I’ve been putting this off for days now. The Concert Review. It’s grown until it’s reached fully capitalized stature in my mind, and I’ve been trying and trying to figure out what my issue is; why what should be an amusing exercise in lust and deconstruction has somehow become a looming monster with teeth.
It’s not that I didn’t enjoy the show. Hoo, no. My glazed expression and desperate craving for a cigarette for three consecutive days despite my distinct aversion to the filthy things should lay that fear to rest. And it’s not that I don’t want to talk about it, because what initially started as a mild predilection for one or two songs has grown to the point that I can safely call myself a zealot, with no greater joy in life than to spring Boyband Love upon some unsuspecting adult. And yet, somehow, despite my first show being almost a week in the past, now, this is the first time I’ve been able to make myself sit down and write about it.
Perhaps an example will help. Following is the transcript of an actual phone conversation, edited for content…
Unspecified Friend Who Put Up A Poster of The Boys on Her Wall When I Last Came to Visit and Has Yet to Take It Down: So? How was it?
Me: Oh god. It was… They were just so… I am so impressed by their… They did a really good job of… I mean, do you know what I’m saying?
UFWPUAPOTBOHWWILCTVAHYTTID: Um, no. Since you haven’t yet been able to finish a sentence.
And I’m not the only one. Did they pump chemicals into the air of Giants Stadium? Virtually every person I’ve talked to about the show so far has spent the hours immediately following the concert with a mildly stupefied expression on her face and a sudden attack of muteness. The situation is only slightly better the following day, when muteness is replaced by a tendency to ramble, with significant incoherency also making an appearance.
Enough of the excuses, though. The time has come. I am now back to normal. Almost. And thus, without further ado, I present to you “Pop Odyssey, or You’ve Never Been in the Presence of So Many Pheromones In Your Life.”
Tonya Mitchell. Is that even her name? The first thing to come off Justin’s label Did anyone even know he had one?, Just In Time Entertainment. A ha ha. Get it? Just In Time? Just In? Justin?
Somebody whack the boy upside the head with whatever is handy the next time you see him, won’t you?
Anyway. Tonya. Aka The Poor Man’s Christina Aguilera. Aka, you really don’t EVER need to see this chick perform. A plate of cooked fish has more charisma. ‘Nuff said.
Meredith Evans. Cute. Nicely curvy and not stick-like. The song from On the Line is catchy, but could stand to lose the references to painters. The remainder of her songs was pleasantly sanitized pop-country, but not really what the crowds were looking for. The high point of her performance was the clips from the movie, in which we learn that Lance likes to take a girl’s hands before he kisses her, and that Joey looks HOT as a punk boy. Also, the movie is going to be very, very short, since we seemed to see every major plot point in the four minutes it took Meredith to sing.
Dream. Also nicely curvy and not stick-like. Interestingly, they seem to show the same range in dance ability that *NSYNC showed in the early years, with the tall redhead with blond streaks taking the Lance role.
BBMak. In hotness, Monday night was their peak, with two of the boys in denim and black/blue, and the blonde in a sassy orange print. They were divertingly pretty to gaze on. The musical high point was the final song, “Unpredictable,” during which the blonde screamed with glee every night, and the one-whose-only-job-is-to-sing-and-be-cute gets to wield a shaker. Whee!
Also, Steve Fatone, who forces mindless patter upon the captive audience between each act, should be shot. But he was shockingly, um, not un-hot. There, I said it.
Immediately following BBMak, the evil sadists who put together the film clips for the performance flash “*NSYNC Countdown” on the screen, causing the entire stadium to erupt into a shrieking frenzy which cuts off abruptly when the time comes up: Thirty. Freaking. Minutes. By the second night, when we were onto their little trick, it was actually highly amusing to see the fevered pitch tens of thousands of teenies would work themselves into at the mere mention of the name. Heh.
Ok, now, I have a confession to make. For all that I saw this thing three times, right in a row, some of it still sort of blurs for me. Like, it, er, came across more as a series of sensations than as a cohesive, linear experience. Perhaps this has to do with the screaming I was doing – not enough oxygen was getting to my brain to feed logical thought processes. Perhaps it was the Benadryl I was on so that I didn’t have to spend the entire show periodically draining off the mucus in my head. Perhaps it was the death grip in which willa and I would alternately have each other’s hands, or arms, or waists. In any event, instead of a recreation of the concert in my head, I have a series of snapshots: The Moments Which Rocked My World. In some semblance of approximate order, they are as follows…
The opening video. All I can remember with real clarity is the final shot: The Boys. In full punk regalia. Circa 1982. JC. Has. A. Mohawk.
The concert could have ended right that very moment, and I would have been happy. No joke.
“Pop.” Have I mentioned that pretty boys doing choreography that borders on that of step dancing and when I say step dancing, I mean that which is performed in black fraternities and sororities across America, frequently involving the use of a cane, not that which is often performed in cowboy bars while singing and occasionally grunting “Hoouh” forcefully, does naughty things to my insides? Because it does.
“Just the Two of Us.” New song. Not impressed, initially, when the music’s only at a moderate pace and they’re sitting on a moving platform. As soon as the first chorus hits, though, and they jump up and start doing bouncy choreography, I’m sold. It’s amazing what a little bouncy choreography can do. Also, side question: is this a JC song? It could be a JC song.
I don’t know if it’s Wade or one of the other choreographers, but The Boys have this tendency to break into a slo-mo section in several of their up-tempo numbers. During one of these, JC was over on our side of the stage. I realized, watching him, that this Boy has a story running in his head for the entire length of the show. He’s doing the choreography, yes, but he’s also apparently worked out a whole little through-line about what it means, “Oh! We just got stuck in tar! But I really want to pick that flower. Must. Bend. Over. To. Get – ah! Got it. Ooh! And we’re out of the tar!”
Yeah. Did I mention that we had seventh row seats Sunday night, and tenth row seats Monday? Which, given that there were no rows one or two, translated to fifth and eighth? Right. So, we did. We were over to the right, facing the stage, just in front of one end, where it swelled out into a semi-circle. Directly in front of where they sang “This I Promise You” and “God Must Have Spent A Little More Time On You.” Meaning that we spent much of these numbers drooling heavily and squeezing each other, on more than one occasion, until I feared broken bones.
They were just. Really shiny. And sparkly. And pretty. All of them. HOT HOT HOT. We were making fun of the hoochies that were picked out of the audience to go onstage for “Celebrity,” or go backstage afterwards, but, uh, here’s the thing. After seeing them up close and decorative like this? All questions of morality aside, if they asked me backstage, I would come. So to speak.
The cowboy video clip is brilliant. “The music was melodic, up-tempo and repetitive. It must be pop.” My only wish? That Chris was the one to have grown enamored with acting. He reminds me of a much shorter, much darker, considerably more male Lucille Ball. Which I suppose just means that he’s good at pratfalls.
“It’s Gonna Be Me.” I’m not sure that I understand the oversized-playroom-toys/reaming-out-the-girl-you-love connection, but it does set up a decidedly hilarious moment where, instead of dancing out the chorus, they bounce it. On huge rubber balls. That is all I have to say.
Ok, I was a little, I will admit it, heartsick, when I learned there would be female dancers on this tour. Not the least of which because, dammit, how did I miss that audition? Happily, I was able for the most part to get past my discomfiture because, a) none of The Boys seem to have any particular chemistry with them and b) if we-the-audience don’t get to vent our voyeuristic tendencies by watching The Boys freak each other, at least we can watch them freak a not-unattractive someone.
Or something, in the case of the mechanical bulls.
Someone said that JC rides his bull with purpose. This would be a significant understatement. JC rides that bull like he is starring in a porno. He puts a full-fucking bodyroll into every single time that bull rears up. It’s just. Beautiful.
In other news, try not to become so enraptured in JC that you forget to the glance at the screen occasionally. Because, in the footage they strung together for the background, the mechanical bulls are animated. And they sing.
Continuing along with the sexy theme I seem to be on, yet another song which makes me wonder if it’s JC’s: “Up Against the Wall.” If it is, between this and “Digital Get Down,” I can’t help thinking that he must be one kinky little fucker. When can I meet him?
And then there’s “Gone.” Which Amanda and I are now convinced is going to be the first song to win The Boys a Grammy, leading to much bittersweet angst and heartbreak on the part of JC, but that’s another story and which contains one of the most moving things you will ever see Justin do with his hips.
Also, it’s a beautiful song.
“Celebrity” is mostly remarkable for the Extra!Sparkly! clothes they wear. Even more sparkly than normal – hard to imagine, but true. And Justin’s knee-length burgundy leather studded jacket. I covet it.
There’s a ballad section. High points: Chris gets a solo. Also, the fan letters Joey reads appear to be actual letters. If Joey’s poor ability to read them leaves any doubt, there was not a single mention any night of a terminal illness, which would have been required had the letters been fakes. Low point: the songs all sound the same.
“Game Over.” Is just wrong. In the lead-in, there’s a voice-over which leaves one with the impression that *NSYNC is the key to transcending the spiritual plane. Um, yeah. Aside from the blinding ego apparent, can I just mention that I think what Mobius 8 should actually be trying to transcend is the material plane. Anywho. The only thing that makes this song tolerable? Joey and JC and the apparent glee they get from holding hands. Yes indeedy.
“Bye Bye Bye.” Guh. Bye.
Final thoughts: the show is Spectacle, in its purest form. On top of the sheer entertainment value, what I was impressed by most was the level of planning that has obviously gone into the staging. The stage – all 91 trucks worth – is enormous. And they spend the entire show covering it, alone and as a group, so that by the end there is not a section of the audience that hasn’t had its time with each of them.
Speaking of which. Chris and Joey: Amanda and I know, after being in virtually the same seats both Sunday and Monday, that it must have been really tough to look down into the stage-left audience on Tuesday night and not see us – the two Amazonian women standing feet above the small girls. God, that had to have been so hard for you. We feel your pain, really. And we’ll make it all up to you, we promise. Just send us tickets through the site, and we’ll be there any night you want us. It’s a small price to pay.
Also, if these Boys get any hotter, I might just implode.