Entering the stage to the strains of the James Bond Theme Song, wearing a tuxedo, followed by two sultry backup singer/dancers, Matthew Morrison certainly set the tone of his performance. Class and quality seem to be the words to best describe how this performance went. Although most are familiar with his TV work on Glee, Morrison is an accomplished Broadway performer and was right at home singing and dancing before a live audience. Perhaps realizing his audience was mostly from TV, his set list consisted of a number of covers and mash-ups as performed on the hit show. Mixed throughout the covers were some of his own tracks from his self-titled debut album. Telling a little background story about them helped us get an idea of his style and where his writing evolves from and how he wrote them on his ukulele. Perhaps most significant is “Don’t Stop Dancing”, his tribute to the ‘triple threat’ entertainers who inspired him, Gene Kelly, Patrick Swayze and Michael Jackson. To highlight his own talent he wraps up the tune by putting aside the microphone and performing the signature dance moves of each icon before taking his well deserved bows.
Scoring an opening slot on the iconic NKOTBSB concert might be a near impossibility for a new up and coming Canadian band with just a seven song EP to their credentials but Neverest did it! It might have helped that the Toronto group is managed by 3 Street Management, Backstreet Boy Howie Durough’s artist management company.
Introduced to the stage by Howie, himself, perhaps to ensure the NKOTBSB audience paid attention to ‘his’ act, they didn’t need him. Neverest rocked a quick set but showed the great stage presence and skill of some seasoned pros. For a band that’s hasn’t even been around a year yet they boys show great confidence and poise. The short set culmulated with Neverest’s debut single ‘About Us’, which got the attention of the mostly female crowed.
With the multi-talented Matthew Morrison from Glee and mega group NKOTBSB still to perform it takes a certain kind of band to prove memorable on a night of pop icons. Neverest met the challenge and I look forward to seeing the quartet to headline their own gig sometime in the future.
Two boyband eras collided in spectacular fashion over the weekend to bring to stage one of the biggest shows in Vancouver for a long while. The combined catalogue of New Kids On The Block and Backstreet Boys could have been cranking out hots well beyond the very precise 2hours and 45 minute long set. With the addition of two opening acts, Neverest and Matthew Morrison (Glee), the audience certainly got their money’s worth, from the crowd reaction, no one left disappointed with the show they’d just been part of. I say ‘part of’ as the two groups were very interactive with the audience and the stage was set with a long catwalk out into a centre stage so they performed equally amongst the crowd as on the main stage. For one set, the Backstreet Boys entered through the audience and even brought a few
lucky ladies up on stage to be serenaded with “I’ll Never Break Your Heart”. New Kids went out into the audience to interact and roam around the arena. Starting the show with all nine members of the two acts all together onstage really gave the feeling that this was a BIG show. From then on the two groups traded stage time, alternating songs or mini-sets, each song, all memorable hits, had the audience on their feet, singing along. Having both groups back to back, side by side highlighted the similarities as well as the differences. Although nearly a decade separates the peaks of each of these acts the members are
just a few years apart in age, each band having a bad-boy (Donnie / AJ), the cute one (Joey / Brian), the pin-up (Jordan / Nick). Musically, they both have firm roots in ‘boy-band pop’ but NKOTB have a definite soul edge, with their “Stylistics” reminiscent melodies whereas BSB have a more R&B slant to their brand of pop, reflecting their era. NKOTB’s more synchronized dance moves and polished (and quite glittery) costumes hearken back to their start and their founders Motown influences. BSB has a more ‘street’ style with each member having their distinct style, (better to allow the fans to choose their favourite). Although
speaking of costumes the biggest cheers of the night came when Donnie Wahlberg tore his off, singing shirtless as he strutted and danced up and down the catwalk. At nearly 42, with a successful acting career as well, he certainly hasn’t rested since their past heydays. Since most of these ‘boys’ are now family men in their late thirties and early forties they seem to be at ease in their careers, enjoying themselves and the adoration of their similarly aged audience of mostly ladies, some of whom brought their children along to share the experience. I heard of a number of fans, who went to both show nights in Vancouver, thoroughly enjoying themselves both times. From the reaction of some of them, I’m sure
they’d have gone to as many shows as they could. I have to say, even with the huge number of concerts I attend, this was one of the most enjoyable, fun-filled spectacles I’ve seen in a long time. Even if you were just a casual fan, when the NKOTBSB juggernaut passes through your city it is definitely worth checking out!
The sun has come out and summer seems to have finally arrived! Just in time for some outdoor fun!
Friday July 8 – This weekend the big happening is Summer Live. July 8, 9, 10, Stanley Park comes alive with a major free festival of music, performance arts and sport. With acts like New Pornographers, Neko Case, Dan Mangan and Mother Mother it’ll be a great show! Bring the family and enjoy a weekend out in celebration of Vancouver’s 125th Birthday!
Saturday July 9 – Get out and help kick cancer below the belt…and maybe watch a little eye-candy as well. The Underwear Affair 10k run/5k walk is Saturday afternoon. Get out and help the runners Uncover The Cure!
Sunday July 10
– At Rogers Arena for the second of two nights, it’s New Kids On The Block, Backstreet Boys with Matthew Morrison