Backstreet Boys fans around the world are gearing up for 2019, as the boy band is embarking on their biggest arena tour in 18 years starting in May. The DNA World Tour, named after the group’s forthcoming 10th album (due Jan. 25), will see the Backstreet Boys hitting 27 countries and 43 North American cities, bringing nostalgia across the globe.
Though the Backstreet Boys have been putting on quite the show in Las Vegas with their Larger Than Life residency since March 2017, a trek of this caliber is taking things to an even bigger level. The guys are currently performing a very hit-filled 19-song set in Vegas, but with another studio album on the way, it’ll be interesting to see what hits get replaced by new tunes — or if the Backstreet Boys are going to deliver an even longer set.
While Backstreet classics like “I Want It That Way” and “Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)” are pretty much no-brainers, having soon-to-be-10-albums’ worth of highlights to choose from surely won’t make set list curation easy for BSB. But if Billboard had any say, this is what our ideal DNA World Tour set list would look like:
“Everybody (Backstreet’s Back)”
The thrilling hit serves as their Vegas show closer, so they likely wouldn’t want to do the same for this tour. But “Everybody” is too electrifying to just stick in the middle of the set, so if they can’t close with it, why not open with it? Besides, the much-overused (but still beloved) pun of “Backstreet’s Back” works perfectly here, as the guys haven’t been to most of the cities on the tour in at least five years.
“Quit Playing Games (With My Heart)”
After getting things started with such a rousing tune, “Quit Playing Games” is a perfect follow-up to give the guys a bit of a vocal rest while still keeping the vibes upbeat and fans on their feet — though there may never be a point where they want to sit down anyway.
“We’ve Got It Goin’ On”
Keep the nostalgia train rollin’ with a third hit from the Backstreet Boys’ first album. If there’s anyone who isn’t already up and dancing, this song literally makes it impossible for them to remain seated with its hook: “Everybody groove to the music/ Everybody jam.”
“Show Me the Meaning of Being Lonely”/”More Than That”
With so many songs to fit into one concert, it’s inevitable that the Backstreet Boys will have to mash-up some of their hits. The heartfelt Millennium track and the impassioned Black & Blue hit may come from different albums, but their sentiments and their melodies actually work pretty well together (“More Than That” even says “don’t give loneliness a chance”), which will also make for a powerful opportunity for the guys to show off their iconic harmonies.
Considering this is the DNA World Tour, the guys will have to perform at least the first two releases from their 10th album. No matter how many they end up playing, starting out with the dynamic “Chances” serves as a reminder that BSB is still making music that’s perfect for a live setting 20+ years into their career.
“All I Have to Give”
The guys have always prided themselves on their harmonies, and “All I Have to Give” is a perfect tune to put those front and center. With much more choreography ahead, the spirited ballad would be even more special if the guys were to sing it completely a cappella — just imagine how that key change would sound with no backing track!
This is about one-third of the way into the show — a great time to get fans riled up for the rest of what’s to come — and “The Call” is just the song for that. The charged-up Black & Blue hit will make for an exciting moment in the show regardless of when the Backstreet Boys sing it, but right after a series of vocal-heavy performances would make the song even more impactful.
“In a World Like This”
The guys haven’t sung any tracks from 2013’s In a World Like This while in Vegas, so it’d be nice to hear at least one on their biggest arena tour in 18 years. Even if it’s just played over a video montage while the Backstreet Boys change outfits, there should be at least one little shout-out to the album that marked their return as a quintet five years ago.
“DNA Song No. 2″
Though fans have only heard two songs from the upcoming DNA thus far, AJ McLean recently assured Billboard that every song is so good they could all be singles, and that the album is almost as incredible as their Diamond-certified 1999 sophomore effort Millennium. With a bold statement like that, BSB will likely want to play more than just two tracks from their latest LP, so almost halfway through the show would be a good time to drop one in.
Fans will likely be into the new DNA track, but following that up with a song they can belt along with is a fantastic way to keep the energy up — and lead into the next belt-out portion.
“Crawling Back To You”/“Drowning”
Backstreet Boys may have only ever performed the Never Gone single on the Never Gone Tour in 2005/2006, so it’s about time they remind fans that the emotional song was a severely underrated smash. And mixing it in with a BSB love song that was a hit, the guys would have fans feeling all the feels with this part of the show.
Once BSB have melted hearts with a slower romantic section, the guys could get fans back out of their seats by busting out one of the more anthemic love songs in their catalog, “The One.” Plus, they haven’t sung a pre-2000 hit in about six songs, so this is a subtle hint that there’s still plenty more of those to come.
“Just Want You To Know”
But, before they get to more of the classics, Backstreet Boys should resurrect their glam metal alter ego Sphynkter for their other underappreciated Never Gone cut. (If you don’t know what that means, please watch the “Just Want You To Know” video now.)
The guys could give a couple more DNA songs their time to shine with a medley of two or three of their favorites. Depending on how those songs sound, these can either be acoustic renditions or full-on choreographed performances.
“I’ll Never Break Your Heart”/”God, Your Mama, and Me” (Acoustic)
Regardless of whether Backstreet Boys made their DNA medley acoustic, stripping down this mashup would be an affecting way to let their vocals soar. Plus, the guys have really only performed their Florida Georgia Line collaboration with the country duo, so it would be pretty cool to hear them do the song on their own, especially mixed with one of their earliest hits.
“Get Another Boyfriend”
With six songs left, here we go with the power-packed, hit-filled finale. This Black & Blue highlight proved to be a favorite of Backstreet’s and fans during the Vegas residency, and was recently ranked by Billboard as one of the 100 best pop deep cuts of the entire 21st century. Its thumping beat and roaring vocals make it one of the more energized parts of the entire show — and would surely be the same on the DNA Tour.
“Shape of My Heart”
A not-so-deep-cut from Black & Blue, “Shape of My Heart” was one of Backstreet Boys’ biggest chart successes (reaching No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2000), so it will likely be a set list staple until BSB is done. Chart stats aside, “Shape of My Heart” is one hell of a fun song to sing, and would be an appropriate kick-off to the rest of the singalongs that are about to happen.
“As Long As You Love Me”
At this point, Backstreet Boys have cycled through so many hits that fans may have forgotten they haven’t sung one of their most famous ballads. But as soon as they bust out those chairs, they’ll be thankful BSB didn’t forget about it themselves.
“Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”
It wouldn’t be the DNA Tour without the epic hit that began the DNA era for Backstreet Boys. Though they’ve been performing the pounding single on various TV programs and in Vegas, there are still thousands of fans who haven’t seen the song live yet — and building the anticipation all the way until the third-to-last song is the ultimate way to get them pumped for it.
“I Want It That Way”
There’s really no better way for BSB to follow up their most recent hit with their most iconic. That unforgettable intro riff would immediately have some fans teary-eyed and most losing their minds with excitement, and since it’s the pre-encore, there’d be streamers or glittery confetti to make the moment even more mesmerizing. “I Want It That Way” doesn’t really need any frills, but it will get all the pomp and circumstance it deserves as the pseudo show closer.
“Larger Than Life”
As the last song of such a hit-filled set, it’s inevitable that there will be pyrotechnics, and the booming beat of the Millennium hit would be matched with equally dynamic vocals from all of the Backstreet guys — especially AJ McLean’s roaring final note. While a one-song encore may seem a bit underwhelming, there’s really not a much “Larger” way to close out BSB’s biggest tour in nearly 20 years.