Backstreet Boys: Shooting AK-47s in Vietnam is ‘awesome’

Backstreet Boys: Shooting AK-47s in Vietnam is ‘awesome’

Vietnam’s favorite pop stars get trigger happy before their Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi gigs
Backstreet Boys in Vietnam
A.J. McLean (L), Nick Carter (C), and Howie Dorough (R).

This week the Backstreet Boys are wrapping up their international “This is Us” tour with concerts in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam on March 24 and Hanoi on the 26th.

But the world-dominating boy band, also arguably the most popular music act (foreign or domestic) among Vietnam’s youth, took some time out to appreciate the country by … shooting guns.

Singer AJ McLean visited the notorious Cu Chi Tunnels outside Ho Chi Minh City.

“I actually went in one of the tunnels -- one of the longer tunnels,” said McLean. “It was pretty small, tight, hot. I sweat profusely, but it was fun. I got some pretty amazing video.”

The 200-kilometer (124-mile) tunnels were used by the Viet Cong to evade U.S. forces and were vital to the success of the communist war effort. The war monument also contains a shooting range open for tourists.

"I got to shoot an AK-47… that was pretty awesome," a pleased McLean told reporters. "One of the shells hit me in the chest … I thought I got shot."

A.J. McLean in VietnamA.J. McLean likes to shoot.

Boys are in town

The Backstreet Boys are the highest-profile performers to visit the country since Vietnam opened to the West more than two decades ago. These are their first performances in Vietnam. 

Nick Carter visited the War Remnants Museum (previously named the Museum of Chinese and American War Crimes).

“It definitely opens your eyes, and it really teaches you things that you don’t know,” commented a somber Carter. “So that was very enlightening.”

The Boys also went fishing in a remote area of the countryside.

“We stayed there for six hours and had a blast,” said Carter. “I didn’t catch any fish so that sucked, but for the most part we’ve had a lot of fun here in Vietnam.”

The group will be returning to the United States on the 27th. They will begin performing in North America about two months later. They will begin production on a new album later this year.

“We are hoping to get back in the studio this coming fall and really make the most amazing record possible,” said McLean.

See them

March 24 -- Quan Khu Stadium, Ho Chi Minh. 

March 26 -- My Dinh National Stadium, Hanoi. 

Tickets from


Adam Bray has contributed to more than 15 guidebooks to Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand, and has written (and in many cases provided photography) for publishers such as DK Eyewitness, Insight Guides, Thomas Cook, ThingsAsian, Berlitz and Time Out. He is fluent in Vietnamese and speaks a smattering of other local languages, including Cham and Khmer.

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