Bubble-gum "Boys" grow up, get rich, still melt the girls

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Date: Feb 23, 2001
Source: Seattle Post-Intelligencer
Submitted By: brandi



The Backstreet Boys are boys no longer.

The youngest member of the Florida supergroup, Nick Carter, turned 21 last month. And the oldest, Kevin Richardson, is just a few months from hitting the big 3-0 (on Oct. 3).



WHAT: Pop concert

WHEN: Sunday night and Monday night at 7:30

WHERE: Tacoma Dome

TICKETS: $49.50-$58.50 at Ticketmaster, 206-628-0888

Members of the bubblegum group that helped inspire the "boy band" craze of the 1990s are now the elder statesmen of the genre, commanding salaries comparable to the much older and wiser Rolling Stones.

If you were hoping the Backstreet Boys would be gone by now, you'll be dismayed to know they've sold more than 55 million albums in the last three years. Their new album, "Black & Blue," sold more than 1 million copies in its first week of sales last November.

The Backstreet Boys' 115-date "Black & Blue" tour opened Jan. 22 in Miami and is expected to gross nearly $250 million. The tour includes nearly sold-out shows Sunday and Monday nights at the Tacoma Dome. Opening act is Krystal, an 18-year-old singer-songwriter signed to the Backstreet Boys' new label.

The mega-tour is the opening volley in what Billboard magazine, the top record-industry trade magazine, predicts will be a huge year for teen pop acts.

Backstreet Boys rivals 'N Sync recently announced a 45-date stadium tour of North America. Other offerings include Britney Spears and youth-oriented acts Jennifer Lopez, Sisqo and Usher. Add to this a slew of smaller acts -- Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore, Aaron Carter, Jordan Knight, A*Teens and B*Witched, among others -- eager to tap the touring market.

"I don't think there has been any slowdown in this phenomenon," Brad Wavra, vice president at SFX Music Group and the Backstreet Boys' tour producer, says in an interview in this week's Billboard.

The Backstreet Boys continue to fuel fan hysteria with slick multi-million-dollar stage productions. They have proven themselves as entertainers, even if their music lacks substance.

The current "Black & Blue" tour features a multilevel stage, thundering pyrotechnics, multiple video screens and side-stage runways that allow Carter, Richardson, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell and A.J. McLean to get really close to their fans.

The set list features such songs as "All I Have to Give," "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)," "Quit Playing Games With My Heart," "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely" and "I Want It That Way," as well as "Shape of My Heart" and "The Call" from the new album.

The latter song, an edgy dance tune about a cheating boyfriend, made its debut on Billboard's Hot 100 chart last week at No. 60 and climbed this week to No. 56 as the tour rolled across North America.

The Backstreet Boys recorded "Black & Blue" in the Bahamas, hoping to avoid the distractions of friends and families. The album is more eclectic than the group's last album, "Millennium." It's a mix of pop, R & B, rock and even a little country. But it's hardly a departure from the tried-and-true BSB formula -- a predictable blend of lachrymose ballads and high-stepping dance tunes.

"Black & Blue," the group's fourth album, features 13 songs, many of them co-written by group members. The new album is the first the group has recorded under new management. The group split with former manager Johnny Wright, who still manages 'N Sync.

"We've learned so much together, individually and as a group," McLean told Teen People magazine late last year. "Now we have an unbreakable bond."

A huge song from "Millennium," "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely," received a Grammy nomination for "best pop performance by a duo or group with vocal."

The group is also nominated "favorite singing group" in the 2001 Nickelodeon Kids Choice Awards, airing April 21 and featuring host Rosie O'Donnell. Fan voting began on Presidents Day at Burger King restaurants and online at www.Nick.com

Following the current North American tour, the Backstreet Boys will play a string of dates overseas. They'll return to North America for a series of stadium shows next summer, then finish out the year with concerts in Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

For updates on the tour, check the group's two Web sites, www.backstreetboys.com and www.bboys.com

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