There’s always a song that brings back a specific memory. It’s weird the way it works; you’ll be somewhere completely random, hear a certain song, and immediately be transported to a different place. One song that does that for me is Quit Playing Games With My Heart, and for whatever reason, when I hear it I’m in the front seat of my dad’s car, nine years old, listening to the radio while running errands on a Saturday morning. It’s the 90s, the Backstreet Boys are one of the most popular boy bands in the world, and I’m the ultimate little fangirl.
Sunday night, when I heard Quit Playing Games With My Heart, I wasn’t nine years old. I wasn’t listening to the radio. I was (nearly) front row at the Cedar Park Center in Austin, TX, watching a boy band I had idolized for so long during my childhood perform live. Yes, I am 21 years old. Yes, the last Backstreet Boys album I bought was Millennium when I was nine (which I listened to nonstop on my Walkman for at least a year straight). Yes, the arena was not filled with fangirls, but with twenty and thirty-somethings reliving an amazing sliver of their childhood. And yes, it was the greatest concert I’ve ever been to.
The decision to go to the Backstreet Boys concert was a quick one. My friends and I literally bought the tickets on a somewhat whim a week before, after realizing they were coming to Austin and wanting to relive some of our Backstreet Boys glory days. After a party bus ride filled with The Call, Backstreet’s Back, and I Want it That Way, we arrived (somewhat) calm, cool and collected. The minute the Bryan, Nick, Kevin, Howie, and A.J. came onstage (not to mention waved to, blew kisses at, and even adorably mocked us), we all, unashamedly, reverted back to the ultimate 9-year-old fangirl. Imagine a little girl going crazy at a One Direction concert; I’m talking screaming the lyrics to every song, yelling at her favorite band member, dancing uncontrollably, and possibly on the verge of tears. Embarrassing, right? Now imagine nine twenty-one year old girls doing that at a Backstreet Boys concert.
I haven’t been to many concerts; my repertoire mainly consists of Glee, Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift (a not at all embarrassing music taste, right?), but this was by far the best concert I had ever been to. Aside from the nostalgia factor that anybody between the age of twenty and thirty would inevitably experience witnessing one of their favorite boy bands perform live, the energy and passion that all five guys still have for music and performing was incredible. After twenty years together, they were having as much fun on stage as we were in the stands. After eight albums (yes, they just released a new one which they promoted during the concert…not to mention, which wasn’t half bad), their music still remains “classic” (well, to each and every 90s child, at least). Nick is still extremely hot (let’s just say I swooned more than I care to admit), Brian is still adorable, and together, they’re all still fantastic. Call them just another boy band, call them a fad, call them outdated…I’ll still call them my childhood, and revisiting those days for just three hours was one of the best experiences I could’ve asked for. And you know what? I had more fun than nine-year-old Wendi would’ve ever had.