Live Review: Backstreet Boys, All Our Exes Live In Texas

14 May 2015 | 4:15 pm | Ben Preece

"It’s pop at its purest, it’s cheesy as sin and that’s just the way this crazy audience loves it"

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It’s ladies night at the BEC tonight with barely a glimpse of even a boyfriend forced along while his other half froths over her favourite Backstreet Boy.

But first, all-girl dream-folk quartet All Our Exes Live In Texas execute a remarkable stand-up set, given they’re offered the impossible task of opening for an all-singing, all-dancing boy band now in their 23rd year. The girls dazzle, they charm, they harmonise better than the headliners themselves and, the best bit – they’re totally stoked to be here. A cover of The White Stripes’ Hotel Yorba creeps into a set of originals that not only boasts impeccable four-part harmonies, but also accordion, mandolin and a ukulele and sits beside original set-closer Tell Me beautifully. And the BSB lads even crashed the stage for a selfie.

Screaming. All the screaming as the lights drop and an unassuming stage suddenly sparks to life, revealing a massive layout of illuminated stairs, platforms and the obligatory widescreen. Five dapper Backstreet Boys are revealed one by one, dressed in matching blue suits, and leap straight into 2001’s The Call. You gotta hand it to these five lads – they make no qualms whatsoever about being middle-aged men (Nick Carter is the youngest at 35, Kevin Richardson the eldest at 43) and not once take themselves seriously; well, not until they sit down with acoustic guitars for a track. The band back tracks are so real you’d be forgiven for thinking there’s a live band stuffed under the stairs and the wall-of-harmonies aren’t revealed as backing until the third-last song. Not that the sea of women care; they shriek like banshees at every word uttered, every pelvis thrust and every ‘90s dance move executed. And for that level of entertainment for that type of human being, the show can’t be faulted. And the set-list, of course, doesn’t miss a trick, stuffing cumbersome new tracks amongst the pop anthems As Long As You Love Me and Quit Playing Games (With My Heart) and the power ballads Show Me The Meaning Of Being Lonely, Incomplete and Shape Of My Heart. The big screen shows time-delays like interviews and a trailer for their new film while the guys prepare for the finale, the 1-2-3 assault I Want It That Way, Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) and Larger Than Life. It’s pop at its purest, it’s cheesy as sin and that’s just the way this crazy audience loves it.