Arab Fans ‘Want It That Way’ and Backstreet Boys Deliver

DUBAI - They’re not a boy band anymore. US Grammy nominated pop
 ensemble Backstreet Boys performed in Dubai for the first time since their debut more than 16 years ago, and 
local fans made their sentiments known.

By Mohamad Kadry

Published: Sat 19 Dec 2009, 12:42 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 9:28 AM

The show — held at the Palladium in Media City — sold out days before their live performance on Thursday night. The few tickets left available made their way to online ad sites where they sold at a premium.

The Backstreet Boys — or BSB to their longtime fan base — arrived in the UAE to promote their latest album ‘This Is Us’, which has marked a return to their classic pop sound that had been previously abandoned since the group initially dissolved more than seven years ago.

While current members Nick Carter, Howie Dorough, Brian Littrell and AJ McLean have all since worked on solo careers, a noticeably absent Kevin Richardson — the fifth Backstreet Boy — walked away from the group in 2006 to pursue his own family project.

“I have waited so many years for BSB to perform in the UAE,” shouted 25-year-old Fadwa Al Safeera, flanked by a troupe of equally excited friends.

“With all the turbulence surrounding the band in the past few years, I thought it was an impossible dream.”

As one of the most successful groups in music history, the quartet has found it difficult to remain relevant in an evolving music scene. They are noticeably older-looking and their young fans have all grown up, but this hasn’t diminished their status among hardcore followers.

Layla Salha, a 33-year-old British business executive, explained the reason behind her BSB devotion.

“I feel like I grew up with these guys,” she said. “I remember watching them perform in my youth and I think they give me a bit of nostalgia.

“Now that I am watching them perform in Dubai, I feel like the relationship has sort of come full circle.”

While the group’s current album dominated the performance playlist, the boys from Orlando still gave fans a taste of the classics as ‘I want it that way’ played to deafening screams and applause. —

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