The boys are back
Updated: 2004-09-24 09:17
Three years ago, the US mega-selling Backstreet Boys were scheduled to perform in Shanghai, but September 11 attacks changed all that. Now the wait is over and on Sunday night, they make their debut at Hongkou Football Stadium.
Reunited, energetic but a little more mature, the band is set to release their first album in three years early next year and the five members say this time they have "lower expectations."
"It's inspirational and a breath of fresh air for me especially because I'm sober and clear headed, and our work ethic is so much better," says AJ Maclean when asked what it's like to return after a long absence.
The ride-to-stardom for the group started in high school when Maclean, Nick Carter and Howie Dorough decided to start singing together after running into each other at auditions in 1992. Soon after, Kevin Richardson and his cousin Brian Littrell joined the group when they moved to Florida from Kentucky.
Success for the Backstreet Boys came quickly in Europe and by late 1996, with the release of the album and single "Quit Playing Games (with my Heart)," they had broken the charts in Canada and the United States.
The group hold seven platinum albums and "Millennium" sold more than 1.3 million copies in its first week around the world. In 2000, "Black and Blue" debuted at No. 1 on Billboard's Top 200 albums chart, selling 1.6 million copies in its first week.
But in 2002, the band decided not to continue with their next album because they were in different places in their lives, and their hearts and minds were focused in other areas.
"Going for almost nine years straight, it was nice to have some down time," Brian says. "It was a pity that we hadn't come to China at that time, we know we have a lot of dedicated fans there."
"Their 2001 concert would have cost US$1 million, which was then too high for the Chinese market," says Yu Suqin, general manager of Shanghai Arts Corp, the Shanghai concert agent.
Yu believes that compared to many other concerts, the price for Backstreet Boys, ranging from 120 yuan (US$14.46) to 1,208 yuan, is "acceptable."
While the market is flooded with groups like the Backstreet Boys, they seem relaxed about the future. "It's not about how many we sell in the first week anymore," Maclean says. "It's about longevity."
The upcoming concert will feature four songs from their new album, which includes collaborations with Boys II Men and Take 6.
"Some songs from our new album have a R&B vibe, some a rock vibe while others are just great pop songs," Brian says.
"Of course we will not let our fans down, we will perform 13 old songs and make the night at Hongkou Stadium an unforgettable memory for them," Kevin says. Nick says the band's future success rests with the ability to focus.
"The only secret is making good music and having goals to strive for, nothing else," Nick says, who released a solo album and toured during the two-year band break.
Despite the time off, there's no regrets and it appears the Backstreet Boys are back for good.
"I wouldn't trade this gift of being a Backstreet Boy for anything in the world," Howie says. "It's a blessing from God and I thank him every chance I get for the opportunity."
Date: September 26, 7:30pm
Venue: Hongkou Football Stadium, 444 Dongjiangwan Rd
Tickets: 120-1,280 yuan