I have never been much of a concert-goer. To me, I’ve always looked at the cost of the ticket and compared it to a video game – and the game has always won. And when you break it down to taco terms, a video game is 120 tacos. And I love tacos. My wife, however, loves concerts and has a big thing for the Backstreet Boys.

So what do you do for the woman of your dreams for her first Mother’s Day? You get her floor seats for the Backstreet Boys, and sit back and enjoy the ride.

Now, I’ve always claimed allegiance to NSYNC and my boy JT. While Timberlake has gone on to be wildly successful, the Backstreet Boys are filling up the Xcel Energy Center 26 years after breaking through. We caught the fascinating documentary Backstreet Boys: Show ‘Em What You’re Made Of randomly on TV one night, and they have a fascinating tale. Basically, they were created by a rich old white dude to make a crapload of money, he exploited the heck out of them, and then he created NSYNC. They were young, and horribly exploited, and man could they sing.

So they can still sing, and apparently the women of Minnesota have not forgotten about them. I would put the ratio of females to males at about 7:1. The Pioneer Press reported that there were over 15,000 screaming fans, and I believe them.


Some random observations from the concert:

  • BSB fans are wild. While we had a few drinks at dinner before the concert, we didn’t have any at the show because a) lines were long b) we didn’t want to have to constantly run to the bathroom. The women in front of and on either side of us went to the bar multiple times, and always came back with a drink in each hand.
  • The woman next to Phoenix spilled at least four drinks on here. Approximate retail value wasted: $34.
  • The woman next to me at the end of the concert, different from the one at the beginning, leaned over and said, “Do you like the Backstreet Boys? I think I hate them.” She spent the rest of the concert bumping into me as she danced. The woman next to her was flailing wildly in the aisle for the last quarter of the show.
  • The Backstreet Boys new album, DNA, is pretty good. It still sounds like them, but with a more modern feel. They have an a capella song that I really like. There isn’t much to the lyrics, but it’s a lot of fun to sing.
  • For a bunch of guys in their 40s, the choreography is still pretty intense. They played for two solid hours, and had at least four costume changes. At one point, two of them (AJ and Kevin for the true believers) changed behind a screen on stage, and threw their underwear into the crowd. I was very glad I didn’t love my wife enough to sit that close.
  • To promote their new album, they performed snippets of several songs, only once did they do the entire track. I think.
  • The last quarter of the show was exceptional. They wore all white – is that a staple look? – and played a lot of their biggest hits.
  • Going in, I thought I was a Howie supporter, but it turns out AJ is my guy.
  • I don’t understand women’s fashion. One girl a couple rows in front of us had her butt cheeks literally hanging out of her romper.

Overall, it was a really good show. I’m thankful to my wife for expanding my horizons.

What’s New on OiO?

In case you missed it, we had some really good content on the site this month! There’s a new podcast, Episode 14: Tom and Phoenix Unmask the Webslinger. It was a big month for the wallcrawler with a new movie out. I gave it a 9.5, check out the full review! I also got to interview one of the biggest names in Fantasy Sports in Minnesota, Paul Charchian. We talk about his career, fantasy football and his love for video games.

Final Fantasy Update

July is the seventh month of the year, so it was time to fire up Cloud, Barrett and Tifa for Final Fantasy VII. I got about 7 hours into the game (hey, there are still two days left in the month!) and made it out of Midgar. I played through Cloud’s memories in Kalm and just passed through the marshes on Sephiroth’s trail.

Overall, this game holds up surprisingly well. It’s funny to see the typos in the localization, and it’s interesting to see the leap from VI to VII. The materia system is still one of my favorite mechanics in the series.

Next month we will tackle Final Fantasy VIII, which is one of the two mainline, offline entries I haven’t played yet. I’m excited. What’s a gunblade?

So What Else Has Tom Been Playing?

Borderlands 2

After finishing Ghost Recon Wildlands, my group was looking for something new to play. After hemming and hawing and failing to find a common title, we settled for something old to play instead. Borderlands 2 maybe doesn’t belong on the pedestal it occupies in my mind, but it’s still a fun shooter that is a blast to play with friends. We are about half way through the game, and I’m optimistic we will finish it before the third game releases in September. Unless….

Tom never finishes playing Monster Hunter World. 

I din’t mean to get addicted. I hadn’t played in more than a year. I was trying to play Borderlands, but one of our guys couldn’t make it and we didn’t want to progress without him. So we were going to play Overwatch, but another one of our guys was looking at a multi-hour update. The three of us all had Monster Hunter installed and patched up, so we thought, “why not?”

That was two weeks ago, and I haven’t stopped obsessing about the game since. I have bounced from the insect glaive to the bow and eventually to the hammer, and now daddy is ready to smash some monsters. It is exhilarating to stalk the monsters through the wilderness and then throw down in epic battles. Each monster you slay yields precious crafting resources that you use to make weapons and armor. Each monster has a set of armor – helmet, chest, gloves, legs and waist. This leads you to battle the same monsters a few times, and each time you do you learn more about them.

There are a lot of systems here. There’s lots and lots of crafting. There are upgrade trees. You are strongly encouraged to stop by the canteen for a meal before you head out. You have a cat companion and guess what, they have gear too! There are quests, investigations and bounties. There is an overwhelming amount of systems in play here, and it coalesces into one beautiful experience. The thrill of hunting these fantastic beasts (suck it Harry Potter universe, these guys deserve the label) is incredible, and it’s a lot of fun to take them down with your friends. Until you are working on laying down a sick combo and they interrupt you.

I said it on the podcast and it’s still true – I would play this game endlessly given the opportunity and the endurance.

What is Tom Watching?

Punisher Season 2

Frank Castle is one of my favorite characters, and I’ve finally watched both seasons of his show on Netflix. I was up and down on the second season, but overall I enjoyed it. I thought it suffered from not having a very compelling villain, but it had a nice showdown at the end and a strong finish. Overall, I would rate Castle’s netflix appearances in the following order:

  • Daredevil Season 2
  • Punisher Season 1
  • Punisher Season 2

It was enjoyable, but it didn’t have the same pull as the first season. With Disney shutting down all the Netflix Marvel shows, it makes me wonder if we see adult and/or hyper-violent shows from any offerings on the Disney streaming service? Thinking about the risks that Netflix and HBO did with this and similar programming, is the family-friendly house the mouse built going to be able to cater to the interests of extreme comic fans?


Farscape came up as an honorable mention in the top five science fiction shows in episode 12 of the podcast. I hadn’t seen it, and after discussing it on the show we started watching the series.

A scientist tries an experimental flight and winds up getting sucked into a wormhole. He is immediately abducted by a prison ship that is in a jailbreak and trying to escape. The human astronaut is surrounded by aliens. The show is weird, and through the first four episodes I love it. You can look forward to hearing more about in coming months.

What’s the most unexpectedly good concert you’ve been to? What gaming rabbit holes have you fallen down recently? We’d love to hear your feedback via email or twitter.

Until next time, stay inside, kids! – Tom