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Review: Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block at Echo Arena, Liverpool

WAY before Justin Bieber was even a twinkle in his mother’s eye, the Backstreet Boys were the biggest pop sensations to come out of America.

But even before they came on the scene, it was New Kids On the Block who had been the original 80s teen pop hearthrobs a few years earlier, paving the way for all the upcoming teeny-boppers of the future.

So I couldn’t contain my excitement when I heard that both bands were collaborating for a reunion tour, joining forces as a new supergroup, dubbed NKOTBSB.

The crowds went wild when all nine of the men, no longer fresh faced boys, appeared amid expolsive firework displays to the slightly unusual song choice of Coldplay’s Viva La Vida.

Both bands took turns to belt out the classic tracks onstage that they’re famous for – including Backstreet Boys’ favourites such as Larger Than Life, The Call and We’ve Got It Goin’ On.

I hadn’t long been out of nappies when the New Kids’ were busy dominating the pop charts in 1989, so, even though I knew the odd song, it was a new experience for me to hear tracks like Cover Girl and Step by Step, but they did a great job with their best known hit You Got It (The Right Stuff), which sent the whole arena wild.

I was impressed how much both bands integrated with the crowd – from NKOTB’s Donnie Wahlberg launching himself into the crowd and allowing fans to wrench off his T-shirt, to Jordan Knight regaling us with tales of the band’s visit to the Cavern Club the night before, and how happy they were to be in Liverpool.

They all paid tribute to the city by performing an acapella version of The Beatles’ classic Help, but the best was saved ‘til last with performances of their best loved hits Everybody (Backstreet’s Back) and Hangin’ Tough, which sent the crowds into a pop frenzy.

So yes they may be older, the hair may be thinner, and with a combined average age of 41, they certainly aren’t ‘boys’ or ‘kids’ anymore, but both bands more than proved that they’ve still got the moves.