“I’m leaving after I get my shots.” I assured myself, “This show is starting way too late for a Tuesday. Three songs, then I’m out.”

(Backstreet) Boy was I wrong.

Nick Carter arrived Larger Than Life at Victoria’s Sugar Nightclub on Tuesday, November 22 as the second-to-last stop on the Canadian leg of his All American tour.

When it was announced that Nick Carter wouldn’t be gracing the stage until 10:20 PM, the 30-something in me took hold. It was a Tuesday after all, and as friend and fellow photographer Leanne Green put it “Come on, we’re not 14 anymore Nick!” In fact, a large majority of attendees lamented the late start of the ‘school night’ concert. Those who decided to brave the next morning with limited sleep packed in Sugar Nightclub for what could have been a mid-week ladies night.

Everyone looking their ‘What if Nick Carter looks at me?’ best, we were ready for a XX night (and I’m not just talking chromosomes, baby).

Almost as if Carter knew what was about to transpire, he began the show with Blow Your Mind from his 2002 solo album Now or Never. He moved across the stage like a one-man boy band, taking moments to pause and point playfully at the excited ladies in the audience. When he wasn’t playing his guitar he would stroke the neck suggestively, while employing dance moves left over from his BSB days. He hammed it up big time, the crowd loved it and crucially it genuinely looked like Carter was enjoying himself as well.

From there he launching into All American which he, obviously, changed to All Canadian much to the delight of the screaming throngs at Sugar. Carter then switched gears playing a countryfied version of Backstreet Boys’ As Long As You Love Me. Carter’s voice was pitch perfect, easily crossing the genres. 

The backup band was equally impressive. Skillfully gliding into the acoustic portion of the night (and Carter’s first wardrobe change) which began with Metallica’s Nothing Else Matters then flowed smoothly into Backstreet Boys’ I Want It That Way. Yes – that actually happened.

This was also the point in the night when I realized I would not be getting to bed early. In 4 short songs Carter’s show transcended the boundary from novelty act to professional pop entertainer. In fact, the night was scattered with delightful little cover gems for Carter to show off his vocal range; Oasis, Rick Springfield, Phil Colins . . . I mean just listen to this:

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: more than anything, the thing that sets apart an artist is the quality of their live show. Carter was the epitome of a professional pop-artist; from his first ‘point and pump’ to his backstreet boy throwbacks, everything was what you’d expect from a man who has been performing worldwide since he was 13-years old.

As a 1/5 of a boy band, it’s difficult to not immediately write Carter off as a novelty act — like it’s difficult to forget those times we cut out Nick Carter’s head from a Teen Beat and put them on our walls — but it seems Carter himself doesn’t shy away from his beginnings. Carter’s self-realization makes his performances and music all that more likeable, an in-joke for all us 30-somethings and beyond.

We’re all a little older and a little wiser; having fun, laughing, and reminiscing about our younger more imprudent selves, who wouldn’t bat an eyelash at a show starting at 10:30PM. Like his song and music video 19 in 1999, we collectively gave in to the fun and Nick Carter had us going, “all night like it’s 1999” (but seriously, watch the video).

Not only was it fun – it was good. Nick Carter and his band put on a truly top-notch performance that was so entertaining, it kept this thirty-something up past midnight. If you decided not to go for one reason or another, let me tell you: you missed out.

Like many, I was prepared for a night of novelty and nostalgia; prepared to relive my teens by seeing the man boy that adorned so many lockers, duotangs, and trapper keepers. What I wasn’t prepared for was the sheer talent, professionalism, and honest-to-god fun I had.

Photo by Kirsten James Creative

Photo by Kirsten James Creative