|Filipinos pack the MOA Arena for the "NKOTBSB" concert on Sunday night. Photo from the Facebook page of Ovation Philippines
MANILA, Philippines -- The Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block, two of the most popular boy bands in recent history, returned to Manila for a one-night concert on Sunday.
SM Mall of Asia's The Arena was packed with between 7,000 to 10,000 fans, who grew up idolizing the New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys in the 1990s. Tickets ranged from P13,000 to P1,000, but several websites offered tickets at 50% off just a few days before the concert.
Fans, who had general admission tickets, lined up as early as 4 p.m. outside The Arena. Gates only opened at around 6:30 p.m., but staffers prevented fans from entering the General Admission section for at least an hour. This created crowds on the fourth-level lobby, with some fans nearly falling off the escalator.
When the doors to the General Admission were finally opened, a mad rush ensued, with some children nearly getting crushed by the crowd.
Aizel, a 34-year-old office worker, complained that the Arena staffers did not do anything to control the crowd.
The crowd grew antsy waiting for the concert to start, even with two front acts doing their best to entertain the crowd.
The lights finally dimmed past 9 p.m., and fans started shouting for Backstreet Boys and NKOTB.
Wearing all-black outfits, members of the two groups came out and performed Coldplay's "Viva La Vida", combined with BSB's "The One" and NKOTB's "Single."
While the colorful laser effects were impressive, the sound system seemed off. The audience in the upper sections couldn't make out the words to the songs.
New Kids on the Block, which debuted in 1986, managed to keep up with the much younger Backstreet Boys who made their debut in 1995. But both groups showed they may be older but they still know how to turn up the charm.
The two groups performed alternately, first with NKOTB's "Summertime Remix," followed by Backstreet Boys' "The Call," and NKOTB again with "Dirty Dancing."
Backstreet Boys got the audience on their feet with "Get Down," even doing the same dance moves they did when they were teenagers.
Fans were thrilled when NKOTB finally performed one of their biggest hits "(You've Got) The Right Stuff," complete with the distinctive dance steps they did in their music video. This was followed by Backstreet Boys' "Larger Than Life."
NKOTB slowed things down when the five members came out looking dapper in suits and top hats. Lead singer Jordan Knight proved he still has a flawless falsetto, hitting the notes with ease on ballads "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time," "Valentine Girl" and "If You Go Away."
Joe McIntyre, the youngest member of NKOTB, took on the lead vocals for the hit song "Please Don't Go Girl." He did an admirable job, reaching the high notes but looked quite exhausted after the song.
Judging from the screams whenever they performed, majority of the audience were Backstreet Boys fans. The crowd went wild when the Boys appeared in white suits and performed hit ballads "Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely," and "10,000 Promises."
BSB members showed their silly side, goofing off to Carly Rae Jensen's catchy hit song "Call Me Maybe." They went down from the stage to pick four lucky women from the audience.
The four women were the envy of thousands of other girls in the audience, as the BSB serenaded them with "I'll Never Break Your Heart." Nick Carter proved to be quite a flirt, dancing suggestively and teasing the pretty girl he was serenading.
After BSB sang "Drowning" and "Incomplete," it was NKOTB's turn to delight their fans with hit songs "Step by Step," "Cover Girl," "My Favorite Girl" and "Games."
"Manila, mahal ko kayo. Mahal na mahal kita," Donnie Wahlberg told the crowd.
For "Tonight," NKOTB members even went down the stage to shake hands, take photos and even kiss some lucky fans.
"This tour is so special. We're finishing it in the Philippines. We're so blessed to have such good memories here," McIntyre said.
The show wasn't over yet, as Backstreet Boys took the stage once again, performing their hit songs "Shape of My Heart," "As Long As You Love Me," "All I Have to Give," and "We've Got It Goin' On."
Deafening squeals filled the Arena when the Boys sang "Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)." Almost everyone in the audience knew the lyrics and sang along.
NKOTB returned to sing "I'll Be Loving You (Forever)" and Knight again impressed the crowd with his falsetto.
Backstreet Boys came out again for "I Want It That Way," and NKOTB joined them on stage for the performance.
It was obvious the members of both bands had great affection for each other, having been on tour for the past year and a half.
"In behalf of Backstreet Boys, I would like to thank the five selfless guys we have shared the stage in the last year and a half. Without NKOTB, this would not be possible. Thank you, fellows," BSB's A.J. Mc Lean said.
"I'm going to miss all of the Backstreet Boys -- they're great partners and even better friends. I want to thank the BSB fans for joining the New Kids fans. This marriage of two boy bands -- in the 15 years, we're gonna have boy band babies and they're going to come here in Manila," Wahlberg said.
Then, the two groups combined to perform NKOTBSB's single "Don't Turn Out the Lights" as their last song.
After exiting the stage, fans chanted "NKOTBSB" until Backstreet Boys came out again for "Everybody (Backstreet's Back)."
NKOTB tried not to be outdone, returning with "Hangin' Tough," with excerpts from Queen's "We Will Rock You".
Then Backstreet Boys joined NKOTB on stage for a medley of both songs "Everybody" and "Hangin' Tough." They showed their love for the Philippines by wearing blue jackets with "Philippines" emblazoned on the back.
As confetti fell on the stage, members of both boy bands linked their arms to form a circle, with joy in their faces and just reveling in the moment.
Members of both bands appeared to have enjoyed their last show in Manila, as seen with their tweets.
"MANILA!!! Thank you all for a wonderful night! We couldn't have found a better place to finish the NKOTBSB tour!!!" Knight said on Twitter.
"Thank you to all the amazing fans in Manila and the rest of the world for such a wonderful tour. We will be back soon and we love you," Carter said on Twitter.