Many Backstreet Boys fans have always wanted the Boys to do an acoustic album, an acoustic tour, or perhaps a few acoustic shows between albums. No one really expected it on a cruise. Weren’t things supposed to be hype all the time? Wouldn’t an acoustic set mellow everyone out? These things were on the minds of a few fans as they set sail on the first European cruise this past week.
Then it happened.
Fans at home were a little shocked and lot thrilled when, within hours of the Boys boarding the cruise, they periscoped the group rehearsing “Darlin'” acapella. When was the last time we had even heard that song?! Bonus: they sounded even more flawless than usual.
Then came the actual acoustic concert.
And we remembered why we’re Backstreet Boys fans.
It wasn’t just because they were singing live in front of us (or online) for the first time in months. It was so many reasons and so many feelings beyond that.
1. They Brought Back The Classics.
Did we ever think in a million years that we’d be SO ecstatic to hear “Just To Be Close” after hearing it acapella every time the Backstreet Boys turned around in the beginning? Hearing it now took us back. It took us back to basics, stripped our Boys down of everything that happened in 23 years, and reminded us what made us fans in the first place.
Then there’s “Let’s Have A Party” and “Lay Down Beside Me”, a song that instantly reminds us of the Orlando Coming Home concert and A Night Out With The Backstreet Boys, both of which most of us were only lucky to watch repeatedly when we were tweens.
There’s also the fact that Kevin, Brian, Howie, AJ and Nick also got emotional – like they were going back with us. We were all in the same head space, all back in the beginning, to 98, 99, and 2000s. It was like hearing our journey as fans and their journey as a group come to life. We weren’t ready for those emotions.
And we want to do it again!
2. They Listened To Us!
Months before the cruise set sail, an email was sent out to cruisers to ask for their opinions on what they wanted to hear during the acoustic set on board. We’ve been through this before – we get emails, we respond, and nothing ever happens with them or we’re left wondering if this is what people ACTUALLY replied with, because it didn’t seem like it.
But this setlist… well… it was straight from the fans. These are the songs we’ve wanted to hear again since they’ve disappeared from tour and live performances. These are the songs that are fan-loved, not world-loved. In short, the best.
An “I Want It That Way”-free set list with “Don’t Wanna Lose You Now”? Yep. That’s ours.
3. That Sound.
Of course, every good BSB fan always argues that they sound amazing all the time, best vocals, blah blah blah.
But there isn’t one fan that wasn’t taken aback by how incredible they sounded during the acoustic set. Honestly, most of us, there or simply watching online, shed a few tears, as did the Boys themselves. As if bringing back the songs we originally fell in love with wasn’t enough, they stripped it down to the vocals we’d forgotten we needed.
No flash. No choreography. Just five guys with talent and big dreams who seemed to be really taking in how far they’ve come.
We can’t write this point without talking about the vocals of Brian Littrell. Wow. We couldn’t be more proud of the progression he’s made and the strength he has shown. Hearing him sing “Darlin'” with such a purity, a vocal clarity, a confidence… well, moved doesn’t even seem to cover it. It’s pretty safe to say, by the looks of the faces of the other four guys, that we aren’t the only ones. As the crowd chanted Brian’s name, our hearts were never more full.
Michael Jordan is back.
If you haven’t seen the acoustic performance, the French Backstreet Team was kind enough to put one of the performances (Group B) into one video. Check it out (and have your tissues ready)!