- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Reports of the death of teen pop might have been a tad premature, if Sunday night's sold-out 'N Sync show at the MCI Center is any indicator. In a night filled with its biggest hits, plenty of fireworks and even a midshow tribute to the Beatles, the quintet from Orlando, Fla., showed it still knows how to wow its target demographic.
The night kicked off with the guys doing laps around the circular catwalk that extended into the middle of the concert hall, allowing them to play to every side of the arena.
The first three songs flew by in quick succession as 'N Sync went from "Do Your Thing" from last year's "Celebrity" to "Bye, Bye, Bye" and "It's Gonna Be Me," the group's two biggest hits from 2000's "No Strings Attached."
The young men seemed more relaxed and less regimented than on previous outings. They wore street clothes rather than matching outfits and relied less on synchronized choreography.
In more relaxed moments, 'N Sync members sat on stools center-stage, bantering before performing slower numbers such as "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You."
That was the first of about a half-dozen songs from the group's first, self-titled album, an effort that pales in comparison to the strength of its current output. Still, the group freshened up some of those older songs with new arrangements, including a blues take on "I Want You Back."
Stripping away the synthesizers and putting an electric guitar in its place helped highlight the skilled vocals of Justin Timberlake and JC Chasez, the two lead singers, with able backing from Joey Fatone, Chris Kirkpatrick and Lance Bass.
A touching moment of generational bonding came in the middle of the set, with a four-song Beatles tribute (including "She Loves You" and "Hey Jude") and a Temptations nod with covers of "My Girl" and "The Way You Do the Things You Do." Parents sang along with children as the band took to the elevated catwalk and moved toward the suspended stage in the middle of the arena.
The highlight was a passionate performance of "Gone," which brought Mr. Timberlake center stage as the rest of the group faded into the backdrop.
'N Sync smoothly transitioned into "Girlfriend" before coming back out amid fireworks and shooting flames for an encore of "Pop," the catchy first single from "Celebrity."
Sean "P. Diddy" Combs opened the night by running through some of his recent hits, including "Bad Boy for Life" and "Diddy" from last year's "The Saga Continues" and, in a strange moment, even led the crowd in a singalong to Jennifer Lopez's "I'm Real" and Nickelback's "How You Remind Me."
Two odd acts preceded him. NSB2 (which stands for Not So Boy Band) is a 35-and-older pop group that includes Mr. Fatone's father, Joey Fatone Sr. Though it appeared to be more of a farce than a genuine act, the group received a positive response from the audience.
Tony Lucca, a friend of Mr. Chasez's, also received warm applause as he performed three songs from his upcoming album. His work might have been more memorable had he been playing with a band instead of alone onstage with an acoustic guitar and a tape recording of electric guitar, bass and drums.

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