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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 28 May 2018

Backstreet Boys pitch perfect in Dubai

Brian Littrell, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean and Kevin Richardson took fans on a musical trip down memory lane

Backstreet Boys
Backstreet Boys

Dubai’s Blended music festival made its comeback on Friday and did so with a distinctly pop-flavoured bang.

After a three-year break, promoters at Done Events opened the doors to the festival’s third edition at 4pm – with five and a half hours to spare before the much-anticipated headliners, the Backstreet Boys.

By 3pm festival-goers were queueing outside the Dubai Media City Amphitheatre, carrying umbrellas and donning hats to shield themselves from the glaring afternoon sun.

In a matter of minutes, die-hard Backstreet Boys fans had taken their rightful places as close to the stage as they possibly could get, giddy for the arrival of the band. Behind them, the VIP guests relaxed on large white sofas in the lounge area, far from the sweat and tears that were soon to ensue in the pit.

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Read more: The Backstreet Boys have endured for more than two decades - here's why

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Brian Littrell, Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, AJ McLean and Kevin Richardson took fans on a musical trip down memory lane, in what was not only their first UAE concert in almost ten years, but also the 25th anniversary of the band’s inception. "What started out as a dream has now become a reality. We celebrate 25 years together today and so on behalf of myself and my brothers we want to thank you the Backstreet Boys fans for sticking with for 25 years," AJ McLean told the Dubai crowd.

Over the space of an hour and a half, the boys danced like it was 1993, like they were still five teenagers rehearsing dance moves in an Orlando warehouse.

Their choreographed moves ranged from cheesy hands-on-heart motions to their iconic chair routine from their video for As Long as You Love Me. While no one was hurt during the tricky chair-spin dance, Nick Carter did quite literally hit the stage when he slipped and landed on his back during the second song of the night, prompting a chorus of concerned sighs from the largely-female audience. "Watch, that is going to be the biggest meme of 2018," McLean told Carter jokingly.

More than two decades after they first met, it was clear to see that the boys’ strength remained their smooth harmonies, complementing vocals and energy on stage.

The singers belted out a string of hit singles, including their 1997 We’ve Got it Going On, Millennium’s I want it That Way and the heart-rending ballad, Shape of My Heart, ending the evening with Everybody (Backstreet's Back). All of which were mostly pitch-perfect and beautifully executed.

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