For some, the Backstreet Boys’ All Access VHS was the first time fans really got to see the Boys in action. As an American fan, we didn’t yet have a bunch of television specials to work watch on loop. So when I saw this nifty package on a shelf at my local Coconuts (please tell me you’re not too young to have forgotten the record store that was called Coconuts – it was a beautiful time), I had to have it.
It came with a VHS tape AND a bonus Jive sampler CD that featured upcoming label artists. My favorite song on there, in case anyone was wondering, had been Shorty You Keep Playing With My Mind by Imajin. Yes. This happened before the universal spelling of ‘shawty’ was introduced. That’s how old this is.
Annnnnnnyway.. most fans were ignorant to the fact that this footage had been filmed at least a year prior and had already been used to craft a few television profiles on the Boys. Private and Backstage aired overseas in 1997 and came in separate parts featuring backstage footage spliced with interviews with each Boy.
My personal favorite is Brian’s for a few reasons but let’s check it out together:
Brian, ever the jokester, introduces himself and starts cutting it up with… himself. While Kevin watches. Nick talks for a while but all we can really focus on is his hair (and his old teeth! Hi, Nick’s old teeth!! We miss you!). AJ does some weird English accent that sounds like something out of Monty Python.
But then something adorable happens… in fact, it might be the most adorable moment in Brian and Leighanne history. Now, as BSB fans, I know you’re all aware that Brian and Leighanne met on the set for As Long As You Love Me. But when was the last time you watched the very beginning moments of their flirtation?
Leighanne is charming and Brian is obviously hamming it up in front of her – the 2:44 mark when he looks at the camera, and all of us by extension, and says “you caught me!” is SO. FUCKING. CUTE. We did. We caught you. Flirting with your future wife. Immediately after he says that, there are two more scenes cut together that show more flirting and some totally friendly, not at all sexual touching. (Spoiler alert: it’s the kind of friendly touching you only do to someone you want to get sexy with.)
The rest of the video is a fun watch, but the moments above are the real gems. We do see the Boys parading around in their funky outfits, we get a separate angle shot of Brian’s famous ‘Howard!! Censored!’ line from the All Access VHS, and we get to watch Howie describe the other fellas (Brian is a comedian, Aj is a flirt, Nick is a prankster, Kevin is the Big Brother Perfectionist).
We also get to see – in what might be one of the most random scenes of all time – Kevin list food items. No. I’m not kidding at all. Kevin literally just starts naming all of the food items at the Kraft Service Station:
Nachos, fruit, trail mix, donuts, pretzels… literally, they just have Kevin naming food. I’m not sure what the question was or if he was asked to name every item on the table, but it is a hilarious. Kevin didn’t have any other speaking lines in this particular cut so maybe they just wanted to fit the poor guy in somewhere?
The video ends with Brian and Kevin playing catch and Brian lamenting how difficult it is to get close to the fans now that there are so many of them. Reflecting on his comments, it feels good to be back in a place where we can connect with the Boys again on a much more personal level.
At the end of the day, though, the greatest part about the video remains the budding relationship between Brian and Leighanne. The lucky couple recently celebrated an anniversary, and I cannot imagine what it might be like for those two crazy kids to have the chance to watch their very first encounters. How cool is it for us, the fans, to have gotten the opportunity to watch their love unfold from the very beginning!
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