Florida Georgia Line have not been shy about their Backstreet Boys influence lately – they even featured the boy-band kings on their new Dig Your Roots album – and on Saturday (September 24th), fans at Las Vegas’ iHeartRadio Music Festival got to see the connection first hand.
In between songs at the genre-less, two-night blowout, FGL’s Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley took the T-Mobile Arena crowd on a trip down memory lane to the sixth grade. B.K. was enjoying his first-ever concert and Hubbard was buying his first CD, and both were the Backstreet Boys, naturally.
“Well this makes a lot of sense now, why we’re a duo,” Hubbard said. And looking around at their present situation (massive fan base, long string of hits, increasingly flamboyant hairstyles), B.K. could only make one conclusion: “So pretty much, we’re the Backstreet Boys?”
With that, the duo launched full speed into “Everybody (Backstreet’s Back),” while the Backstreet Boys themselves streamed onto the stage like a Royal Rumble of harmony-singing hype men. With hands in the air, B.K. and Hubbard traded turns on the song’s hot-and-heavy pre-chorus – “Am I original?” – and in between A.J. McLean and Nick Carter took center stage for the 1997 hit’s hip-thrusting hooks.
FGL’s musical style might be a little more rock based, and there’s an element of storytelling that isn’t as big in pop music, but from the stage presence to the harmonies to freestanding lyrics like “Baby you a song, you make me wanna roll my windows down, and cruise,” it’s pretty clear that FGL weren’t lying about their BSB love.
Florida Georgia Line and Backstreet Boys were part of a lineup of favorites from across the radio dial at the festival, including U2, Drake, Billy Idol, Britney Spears, Usher and Sam Hunt. FGL’s Dig Your Roots tour continues with shows scheduled through November 19th in Calgary, Canada.