The endless weeks of anticipation for 60,000 local teenage girls were rewarded on Friday at the sold-out Rose Bowl when Orlando, Florida’s reigning pop phenoms ‘N Sync blew into Pasadena for an over-the-top loud and silly spectacle, one altogether worthy of the band’s awesome commercial appeal.
Our five conquering heroes, each wearing headset mikes, were lowered onto the football stadium’s giant stage on puppet-style ropes (recreating the group’s record-breaking “No Strings Attached” album artwork) to sustained ecstatic waves of screams and cries from the underagers throughout the 85-minute show.
“You don’t have to be afraid to fall in love,” they sang during the opening tune. And one presumes that each rapt listener more than believed. Scores of flashbulbs popped, fields of $5 green glowsticks (sporting tour sponsor MCY.com’s logo) were waved, colorful and deafening fireworks exploded overhead, many young ladies wept and collapsed into each others arms, and this was just the first song.
Most of the evening’s unremarkable and lightweight dance tunes came from the megaselling “No Strings Attached” (Jive), like “It’s Gonna Be Me,” which sounded like second-rate Jackson Five, the full harmonies of the boys’ first-ever song “I Thought She Knew ” — which followed an awkward taped “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire?” skit on the video screen — and encore “Digital Getdown,” a PG-rated, techno-esque ode to cybersex.
“I Drive Myself Crazy,” from ‘N Sync’s 1998 RCA debut, was performed from an elevated recreated living room, while “Just Got Paid” was an unabashed celebration of material wealth replete with giant dollar signs on the backdrop.
The regular set was capped by the ballad “This I Promise You,” during which Justin, JC, Lance, Joey and Chris were carried above the worshipful crowd on a mechanized platform accompanied by more fireworks salvos. Carnival-like show ended appropriately with the smash hit “Bye Bye Bye” after which numerous audience members could be heard screaming all the way back to the car.