The Backstreet Boys are heading back to the region next week – for their first ever show in Saudi Arabia.
The popular – and ever so enduring boyband from the United States – will perform on June 27 at the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal Basketball Arena in King Abdullah Sports City, as part of the Jeddah Season cultural festival, held in the Kingdom’s coastal city.
But UAE fans shouldn’t fret, as part of the Kingdom’s vision to expand its cultural and tourism trail, you too can travel to Saudi Arabia to attend the show with an electronic visa granted within minutes of your concert purchase.
The Backstreet Boys announcement comes alongside two other concerts being announced for the same venue. They include the EDM double bill of Dutch DJ Afrojack and Morocco's Rehab on July 8, and an Arab pop concert on June 29 featuring Saudi crooner Rabeh Saqer and Syrian diva Assala.
Organised by the Kingdom's General Entertainment Authority, Jeddah Season is held in various venues across the city and will run until July 18. The program encompasses all kinds of family friendly entertainment, ranging from circus shows and acrobatic displays to pop-up restaurants by the likes of UAE favourites Salt Bae and Zuma.
When it comes to concerts, the festival has this year already hosted the cream of the crop when it comes to Arab pop stars, with sold out shows by the likes of Amr Diab, Nancy Ajram and Mohammad Hamaki.
The Backstreet Boys is the biggest Western music act on the bill as of yet, with more concert announcements expected soon.
Formed in 1993, the five-piece is one of the world's biggest boybands, and they command a dedicated fan base in the Arab world, too.
The boys should have fond memories of their last trip to the region when they headlined a sold out edition of the Blended festival, which had over 10,000 fans singing along to hits Larger than Life and Everybody.
In her review, The National's in-house Backstreet Boys fanatic Sofia Barbarani hailed the boys performance for keeping it vintage: "Over the space of an hour and a half, the boys danced like it was 1993, like they were still five teenagers rehearsing dance moves in an Orlando warehouse."
However, that swift footwork of old, eluded blonde heartthrob Nick Carter who "slipped and landed on his back during the second song of the night, prompting a chorus of concerned sighs from the largely-female audience".
While last year's Dubai visit was essentially a greatest hits tour, the Backstreet Boys will come to Jeddah with a fistful of new tunes courtesy of their recently released ninth album DNA. Expect the boys to perform a bunch of the new tracks including the singles Don't Go Breaking My Heart and Chances.
However, they will surely be placed neatly amongst the dozen of anthems the boys have amassed over the years; after all, the fans want it that way.