OK, I admit, I'm a fan of the Boys (Article)

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Date: Feb 23, 2001
Source: London Free Press
Submitted By: Dawn

By CHRISTINA VARDANIS -- For the London Free Press

Not too long ago, I led a secret life. A self-proclaimed music afficionado, I revelled in the snobby world of Brit-pop and loathed the saccharine '80s bubblegum pop that was just beginning a comeback.

That is, until the Backstreet Boys (BSB) reared their perfectly coiffed heads. When their second CD, Backstreet's Back, rocked all 12-year-old girls in Canada five years ago, thanks to my roommate I found myself awakened to such inspired lyrics as "Get down, get down, and move it all around," and "Am I everything you need, you better rock your body now." I grumbled my way around the house, tossing about insults of the five pretty-boy, cookie-cutter no-talents over breakfast. My roommate would spar with me for fun, but refused to change her ways. I'd have to learn to live with it.

And I did. I learned to live with it while driving in the car, while making dinner, while studying for exams. Soon I was doing more than just tolerating the Backstreet Boys. I caught myself humming the melody to Quit Playing Games with My Heart, in the shower. Next came hiding in the basement, watching MuchMusic's Backstreet Bonanza special and putting their CD on repeat when my roommates weren't home.

Finally, I couldn't live a lie any longer. I came clean with my peers, my family and myself. I was over 20, mentally stable, aware of my actions and their consequences. And I loved the Backstreet Boys. I dig the music.

Two weeks ago, my boys (Nick, A.J., Brian, Kevin and Howie D., listed in order of preference), played SkyDome in Toronto to 55,000 fans. I was one of them. The following is a 24-year-old's diary of events leading up to and concluding with every pre-teen's dream, a night of the Backstreet Boys. I'd do it all again in a heartbeat.

Feb. 6, 9 a.m.: Day before concert. Backstreet Boys to appear live at MuchMusic later that night for pre-concert special. Receive frantic phone call from fellow concertgoer; complain about jobs that kept us from camping out downtown. We'll watch on television.

7 p.m.: At friend's apartment, special is fantastic. Talk about the merits of their music, make polite fun of the thousands of teenage girls who grasp each other desperately and jump up and down while screaming.

Feb. 7, 7:45 p.m.: Night of concert. Enter SkyDome, narrowly avert disaster. Ticket inspector, five years my junior, asks if I'm carrying a camera. "A camera?" I laugh. "I'm 24 years old." Am asked to open my purse. As she starts to unzip, I ask her not empty it, as I have "personal items . . . ahem, girl items," in there. She smiles sympathetically, closing it. I, and my loaded camera, are admitted.

8 p.m.: Inside SkyDome, exchange congratulatory glances on our ground floor seats. Scope out stage, get somewhat pumped about idea of underground tunnel leading to a mini-stage, rising three metres from our spot.

8:05 p.m.: Hear excited pre-teen tell friends she got Howie D.'s autograph at their hotel. Stumble out of my aisle and race to catch her. Without introductions, begin to interrogate on BSB's whereabouts. Claims she can't remember hotel's name. She's bluffing. I increase level of harassment. She breaks, admitting it "could have been" the Four Seasons. Relate information to friends, agree on a post-concert drink at said hotel's bar.

8:45 p.m.: Lights dim, concert begins. Grasp each other desperately and jump up and down while screaming.

9:30 p.m.: Was right about the mini-stage! BSB rise up beside our block of seats. Disperse. Use height and weight advantage to crawl over most teenagers in way, make it to front of mini-stage. BSB are five feet away. Feel ribs crush as the rest of crowd catches up. No matter.

10:30 p.m.: Concert ends, sense of peace and contentment washes over. Lights go up. Discuss why it would end so early. Ah yes, it's a school night.

11 p.m.: Perform highlights of the concert while walking through subway station. Agree acoustics of the venue murder our otherwise Backstreet-esque voices.

Midnight: Return home, happy, healthy. Take inner 12-year-old to bed, dreaming of the next world tour and accept fate as a BSB groupie. Decide there are worse things to be.


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