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2019 iHeartRadio Music Awards - Show

From left: Brian Littrell, AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Kevin Richardson and Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys perform March 14, 2019, at the iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles.

(Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Backstreet may be back, but that doesn’t mean the boy band is up to the same old routine that made it famous in the 1990s. Since the release of their bestselling “Millennium” album (1999), all five Backstreet Boys — AJ McLean, Howie Dorough, Nick Carter, Kevin Richardson and Brian Littrell — have gotten married, and four have kids.

The band returned to St. Louis on Friday night for its “DNA World Tour.” Carter, the youngest member, told the crowd at Enterprise Center that his “Backstreet baby” is on the way.

Is it even accurate to still call them the Backstreet Boys?

Litrell’s 16-year-old son, Baylee Littrell, opened the show with songs leaning toward country and Americana — singles “Boxes,” “We Run this Beach” and “Don’t Knock It” — and playing on the “DNA” theme of the tour. Their chosen genres differ, but Baylee inherited his father’s vocals.

The Backstreet Boys addressed the changes that have occurred during its 26-year run. During “No Place,” from the band’s “DNA” album, the song’s video played on a large screen. In the song, the band members tell their families that there’s no place like where they are.

“It is very special to the five of us on this stage,” McLean said. “It’s basically about how we’ve gotten to do a lot of amazing things in our life, we’ve gotten to travel around the world, a lot of our dreams have come true, but the older we get, it becomes more and more about the little, simple things.”

Though the themes of the show weren’t that of a typical Backstreet Boys concert, the band’s performance still felt recognizable. The group aimed to take audience members “back to the good old days when you had nothing to worry about,” Richardson said.

Somehow, in the time since their start in 1993, the group has managed to maintain their familiar five-part harmonies and pop style with R&B leanings. Every song sounded definitively Backstreet Boys-esque.

The band reserved its most iconic hits such as “I Want It That Way” and “Everybody” for the last 20 minutes of the 2½-hour show. Before the encore, the boys took the stage wearing white outfits similar to what they wore in the “I Want It That Way” music video.

The quintet hasn’t retained just its familiar clothes, style and stomp-and-thrust dance moves — it has also held onto fans. Backstreet Boys admirers young and old packed the arena. At some points, the band couldn’t be heard over the sound of cheering fans.

“Do you still love the Backstreet Boys after all these years?” Dorough asked.

The crowd responded with enthusiastic screams. Yes, they do.

Monica Obradovic • 314-340-8249

mobradovic@post-dispatch.com