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[whitespace] *NSYNC
Get up close and personal with *NSYNC this Friday at the Compaq Center.

It's Gonna Be ... Cozy?

*NSYNC promises an intimate experience with its scaled-down arena tour

By Sarah Quelland

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT *NSYNC that I find completely irresistible. It all started with the band's turn on Saturday Night Live with Dawson's Creek's Joshua Jackson. Not only was it the best show in recent memory (the Let's Talk Books sketch with the "leathery, musty old Balzac" bit was genius), but the guys had so much fun parodying themselves as "No Refund" it was clear they didn't take themselves too seriously. After that, I started paying more attention to them and their boy-band brethren, and though none of the other groups charmed their way into my life, I started looking forward to *NSYNC's frequent appearances on various specials and awards programs--most recently, the Olympics and the Grammys.

I jumped at the chance to speak with members of *NSYNC as they were preparing for the March 3 launch of their Celebrity 2002 tour, which hits the Compaq Center Friday (March 8) with supporting act Ginuwine. The group spent close to an hour answering questions about life on the road and the production values for this outing.

While the band's blowout POP ODYSSEY tour was a huge stadium spectacle bursting with lasers, pyro, mechanical bulls and overstuffed toys that would make FAO Schwartz green with envy--compounded with the nonstop choreography that's come to define *NSYNC's breed of pop band--this scaled-down tour puts the music front and center.

"There's none of those illusions in this show," JC Chasez insisted. "This show is strictly based around the band and us. There's no dancers. There's no extra people involved. It's a very raw show."

For this tour, the band is dusting off older tunes like "For the Girl Who Has Everything"; changing the arrangements of TRL hits like "Bye Bye Bye" and "I Want You Back"; incorporating a medley and a special tribute to the band's heroes; and adding songs off Celebrity that it's never (or almost never) performed live. The group's making things even more intimate by presenting this show in a 360 degree format so the guys can get closer to their fans.

While it may seem strange to tour on Celebrity a second time--and fans who caught the last tour may be dubious--Justin Timberlake promised, "This tour is completely different. We're gonna have a chance to sit down and talk to them [the fans] a little more, and they'll definitely feel like they left with a piece of us."

Part of the reason these road dogs are heading out for an encore, as Chris Kirkpatrick explained, is because the first time around "we were three-fourths of the way through the stadium show before the album was even released that we were touring for." Now, "people have had time to sleep with the album and [can] come in and say, 'Oh, I know these songs now; I'm ready for the *NSYNC show,' rather than 'I can't wait to go to the show to hear what the new stuff is.'"

And now that fans know the material, Chasez said, "We've gone out of our way to do different things to the music to change it up so it will be an interesting listen for everyone."

ALL THE NEWS: Former Insolence drummer Mando Cardenas' new project, Lifted, plays the Cactus Club on March 8. ... Spike 1000 returns to the Cactus March 15. ... Ex-Metallica bassist Jason Newsted brings his new band Echobrain to the Usual on March 21. ... Everclear's Art Alexakis plays a solo show April 3 at Bottom of the Hill. ... SoFA vets guitarist Dave Pousho and drummer Cole Berggren (both formerly of Creamsickle) are joining forces with bassist Kevin David Cole (Your Precious You/the Whey) and local singer/ songwriter Chris Landon (Crash Landon/Squeeze the Dog) for a new project called Baby.

PLAN AHEAD: The Forgotten, Victim's Family, Angry for Life and the Suicide Pigeons, March 7 at the Lido; Sloppy Meateaters, March 7 at the Cactus; the Wonderbread 5, March 7 at the Icon Nightclub; Sloe, Prop 808 and Audiocrush, March 8 at the YMCA in San Jose; Dream Theater, March 9 at the Warfield in San Francisco; Rivals, Element of Surprise, Revolution Smile and Beau & the Solution, March 9 at Gaslighter's Music Hall in Gilroy; Mushroomhead, March 10 at the Pound in San Francisco; Neil Finn, March 10 at Slim's in San Francisco; Movement, March 10 at the Gaslighter Theater in Campbell.

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From the March 7-13, 2002 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

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