Backstreet Boys and Avril Lavigne rock Northerly Island

It may be 2014, but last night at the First Merit Bank Pavilion on Northerly Island, it felt like 1999.

Northerly Island played host to the second Backstreet Boys concert in as many years, but, unlike the first time, last night the group was able to complete their full concert. Last year, after a late start to the concert, the band had their microphones cutoff by the venue for going past the 11:00 pm curfew.

Though the popular boy band kept making jokes about the incidents of last year, they made sure that the concert was nice and complete by 10:30, and what a treat it was for the thousands of screaming fans who was anxious for the show.

I only attended the concert because my partner really wanted to go, and while I can always have fun regardless of what I am doing, I will admit that watching an aging boy band perform did not exactly scream excitement to me. Fortunately, I was wrong.

Standing out on the lovely Northerly Island with the Chicago skyline in the background listening to thousands of screaming fans made for an excellent evening. Until the encore, I had not taken a seat the entire evening. Considering I am not a teenager, I will admit that my feet and legs were exhausted after over 5 hours (including the time to get in the venue) of standing up.

The excitement and energy of the entire audience was off the charts. That is until the Backstreet Boys tried to play new songs. Though the stands were filled with hardcore fans, you could tell that not even they were not that excited to hear hits off the latest In A World Like This album. Like true fans though, most of them sang along even if it was noticeably at a different level of enthusiasm than when the band performed songs like Backstreet Backs, Quit Playing Games (with My Heart), As Long As You Love Me, and others.

In between hit songs, the audience was treated with videos of the band goofing around, telling jokes, and even a booty shaking skit done by band member Howie Dorough, who probably has the least watchable booty of the band.

All-in-all, the concert was an awesome time, and I would definitely go again. If you have never seen a boy band concert, I completely recommend it because it is unlike anything I have ever seen.

Prior to the Backstreet Boys taking the stage, audience members were treated to band member Brian Littrell's son singing songs to warm up the audience. After the son left the stage, Avril Lavigne took over to perform her opening act. Much to my surprise, I am apparently an Avril fan because I knew every song she performed, and, if I am being honest, probably jumped and danced during her short 30 minute show more than I did the during the entire Backstreet Boys performance.

Now, I will admit that dancing and jumping around does not make for the best environment to take photos, but my partner and I did snap a few. The shaky photos are here:

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    David W. Quinn

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