Backstreet Boys On European, South American "Backstreet-mania"

The Backstreet Boys are currently touring America and finding that it's a somewhat different ballgame than they encountered while vanquishing Europe.

Originally, European boy groups came over here to steal the hearts (and allowances) of young girls, as seen during the first British invasion of the early '60s. Later, that formula was refined and manufactured into such confections as Menudo -- with its incredibly replaceable members -- and, more recently, the New Kids on the Block and Brit group Take That.

The Backstreet Boys, all Americans, reversed the usual state of affairs by breaking into Europe first before tackling the States. When MTV News caught up with the Boys recently, the group compared its experience overseas and abroad with its stateside homecoming.

"Here," said Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson, "[fans are] not as crazy, they're more laid back. In Europe they tend to get a little more hysterical ... and when we went to South America for the very first time, we

were in Chile and there was, what?, some 2,000 people at the airport. Outside the hotel there was another 7,000 people. We thought Michael Jackson was staying there or something. It was crazy."

The Backstreet Boys are in the final stretch of its current set of U.S. dates, and the Boys' tour will roll into Portland's Rose Garden Arena on Thursday.