The Backstreet Boys in concert, Rishon LeZion, April 22, 2018..
(photo credit: ORIT PNINI)
Buying a ticket to the Backstreet Boys is a two-for-one deal. You're not just paying for the performance; you've also just snagged yourself a ticket down memory lane.
During Sunday night's show at Rishon LeZion's Live Park, the Boys knew that when we sang along to every note and lyric it wasn't just because we love them (we do!), but also because we harbor a bittersweet longing for yesteryear, when they were the soundtrack to our lives.
So was the case for the largely 30-something crowd of (mostly) women, who happily waved signs celebrating the Boys' 25th Anniversary and danced along to songs that defined the 90s.
The Boys – Nick Carter, Brian Littrell, Kevin Richardson, A.J. Mclean and Howie Dorough – of course, knew very well the emotions they elicited from the crowd and milked it for all it was worth.
"We are celebrating 25 years," Backstreet Boy AJ McLean said. "We are going to walk you through the memory lane of music. We want you to be loud, scream, dance and have a great time tonight!"
The Boys also scored points for their sheer love for Israel. After cancelling their first performance in the country in 2014
due to Operation Protective Edge, they made good on their promise and arrived for a rescheduled first appearance a year later.
Apparently, the Israel charm worked because the Boys made their adoration for the country clear.
"Good evening, Israel! Backstreet's Back!," McLean told the crowd. "We're so beyond excited to be here for the second time. I assure you, it won't be our last. I wanted to move here, like, yesterday."
"Erev tov, Israel!" Kevin Richardson bellowed. "We didn't think we'd be back this soon, but we are. And we'll be back again and again!"
Hearing those words felt like a healing balm on an open wound after the recent surprising news that Natalie Portman will not becoming to Israel
The 16,000 fans who attended last night's sold-out show heard their greatest hits like, "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)," "I Want It That Way" and "As Long As You Love Me."
While this last song had seemed so romantic 25 years ago — "I don't care who you are, where you're from, what you did, as long as you love me" — it now just sounds like a song advocating for low standards. But did it stop this reviewer and the rest of the crowd from singing our hearts out when we heard it? No.
And are the Boys as fit and agile as they were 25 years ago? Of course not. While the Boys were consummate professionals, the entire performance seemed plucked out of their Las Vegas residency, where less physical exertion is a necessity to sustain performing several shows a week. They even wore shiny black tuxedo jackets which seemed far more appropriate for a Vegas stage than a Rishon one.
We may have outgrown the lyrics and their saccharine notions of love, but the Backstreet Boys are part of our childhood and our connection to them runs deep.
In "Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely," the Boys sing soulfully, "surrender my heart, body and soul." That's exactly what they did for the crowd Sunday night.
And we did, too.