- The Washington Times - Saturday, April 20, 2002

'N Sync has been ruling the pop charts and touring nonstop for the past four years, but the boys actually young men now are getting ready for a break from the road.
"This will be the last tour for at least a year," Lance Bass says during a conference call that also includes Justin Timberlake and Joey Fatone. "So we wanted to end it in a really cool way."
The group, which also includes Chris Kirkpatrick and JC Chasez, stops tomorrow night for a sold-out concert at the MCI Center.
"This tour is completely different," Mr. Timberlake says. "[Fans] can expect the unexpected. It's a chance for us to sit down and talk with them more. They'll definitely feel like they left with a piece of us."
What makes this tour different is its stage-in-the-round setup, giving fans a 360-degree view of the band. Last year's summer tour was a stadium one previewing new material from 2001's "Celebrity," but this arena tour will spotlight some older songs that haven't been included in show set lists for some time and familiar tunes in new arrangements.
'N Sync formed in 1996 and released its self-titled debut and a Christmas album, "Home for Christmas," in 1998.
With constant touring and MTV exposure, the band built up such a solid fan base that 2000's "No Strings Attached" became a monster, multiplatinum success.
Last year's "Celebrity" has not gained quite the same sales figures, but does show the band moving in a more mature direction, with a focus on rhythm and blues and forays into two-step.
'N Sync certainly seems like it deserves a break. Like fellow label mate Britney Spears (Jive Records), 'N Sync has often done two tours in support of each release and has kept up its profile with performances at the Grammy Awards and the Winter Olympics. A tour DVD also has been released.
Of course, this hiatus won't find the quintet just hanging out on the couch at home. Mr. Timberlake has a solo album coming out later this year, and what impact that will have on the group remains to be seen.
Mr. Bass has made headlines for announcing his intention to take a paid ride on a Russian flight into space and runs his own production company. Mr. Kirkpatrick has a clothing line, and Mr. Fatone has a young daughter and future film plans.
The band also plans to hit the studio in late summer or fall to begin work on its next album. "We'll finish an album cycle and then we go in and write music," Mr. Timberlake says. "If you try and think of a concept before you start writing songs, you hinder creativity."
The band also hasn't ruled out the possibility of a film together. "We've gotten a lot of stupid scripts," Mr. Fatone says. "Nothing good has come across the table yet, but if something does "
Of the group's music, Mr. Timberlake says, "The style of music that we do is so intertwined with rock elements and hip-hop elements and dance-beat elements that people don't know how to classify it."

WHAT: 'N Sync with Sean "P. Diddy" Combs
WHEN: 7:30 p.m. tomorrow
WHERE: MCI Center, 601 F St. NW
TICKETS: $39 to $110, but sold out

PHONE: 202/432-SEAT


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