Musically Jaded
by WHO on Dec-5-1999

Two weeks ago, if you had asked me how I felt about the Backdoor…er, Backstreet Boys, I would have said,

“I’m a little old for that stuff, but I think it’s great that they get younger kids interested in music.”

However, after seeing them live in concert, my reaction to that question would be slightly different…

Following is the true account of how the Backstreet Boys ruined three hours of my life while simultaneously scarring me emotionally forever.

~*All names have been changed

It all started when Megan* (6yrs old) threw herself at my feet, pleading, “WHO, come to the Backstreet Boys concert with us! Please-please-please-PUH-LEASE?!” I mean, what was I supposed to say? The tickets were free, her Mother had rounded up pretty damn good seats, and I had the night off from school. Besides…Megan had used her cocker spaniel eyes on me—my one true weakness. I agreed to go. Officially, I was in. Every day for a month, Megan would remind me of my commitment.

March 9, 2000. Concert day. The group gathered at Megan’s house. In attendance were Megan, her little brother, Jacob, her mother, a friend of her mother’s, and said friends’ two teenaged daughters. They were 12 and 13 years old and they thought the Backstreet Boys were GOD. We all piled into the minivan and headed on out to Cleveland. Later I would look back on that short drive with the same fondness a young girl possesses when she looks back on the days leading up to the loss of her virginity. I was new then. I was innocent. I was wholesome. I was UNMARRED.

We arrived at the Gund Arena minutes before show time. I gazed in wide-eyed wonder at the ocean of butterfly clipped, tech vested, belly shirt clad prepubescent girls that engulfed me. The lights quickly dimmed. Hundreds of preteens wailed in unison. Every dog in a 50-mile radius went wild. My earplugs went in. And stayed in.

The pre-opening opening act was a couple of jerk-off guys who looked as though they were just picked up at the karaoke bar down the street 20 minutes earlier. They toddled around the stage like drunken sailors desperately trying to hold the attention of the restless audience. Every once in awhile one of them would shout, “Who’s your favorite Backstreet Boy!?!” and the crowd would perk up a little. Tired of dealing with an audience with an attention span of a gnat, the defeated duo left the stage. They were beaten men.

Next up: Spice Girls…American style. These girls gyrated around the stage dressed in cloths that would make Madonna blush. This did little to impress the mostly female crowd who was dressed just as tasteless as they were. Have you ever seen an eight year old in pleather pants and a leopard print halter-top? I have. It’s not pretty. By now, I was getting a little antsy, so I took a quick walk. I stopped to chat with a nearby security guard.

“Would you throw me out if I hurled my drink at them?” I asked.

“I’ll look the other way”, he reassured.

The girls on stage were finishing up as I was making my way back towards my seat. 30 minutes later, the lights dimmed for the third and final time.

I guess before I get started on the long list of things that went wrong with the concert, I should let you know what was good about it. First off, the BSB’s made a pretty good entrance. Clever special effects made it appear as thought they were flying toward the stage on hover boards. (Much like the ones in the ‘Larger Than Life’ video) They also had this really cool chick in their band. Not only did she play the keyboard and the drums, but she also was a kick-ass saxophone player. If the whole show had consisted of her jamming away on her sax, I MIGHT has had a good time. Hell, if the show had featured nothing more than little boys picking their noses, I would have had a decent time. However, there was much more to the show and pretty much all of it sucked. Three-year-old Jacob made it to the third song before he decided that he would rather spend the rest of the night in the minivan playing UNO and listening to the radio with his Mother. Smart kid. I wish I had gone with them.

After a couple of quick catchy numbers, it came time for the Boys to introduce themselves individually in a cheesy attempt at gaining a higher intimacy with the love-struck crowd. Obviously, public speaking was the not the Boys’ strong point. I was subjected to such ridiculous statements as:

“Boy! There are some beautiful ladies in here tonight! What’s a BSB to do? Move to Cleveland?”

And atrocious grammar such as:

“Hey ya’ll gonna have fun tonight, a’ight!?”

Excuse me, but I was under the impression that this American-based ‘band’ could speak proper English.I excused myself to the restroom…I had to take a vomit break.

In the restroom, I overheard a heated argument over which BSB was the hottest. Amazingly, these women were probably in their early 30’s. They were also fat, ignorant, poor, white trash. All of the sudden, one of these dregs of society grabbed me with her meaty paws and asked me as politely as her social upbringing would permit, “Hey…canya help us out with sumthang for a minnut?”

There was twang in her voice, gaps in her teeth. I winced when I realized she had printed the name ‘Howie’ on one cheek, ‘Nick’ on the other, and ‘A.J’ on her chin with magic marker. She reeked of stupidity.

I hesitated for just a moment, “Sure, what can I do for you?”

“Which BSB is your favorite?”

I pulled away, looked her dead in the eye, and said, “The first one to die.” I left them in stunned silence.

Back at the concert, I watched as the BSB’s frantically did everything from flying around the stage on bungee cords to pole dancing stripper style to distract observers from the fact that they had NO MUSICAL TALENT. The hired ‘dancers’ darted back and forth in an utter state of confusion trying to do the same. It was truly a choreographer’s nightmare. At one low point in the concert, a BSB ripped of his shirt (Hulk Hogan style) and proceeded to dump water all over his body. When the Boy’s performed ‘Everybody’ and the audience started doing that stupid monster dance, I mentally kicked myself for not bringing a book. Megan leaned over and whispered in my ear, “This concert is a getting a little—” She put her finger down her throat and made a fake gagging sound. My thoughts exactly.

This wasn’t a rock concert. It was a monstrous, overpriced, tacky, collage of special effects and stunts capable of competing with a July 4th parade. It contained fireworks, showers of confetti, and a rotating stage. I reflected on how some of the most talented musical groups in history never had to throw flowers at young girls to win over a crowd. The crowd threw flowers onto the stage to win them over. Nevertheless, the sheep shrieked, oh’d, and ah’d appropriately.

Eight wardrobe changes later (and numerous make-up touchups for Nick…his cover-up kept sweating off and his pimples were showing), the BSB’s wrapped it up with a stunning rendition of ‘I Want it that Way’. Almost every girl out there locked eyes with the closest TV screen, swayed to the beat, and made believe that their favorite BSB was singing straight to her. I sat in stunned silence. The lights came back on; it was time to leave.

On the way to the car, Megan and I made up a little song:

“Am I original?

HELL NO!

Am I the only one?

HELL NO!

Am I sexual?

HELL NO!

Am I everything you need—?”

And then we doubled over laughing.



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