy high, encouraging them to dance while they gave shout outs to the Backstreet Boys.

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