Photo credit: Denille Gatchalian
The Backstreet Boys!!!
When: Saturday, Sept. 6, 2008
Where: Marymoor Park
A couple of overpriced glasses of wine into the night, I turned to her with a solemn expression. “I have something embarrassing to tell you,” I whispered. “I’m like, kind of nervous.” She gasped. “Oh my god! Me too. I have butterflies in my stomach!” We both giggled. But in a weird, jittery sort of way. Sort of like the meth addict that hangs out outside my apartment complex every evening.
It’s bizarre what happens when two 23-year-old women go to a Backstreet Boys concert. You automatically return to your awkward 12-year-old self. We spent the entire afternoon before the show listening to BSB songs and making signs that read “I heart Nick” and “I heart Brian.” For good measure, we also threw a liter of orange juice and Andre’s champagne into the backseat of my girlfriend’s car. Then, at the very last minute, we ditched the signs. “What if we’re the only people with signs?” I asked anxiously. “I don’t want to be lame.” (As if I wasn’t already.)
As expected, Saturday night’s audience consisted almost entirely of women. There were also some fairly disgruntled looking men who, because they have sex with these women, were succumbed to spending an evening with BSB. “My girlfriend’s somewhere over there,” one such heroic guy told me, waving toward the stage. “I’m just gonna chill here and drink beer until she’s done.”
Add another couple glasses of overpriced wine to the ones we’d already had, and we began to seriously reconsider our decision to ditch our signs. How the hell were Nick and Brian going to spot us if we didn’t have them?! Shit. But, it turns out, it’d been a good move on our part. An entire two people at Marymoor had signs. The second they put them up, women turned into rabid animals foaming at the mouth. “PUT THAT SHIT DOWN!” “YOU BITCH! LOSE THE FUCKING SIGN!” “YOU SUCK!” (Last one—courtesy of me.)
Here’s the thing about seeing BSB in concert in the year 2008—it’s a lot more about the nostalgia than it is about the music. Yes, they were good. But not that good. They were older, sweatier, and reduced to a quartet. Howie is like, four feet tall in real life. Between BSB songs, each member of the band would take the stage individually to promote their solo projects—which we squealed about in the moment, but instantly forgot post-show. Sorry, but I just can’t get that riled up about a Brian Littrell debut album.
BUT I’m saying all of this in retrospect. That’s because I’m 23 again. Bu that night I digressed 10 years. Hence, at the time, BSB were gods that could do no wrong. They opened with “Larger than Life” and then launched into their no. 1 hit “I Want It That Way.” We screamed for two hours straight. Then—this is pretty fucking embarrassing and I don’t remember doing it—I CRIED. Then my girlfriend cried. We hugged and declared that this could very well be the best night of our lives. Then we went home and passed out in prepubescent drunken bliss.
Lest I forget—let me mention the merchandise. A goddamn BSB shirt for $40?!? Yikes. Even more ridiculous was the WWND shirt on sale. “What Would Nick Do?” it read with a photo of the BSB’s prime hottie posed in a Jesus-like manner. I didn’t buy one because I wanted Nick to see me as a potential date, not a crazed fan. Sadly he never glanced at me once and I felt a slight sting. I don't know what he would do, but I certainly know what he didn't: Me.