Backstreet Boys and Baylee Littrell at Moda Center on July 30, 2019

In October 1999 the Backstreet Boys performed at the Rose Garden Arena (now the Moda Center) to a completely sold-out crowd. I was lucky enough to be one of those screaming fans, 13 years old and having the time of my life. It is still one of the best memories I have because back then the Backstreet Boys were everything to me. At that time, if I was listening to music it was the Backstreet Boys and nothing else. My walls were plastered with posters of Nick Carter and Brian Littrell and I was convinced they were my soulmates. My friends and I would force our parents to play their self-titled album on repeat in the car and we would sing every word at the top of our lungs.

Despite being a sold-out show, my step-sister somehow scored third-row tickets and I screamed and cried the entire show knowing my idols were that close to me. I still have the shirt and photo book I got from that show and it’s one of my most prized possessions.

I have to admit, when I realized they were coming to Portland I was a little nervous that seeing them as an adult would not be as magical as it was in ’99. I didn’t know what to expect but I was happy to hear that they had sold the Moda Center out again, so I’d be surrounded by 21,000 fans just as hopeful.

Not only was I pleasantly surprised at how great the boys still sounded, but the magic was 100% still there. All the fangirl feelings I felt as a kid came rushing back and it was hard to concentrate on taking pictures because I just wanted to scream and cry as once again my childhood heroes were so close to me. The fact that 20 years later this group still has that effect on not only me, but millions of fans all over the world is a testament to how great their performance is.

Their dancing was on point, their voices sounded amazing and the showmanship was really impressive. They interacted with the crowd during the entire show and were taking selfies with people while they sang and really made the audience feel special. You don’t see that level interaction at live shows very often anymore and it makes me so happy to see them be the same lovable dudes they were back in the day. It’s very apparent that this is what they love to do and the passion behind it is still there.

At one point during the show they told us that Portland was the first city they had ever performed outside of Florida back in 1994, so we had a special place in their hearts. They exceeded every expectation a superfan can have.

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