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A double helping of cheesy pop

THERE'S an interesting drinking game you could play at a New Kids on the Backstreet Boys concert. For every time the acronym NKOTBSB is mentioned, take a swig of that "delicious Guinness" that Donnie Wahlberg claims to be able to smell from the stage. I guarantee you'll be hammered within the hour. Ah yes, it's a fun experience, this joint headline tour, courtesy of two of America's biggest ever boybands.

There are flashy garments, tacky dance routines, fire and confetti, and stools -- plenty of stools. But what's most amazing about this coming-together of cheesy pop is that, as a 'supergroup', NKOTBSB (drink up) actually works. And how could it not? What we have here are two separate groups, both of which are capable of some shockingly cringe-worthy showmanship (for the record, Wahlberg and his 'kids' are the better bunch). Stick 'em all together, though, and the results are surprisingly entertaining.

There's very little room for spontaneity, but the New Kids' Boston background goes down a treat with a room full of Irish women. And the songs could be a lot worse (The Right Stuff, Cover Girl, Incomplete, Larger than Life, etc.). By the end of the night, all nine men take to wearing 'Ireland' sweatshirts. It's a rather touching sight. True, every bit of emotion on display is both typically American and way over the top, and we could have done without the rapping.

But as a glitzy pop spectacle that rarely resorts to special effects for added power, this live extravaganza just about passes the test.