By: Fridae Mattas
Saturday August 6th 2011 was the Day NKOTBSB took over Hamilton, with opening act Neverest. They also had Glee’s Mr. Shuester after Neverest (Laughs) okay okay, his name is Mathew Morrison and I did not cover him, I can’t stand his voice! The super group had their second last show of the tour at Hamilton’s Copps Coliseum, the final show of the tour was in London, Ontario Sunday night. One of the fans I was talking to basically laid out their schedule for me and then proceeded to whimper at how upset she was that it was their second last show, wishing they would tour together again. I have a feeling there will be a European leg and another North American tour because clearly the fans can’t get enough and you must always give the people what they want. This Coliseum holds 19,000 people for concerts and it was almost overflowing at every level with only few spotted seats throughout the venue. They had some seriously loud screaming fans and “For such a small city, Hamilton is the loudest on the tour!” according to Donnie Wahlberg of New Kids On The Block, which I’m sure he said at every show on the tour but I wouldn’t know I haven’t been to any of the others.
It was bananas when I arrived at the venue, the tour buses were parked all around the venue with thousands of fans lined up to catch a glimpse of the Supergroup that is NKOTBSB. As I was trying to figure out where the media entrance was I heard acoustic guitars, singing and it didn’t make me cringe so I stopped to take a shot. It was the fifth season Canadian Idol winner Brian Melo performing outside the Coliseum before the show, at least it kept the fans entertained and maybe he gained a few of his own.
Some of you may not know what an NKOTBSB is, those are the initials of old school American Pop sensations The New Kids On The Block and new school old’s best selling Boyband of all time The Backstreet Boys and together they performed on one stage, serious blast from the past! According to Billboard this tour has generated over ten million dollars in revenue and is one of the top 50 tours of the year. Laugh all you like, these nine guys on a giant dick are laughing all the way to the bank and most of them could probably still steal your girlfriends. By giant dick I am talking about the stage, it looked like a massive penis with two balls (Winged Stage ramps) on both sides of a long shaft Runway and the head was a little off but close enough (Circular stage that erected at the tip of the shaft) it was absolutely hilarious but cools at the same time with all the colours in the background and the runway looked fun to play on, they all enjoyed it strutting around like modelabees.
The two Iconic pop groups decided to conjoin and create a co-tour and back in November 2010 they confirmed the tour explaining it all during the show. I find it amusing that basically everything I said in my Backstreet Boys review from their Toronto show last August was pretty much followed word for word, even Kevin made an appearance and performed with them during the LA stop of the tour. Either I’m absolutely psychic or people read my work, that’s the best free advice anyone could get! I hate tearing people apart, I am just honest about what work needs to be done to help talent grow into their full potential. If you want more background information on all the mentioned artists hit up their websites NKOTBSB, Backstreet Boys and NKTOB.
This was the first time I have ever seen Neverest live, I went to their video release party but haven’t been able to catch a show. Fans search for them every day on FridaeTV.ca and this time I caught the set. After some confusion I was able to gain pit access to shoot a few songs which turned out to be a challenge in itself. Huge Thank you goes out to everyone who helped Saturday evening, that includes many of the NKOTBSB fans, Live Nation, NKOTBSB Management, Strut and Neverest management! Neverest was introduced by one of their managers Howie Dorough who is a Backstreet Boy and was to perform an hour or so later. They didn’t play for long about fifteen minutes; it was a four track performance including the hit singles “Everything” and “About Us”. I was a little annoyed that I had the little corner of stage left (Audience right) to shoot from, couldn’t get many different angles because security wouldn’t let me. The main stage was so high up but I managed to shoot a few good ones regardless of the restrictions.
While shooting a band I like to wander around, feel it out and capture all of the band members in their essence. I hate when they trap me like a caged Tiger, “I’m a peacock dammit, you’ve got to let me fly!” Neverest’s performance was good, I was expecting worse but they did fabulously well exceeding my expectations. Musically everything was timed perfectly and on key. Vocally it was almost faultless, Spyros (Spee) just needs to strengthen vocals by using his diaphragm more than the throat and sometimes he was a little too nasally.
By using your diaphragm as you sing, it gives the vocals a more stable powerful sound because you are able to allow more air into your lungs and keep it solid for a longer period of time. All nine of the NKOTBSBers need to pay attention not just Spee, this is for all of you. I know this because first and foremost I am a singer, Soprano-Alto with a variety of range. My vocal teacher in high school told me how important it is to sing with your diaphragm and refrain from using your throat as much as possible. But, sometimes even I forget when nervous and have to sing. The nerves sometimes get the best of me, but even when the adrenaline is going and you have the shakes you must always try to keep control of your voice. Another bonus is, your chords won’t be strained with fewer sore throats. Neverest gave the crowd a fantastic warm up set, it came right from the heart. Absolutely evident they all were genuinely thrilled to be up on that stage entertaining their manager’s fans and their own. This Canadian Pop Rock band is growing as fast as their fan base, in ten years they could still be kicking if they continue to progress at this level and stay relevant. The only thing about their music I’m not feeling is the redundancy in the melodies, they are all sounding too similar, switch it up a bit. When making music always have an outside ear listen to the tracks and honestly advise you on what needs to be tweaked. Neverest is: Paul – Bass, Spee – Vox/Guitar, Brendan – Drums and Mike keeping it fresh on the Keys. Go see them live if you can, I know I definitely need to catch another show and do an interview with the band.
As predicted there were several generations; Grandmothers, Moms, Dads, Daughters, Teenies, Greenies and Beenies, it was 85% female 15% male. Girls flew in from all over the world not just Canada no lies! New York, Montreal, Detroit, Virginia, Boston, Seattle, Sweden, Portugal, Spain, Germany and probably many more but those are the only ones I talked to at the venue. Those fans are obviously on a dedicated stalking tour of their own. When I was six or seven I was forced to pick a New Kid, my cousins were obsessed and wouldn’t let me play Barbie’s if I didn’t. I chose the one I thought had the best voice Jordan Knight, I did not find him attractive or any of them for that matter, still don’t. That is my NKOTB history, that is how I know the hit singles like Hanging Tough’, Step By Step, Right Stuff, Please Don’t Go Girl and Cover Girl which they sang at this show. To this day Jordan and Donnie have the best vocals out of their group. I was a fan of The Backstreet boys back when I was fourteen, fifteen but after Black and Blue the music got way too corny, I loathe Larger Than Life and Shape Of My Heart and a few more on that record, I can’t remember the names for a reason. To me, they are just another bunch of larries I’m reviewing and of course Backstreet Boy Nick Carter is still the hottest of the bunch, only because I have a thing for blondes. You can catch Nick today at HMV on Queen St. West 6pm downtown Toronto signing copies of his new record “I’m Taking Off”. You buy it, he signs it! So simple my friends!
Earlier I had a little issue with my ticket at the box office, the girl working obviously didn’t check the first time causing this whole delay and then acted like I was the dumb one. NKOTBSB press list with a ticket in a ticket holder that says my full name and publication right on the front, not hard to find but for her it was challenging. Then again I was in Hamilton! My friends think the girl was probably trying to teef the ticket and media pass for herself. Major thanks to the security guy downstairs, he was super patient while I waited for clearance. The NKOTBSB set had visuals on a giant screen introducing the supergroup with individual shots of each member and their names. That was followed by a medley of a New Kids tune ‘Single’ and a Backstreet track ‘The One’ performed together. They rose out of the stage on a platform similar to the end stage erection. The way they intertwined and arranged all their hit singles was interesting, it was clear there was a lot of thought and effort put into this production. They had a live backing band who were phenomenal, the crew that set this all up are amazing, lighting techs did an incredible job as did the stage hands! This show gives Rob Zombie’s recent set at HeavyT.O. a run for his money. There was fire during a few tracks, confetti floating and they all popped in and out of the crowd giving the concert goers their monies worth for sure.
In order for us to get our shots I had to reason with the fans because they told me our escort was rubbing them the wrong way when she talked to them before. The first two girls I spoke with in the front row paid $500 a pop for their seats at the second stage and they didn’t want any interruptions from their NKOTBSB experience. I felt sorry for them because scalpers will always rip the fans off and the artists never get a cut of that. I also felt super terrible for being in their way but that wasn’t our fault. I explained to them we didn’t pick the place to shoot, usually we are placed in the pit and would only be there for three songs, they agreed. As long as you rationalize with the fans treating them like people with respect, they will be chill about anything. After I spoke to all the other fans in the front row they were all on board; we had the whole tip of the weenie on our side!
It was smooth shooting until a venue security guard came up to me as I was snapping the second track while the New Kids were performing ‘Summertime’. He asked me my name as he told me to go back to my seat, I gave him the dirtiest look showed him the pass and he blushed with embarrassment apologizing as he walked away. I did not get as many shots of the New Kids because of the security guy and my camera did not like them. They were lucky they had the first track with the Backstreet Boys otherwise I’d probably only have two good shots.They were lacking some energy, I have to keep reminding myself it was the last leg of the fifty plus date tour and that definitely takes a major toll on you especially for these Ancients, I’m surprised nobody passed dust. Unlike their co-tour mates they do not have the natural skills. Jon looked as if he was floating on a cloud most of the time dazed and confused always looking at his brother for guidance. Danny, faded into the background once again, Donnie and Jordan were the more skilled of the bunch and Joey…Well I don’t see the big deal, never have, and I really don’t like his denture teeth, they looked mucho weird shining in the dark (I had a Doctor with similar teeth and he looked like the Poltergeist scary man, gave me nightmares when I was a kid so his extra bright pearly whites rehashed that memory).
They gave me the best seat to review from, I could have moved closer to a few free seats below me but I had the perfect view of the whole venue. I could see everything crystal clear, if I was allowed to take shots from my seat with my pro DLSR camera I would have had the sickest crowd shots! Fortunately for me and thanks to technology my cell phone was perfectly capable of taking alright shots as did my super ghetto point and shoot that I found in another pocket from beach day! You can see the difference in clarity from the pro shots to the ghetto snaps they are definitely not as crisp but good enough especially the one directly below. Obviously the one under the floating stage was taken with my pro cam during the three media tunes. I’m such a blonde people were probably looking at me weird because I kept looking in the viewing hole of the little point and shoot instead of the screen, I’m so used to the DSLR I forgot how to use a normal camera.
Danny Wood actually sang! It was mediocre, monotone and shy but not too bad, he could benefit from the above advice and use his diaphragm more often to give his vocals some push. I’ve seen mostly all the Toybands perform including ‘Nsync which was the most boring show ever, we didn’t even stay for the whole thing. I recently had the pleasure to cover and film R&B Icons Boyz II Men who have been an inspiration to pretty much everyone in this industry, myself included! Boyz II Men could never be replicated but most Boybands can be, except for these two trailblazers. NKTOBSB as separate groups or combined they are the drier poppier version of the irreplaceable Boyz II Men who made a guest appearance a few weeks ago at the Orlando stop of the NKOTBSB tour. The Backstreet Boys serenaded a few fans during I’ll never break your heart, Carter even wandered out into the audience behind the house cameras to pick that “special girl”. He did just that, a Ginger with a sign saying “Pick me Nick! Gingers have souls too.” I’m pretty sure it was something along those lines. I would have picked her too she was the most original of the teenies! During ‘Get Down’ the fifth track of the set, one of the Backstreet Boys cracked, it was horrendous to hear! I couldn’t figure out who, until Brian Littrell started to speak. His voice was hanging by a thread but I honestly don’t blame him or any of them for fucking up. I noticed he did not attempt the high notes for the rest of the night unless he was sure he could follow through. This supergroup just toured their balls off, vocals have lasted over fifty North American dates performing a thirty four track set almost every night live. All nine deserve a standing ovation for lasting this tour without anyone kicking the bucket or cracking out into rehab.
As I was observing I didn’t like Joey McIntyre’s overly arrogant self, he seemed a little too cocky for such a plain voice and awkward looking dance moves. Jordan was too pitchy while in falsetto during a song I don’t know, thank God my ear plugs tuned most of that irritation out. The fans heard nothing but perfection from them regardless of how they sounded to me. To the fans they were all God like, to me a lot of the performance was super cheesy but at least they have personalities and can throw it down. The two hour set was divided evenly, they sang their own hits and a few tracks together like the current NKOTBSB collaboration single “Don’t Turn Out The Lights”. The final Backstreet Boys track was “Everybody (Backstreets Back)” and to wrap the entire evening it was “Hanging Tough” which the New Kids sang minus Backstreet then molded together as a medley and goodnight!
If they happen to tour again go check them out, maybe I will too I loved the lights and the pyro! I think NKOTB Jordan, Donnie, Jon, Joey and Danny did a much better job this time around but the Backstreet Boys AJ, Nick, Howie and Brian were the show stoppers stealing the spotlight with undeniable enthusiasm and chemistry, my cameras loved them. Go catch these Candy Apples of Poppyness if you can, this is a show nobody will ever forget. You can find more photos of the show here, NKOTBSB are Fridae Approved!