'Loudest crowd ever': Backstreet Boys bring nostalgia back at 2023 Manila concert

Kathleen A. Llemit - Philstar.com

MANILA, Philippines — Let me borrow this line from my favorite boys since sixth grade: "I don't know where to start, but to show you the shape of my heart."

Yes, the context might be different from their song and times may have changed but the Backstreet Boys remain the men that hold this heart since finding comfort in their music video "Quit Playing Games With My Heart," after knowing that my crush doesn't crush me back.

Acknowledging that the song is not even about crushes, but the fact that the boys were one minute the cool guys pouring their hearts out by the bleachers and then the next minute, their shirts were wet with their abs on display, drenched by the pouring rain, while pleading for their love to be taken seriously, cemented their place in this heart. 

Who would even think about an unrequited crush when one can only watch this music video and everything will be alright again?

Sitting through the two-hour show for the Manila leg of Backstreet Boys' "DNA World Tour" last night at the Mall of Asia Arena brought back memories of time long gone yet cherished until now like most of their songs on loop on my playlist. 

It is safe to assume given the deafening shrieks and squeals throughout the show — except for one breathtaking moment — that this feeling is mutual for many in attendance. 

"Little fun fact. This is by far, the loudest crowd ever. Ever, ever, ever," AJ McLean told the fans during his spot with Kevin Richardson. 

"Salamat. Magandang gabi, Manila. I try to speak the native tongue. It's so good to be back," added Kevin. 

Indeed, it was like the Mall of Asia Arena was a venue for a mass sing-along session of Backstreet Boys songs. 

It was one favorite song after another from all of their hit albums such as "Backstreet Boys," "Black&Blue" and "Millennium." 

It is obvious that nostalgia played a big part for many as the Backstreet Boys sang their hits "Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely," "I'll Never Break Your Heart," "More Than That," "As Long As You Love Me," "I Want It That Way" and "All I Have To Give."

That one breathtaking moment happened when they did the a capella of "Breathe," a cut from their latest album "DNA." Apart from this, Howie Dorough sang "Chateau" from the same album. 

As Dorough pointed out prior to them singing this part, they went back to their roots when they used to sing a capella covers when they were starting. 

The segment reminded fans and listeners alike why Backstreet Boys remain popular to this day — they are vocal kings who can harmonize perfectly well together. 

Apart from singing their hearts out, they also showed their comic sides. AJ and Kevin were game "changing" their costumes in front of the audience. Some were lucky to take home a piece of clothing from AJ and Kevin when they threw it to the expecting audience. 

It was also quite telling how they are friends beyond gigs and world tours when they celebrated Brian Littrell's 48th birthday with their banters while making fun of their ages. 

"He was so mature at that time that he was the only boyband that actually had chesthair," Nick Carter said, referring to Howie when they first met. 

Nick was 13 while Howie was a "very mature 19-year-old" when they formed the band 30 years ago. AJ was 14 while cousins Brian and Kevin were 18 and 21, respectively.  

The latter agreed, "That's true. I'm Latin."

Nick, however, grilled birthday boy Brian with quips that the latter matched with fitting comebacks.  

Their genuine chemistry combined with a discography that could not be squeezed into a mere two-hour show, making their "DNA" 2023 Manila stop another memorable concert in the country. 

As they closed the show with "Larger Than Life," which came out with a space-themed music video replete with animation and special effects in 1999, Backstreet Boys' longevity is truly larger than life as they have managed to hold the interest of a generation — the titos and titas of Manila whose offsprings are inevitably exposed to the music of their youth. 

RELATED: In Photos: Unforgettable moments at Backstreet Boys’ 2019 Manila concert

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