PopOdyssey

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PopOdyssey
PopOdyssey.png
Tour by 'N Sync
Associated album Celebrity
Start date May 23, 2001 (2001-05-23)
End date September 1, 2001 (2001-09-01)
Legs 1
Shows 44 in North America
'N Sync concert chronology
  • PopOdyssey
  • (2001)

PopOdyssey was the fourth concert tour by American boy band 'N Sync. Sponsored by Verizon Long Distance and Chili's,[1] the tour promoted the band's third studio album, Celebrity. The tour's name is defined as "an adventurous journey towards popularity, beginning as just a dream and ending in reality". The tour became the biggest production in pop music, beating U2's PopMart Tour. The 2001 tour earned over $90 million, becoming one of the biggest tours of the year.[2] It was also nominated for "Most Creative Stage Production" for Pollstar's "Concert Industry Awards". The tour primarily visited North America[3] with dates in Japan proposed, but never realized.

Background[edit]

While promoting their appearance at Rock in Rio in 2001, the band stated that have already began production on their forthcoming tour. Following the performance, SFX Entertainment announced the band were beginning a summer concert tour, to promote their upcoming album. Initially, the tour was expected to being May 12, 2001 at the Pro Player Stadium in Miami, Florida. English pop group BBMak were slated to be the opening act.[4] At this time, it was believed the album was to be released along with the tour. However, the album was pushed back until June, as the band were still in the recording process.[5] According to bandmember Lance Bass, the tour dates had to remain the same, as the group needed to complete their stadium tour before football season commenced. Subsequently, the album was pushed back, once again, to July. Collectively, the group decided to have a majority of the concert focus on their album, Celebrity, giving attendees a special preview of the songs before the album was released.[6]

The tour faced a few setbacks as well. Deemed "the largest production for a pop concert",[7] the stage was five stories tall with three video screen and five mini-stages. The setup took four days to complete. For this reason, the commencement of the tour was pushed to the end of May, to allow the crew to complete construction of the stage and to give the band time to rehearse the new material.[8] Brad Wavra, Vice President of Touring for SFX Entertainment stated, "['NSYNC] wanted to make sure that all their fans got the full effect of this dynamic tour. We, along with the group, regret any inconvenience this schedule change may have caused for the fans. We promise this tour will be a musical extravaganza for the record books."[7] Further roadblocks occurred when the band were forced to cancel dates, as there was inadequate time to complete stage construction for the venue. Additional dates were cancelled due to weather conditions in the South.[9] Despite the minor setbacks, the tour was one of the most anticipated tours of 2001.[10]

The tour debuted at Alltel Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida to positive reviews. They were joined on tour by several pop acts including: Christina Milian, Samantha Mumba and Deborah Gibson.[11] During the show, PSAs were shown for an anti-drug campaign with the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Here, the bandmembers stated their healthy alternatives (or distractions) to smoking. The band also partnered with the Candie's Foundation to help prevent teen pregnancy. They performed at "Event to Prevent", at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City. They were joined by Destiny's Child, Macy Gray, 98 Degrees and Eve.[12] The tour also opened the newly built Heinz Field.[13]

The band's third studio album premiered at the top of the charts, setting another record for first week sales.[14] The tour ended in the Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos.[15] During this downtime, the band worked on several side projects. Bass and Joey Fatone starred in the film On the Line.[16] Fatone also filmed his role in the 2002 hit, My Big Fat Greek Wedding.[17] They honored Janet Jackson as MTV's first icon. The group performed a bossa nova version of her number one song, "That's the Way Love Goes".[18] For the other Jackson, the band performed alongside Michael Jackson during the 2001 MTV Video Music Awards, to their hit "Pop. The group performed "Dancing Machine" with The Jackson 5 at the Michael Jackson: 30th Anniversary Special.[19]

The band performed at another Jackson event, "United We Stand: What More Can I Give", at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C..[20] The concert paid respect to those lost during the September 11 attacks. The group presented another concert to benefit the families of the attacks. On November 11, 2001, the group performed to 150,000 fans on South Beach.[21] 100% of concert proceeds were donated to the Miami Recovery Fund and Families of September 11. They were joined by Dante Thomas, Willa Ford, Deborah Cox and Tito Puente, Jr.. This was followed by a promotional concert at Atlantis Paradise Island with special guest, Tim McGraw. Bass also stated interest into joining a space mission and had began training in Russia to be eligible.[22] Despite having surgery to complete training, minor technicalities prevented him from participating. Bass would have been the youngest person in space, if the trip came to fruition.[23]

At the end of 2001, the tour became the biggest concert tour in North America, falling short to veterans U2. In January the following year, the band announced another string of tour dates known as the "Celebrity Tour". This time around, the band felt their songs were well known and were able to experiment a little more with their songs. Originally, the group wanted to perform in theaters, however, they were pushed to arenas due to demand. During an interview, bandmember Chris Kirkpatrick stated the second outing would remove the spectacle of the previous tour and focus on the music.[24] Justin Timberlake added,

"[Fans] knew when they were coming to the show last summer that they were going to get something that nobody else had, which was basically about 80 percent of the album that was going to come out after the tour. This year, obviously, they'll know the songs, but we put a twist almost on everything, so it makes it fun for them to hear it a different way and to try to recognize those tunes."[25]

Joining the band on their second venture were R&B singers, Ginuwine and P. Diddy. Rock band Smash Mouth also joined the boys. The new tour dates coincided with the group's partnership with Chili's. The band was featured in several advertisement for the restaurant online and on television. Before the tour began, the band released the third single from the album, "Girlfriend" and performed at the 2002 Winter Olympics.[26] Timberlake announced he began recording his first solo album (called "Just in Time"), which would be released at the end of the tour. The tour ended where it began, in Jacksonville, Florida. The group shortly disbanded after the tour ended. For several years, all of the bandmembers were asked of a possible reunion tour project. Each member responded they could not see it happening. As of 2013, the band has not reformed.

Opening acts[edit]

Set list[edit]

Source: [36]

  1. "Untitled I" (video introduction)
  2. "Pop"
  3. Medley: "Tearin' Up My Heart" / "I Want You Back"
  4. "(God Must Have Spent) A Little More Time on You" (contains elements of "Music of My Heart")
  5. "The Two of Us"
  6. "Untitled II" (contains elements of "Get Rhythm") (video interlude)
  7. "Space Cowboy (Yippie-Yi-Yay)" (contains elements of "Wild Wild West")
  8. "This I Promise You"
  9. "Untitled III" (video interlude)
  10. "Gone"
  11. "Untitled IV" (contains elements of "Pop Goes the Weasel") (performance interlude)
  12. "It's Gonna Be Me"
  13. "See Right Through You"
  14. "Up Against the Wall"
  15. "Untitled V" (video interlude)
  16. "Celebrity"
  17. Medley: "Something Like You" / "Falling" / "Selfish"
  18. "No Strings Attached"
Encore
  1. "Untitled VI" (contain elements of "Bye Bye Bye") (Video interlude)
  2. "The Game Is Over" (contains elements of "Can't Stop the Rocket") (featuring Mobius 8)
  3. "Bye Bye Bye"


Tour dates[edit]

Date City Country Venue
North America[3][5][7][8][28][37][38]
May 23, 2001 Jacksonville United States Alltel Stadium
May 26, 2001 Hershey Hersheypark Stadium
May 28, 2001
May 31, 2001 Foxborough Foxboro Stadium
June 1, 2001
June 3, 2001 East Rutherford Giants Stadium
June 4, 2001
June 5, 2001
June 6, 2001 Cincinnati Cinergy Field
June 10, 2001 Orchard Park Ralph Wilson Stadium
June 13, 2001 Philadelphia Veterans Stadium
June 16, 2001 Chicago Soldier Field
June 17, 2001
June 19, 2001 Toronto Canada SkyDome
June 21, 2001 Cleveland United States Browns Stadium
June 22, 2001
June 24, 2001 Minneapolis Metrodome
June 26, 2001 Milwaukee Miller Park
June 28, 2001 Detroit Comerica Park
June 29, 2001
July 2, 2001 St. Louis Trans World Dome
July 4, 2001 Little Rock War Memorial Stadium
July 6, 2001 Houston Reliant Astrodome
July 8, 2001 Irving Texas Stadium
July 10, 2001 Kansas City Arrowhead Stadium
July 13, 2001 Denver Mile High Stadium
July 16, 2001 San Diego Qualcomm Stadium
July 18, 2001 Phoenix Bank One Ballpark
July 21, 2001 Oakland Network Associates Coliseum
July 22, 2001
July 24, 2001 Pasadena Rose Bowl
July 27, 2001 Las Vegas Sam Boyd Stadium
July 31, 2001 Tampa Raymond James Stadium
August 5, 2001 San Antonio Alamodome
August 10, 2001 Louisville Cardinal Stadium
August 11, 2001 Atlanta Georgia Dome
August 13, 2001 Washington, D.C. RFK Stadium
August 16, 2001 Indianapolis RCA Dome
August 18, 2001 Pittsburgh Heinz Field
August 20, 2001 Columbus Columbus Crew Stadium
August 22, 2001 New Orleans Louisiana Superdome
August 24, 2001 Jackson Mississippi Veterans Memorial Stadium
August 27, 2001 El Paso Sun Bowl Stadium
September 1, 2001 Mexico City Mexico Estadio Azteca
Cancellations and rescheduled shows

Box office score data[edit]

Venue City Tickets sold / Available Gross revenue
Alltel Stadium Jacksonville 42,218 / 71,256 (59%) $2,030,372[43]
Hersheypark Stadium Hershey 61,996 / 66,222 (94%) $3,252,128[44]
Giants Stadium East Rutherford 154,359 / 176,817 (87%) $7,364,012[45]
Cinergy Field Cincinnati 36,371 / 42,285 (86%) $1,947,461[46]
Ralph Wilson Stadium Orchard Park 43,406 / 55,874 (78%) $2,175,436[45]
Veterans Stadium Philadelphia 46,005 / 54,212 (85%) $2,534,204[45]
Soldier Field Chicago 85,650 / 103,903 (82%) $4,739,359[45]
Miller Park Milwaukee 34,148 / 44,978 (76%) $1,956,157[47]
TransWorld Dome St. Louis 31,790 / 48,808 (65%) $1,708,437[48]
War Memorial Stadium Little Rock 31,062 / 41,126 (75%) $1,517,261[48]
Reliant Astrodome Houston 44,116 / 65,144 (68%) $2,328,582[48]
Texas Stadium Irving 44,564 / 44,564 (100%) $2,374,325[48]
Arrowhead Stadium Kansas City 40,863 / 53,143 (77%) $2,107,135[48]
Bank One Ballpark Phoenix 42,959 / 49,111 (87%) $2,213,026[49]
Rose Bowl Pasadena 62,196 / 62,196 (100%) $3,154,129[49]
Sam Boyd Stadium Las Vegas 29,003 / 38,100 (76%) $1,297,973[49]
Alamodome San Antonio 55,206 / 67,573 (82%) $3,000,974[50][51]
RFK Stadium Washington, D.C. 41,831 / 47,962 (87%) $2,232,680[52]
Heinz Field Pittsburgh 48,118 / 56,275 (85%) $2,558,856[53]
Sun Bowl Stadium El Paso 38,313 / 48,987 (78%) $2,048,331[52]

Broadcasts and recordings[edit]

The tour was documented for video during the concert at the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans. Bandmember JC Chasez mentioned the band chose to film at that venue because rehearsals were held at that facility. The VHS, entitled *NSYNC: PopOdyssey Live, was released on November 21, 2001. A DVD edition was released on April 23, 2002.[54] The DVD featured the entire concert along with special features, which included: interviews with each bandmember, photo gallery, profile of each musician, web links and a documentary.[55] A special intro video was made for the video release to explain the meaning of the tour name. The original video shown at the beginning of each concert was made available as a special feature. For the second leg of their tour, the concert at the TD Waterhouse Centre was filmed for a possible DVD release. However, the footage was deemed "unusable" and not released. Bootleg DVDs were sold on eBay in 2003 with ameuter footage of the concert in Anaheim. A professionally filmed video montage appeared on YouTube in 2006.[56]

Before the group began the second leg of the tour, they performed a few promotional concerts that aired on television. The first was a CBS Thanksgiving special entitled "*NSYNC: The Atlantis Concert". The show was filmed at the Atlantis Paradise Island on November 14 and 15, 2001.[57] The concert was exclusive to guest of the hotel and featured duets with country recording artist, Tim McGraw. The special aired on November 23, 2001 alongside The Rugrats Movie. This concert was followed with another promotional performance. To celebrate the 2002 Winter Olympics, the band was one of the headlining performers for the "Olympic Celebration Concert Series". The concert was filmed at the Olympic Medals Plaza on February 23, 2002. The concert aired live on NBC.

Critical reception[edit]

The tour received mixed criticisms from numerous music critics in the U.S. Many commented on bad acoustics in certain venues while others complained of the massive staging taking away from the show. For the debut concert at Altell Stadium, Nick Marino (The Florida Times-Union) writes despite the massive stage, the band's stage presence was out of this world. He continued, "A big pop show, an expensive pop show, but a pop show all the same. 'N Sync realizes (thank goodness) that they are famous, in part, for being famous, and they're using that fact as the touchstone for this entire tour. Pretty smart".[58]

At the Hersheypark Stadium show, Peter Debruge (Entertainment Weekly) felt the group strayed away from the traditional "pop" sound. He further states, Judging by the thousands of glow-stick wagging teenage girls whose eager screams punctuated each peppy chorus, the crowd enthusiastically approved of the unfamiliar songs, even if it meant not being able to sing along. And it's clear that 'N Sync's fan base extends beyond these enthusiastic teens, as I discovered while standing in line between a young gay couple and a middle-aged man wearing an 'I'd Rather Be Hunting' t-shirt. Or maybe that guy was just someone's dirty pop.[59] Sean Richardson (Boston Phoenix) thought the show at the Foxboro Stadium "colorful". He goes on to say, "The group’s wacky sense of humor dominated, especially during a series of slapstick video segments like the faux Western that introduced 'Space Cowboy (Yippie-Yi-Yay)'. A bit of a drag on record, the song came alive when the guys flew out across the audience from the top of the stage at the beginning and engaged in a crowd-pleasing display of synchronized bull riding at the end".[60]

Neil Strauss (The New York Times) compared the show at the Giants Stadium to U2's PopMart Tour, saying the production was spectacle for the sake of spectacle. He continued, "But where 'N Sync had its stadium rivals beat was in the sheer size of its budget and gimmickry. Almost every song came with its own elaborate filmed introduction, expensive high-tech effect, or both. The stage was like a lavish amusement park and arcade. During various songs, futuristic mechanical bulls, giant playpen toys, zip wires, trampolines, treadmills, magic tricks, rubber sit 'n' bounce balls, bicycles, individual elevating platforms, Velcro suits, freight elevators and video game simulations were used by the band".[61] For the same concert, Isaac Guzman (New York Daily News) felt the show was "all sizzle, no steak". He explains, "On a stage set so large it looked as if someone had parked the upper decks of an ocean liner on the field, the group—Justin Timberlake, Joey Fatone, J.C. Chasez, Lance Bass and Chris Kirkpatrick—was dwarfed by the size of the production. To a certain extent, that was the point: 'Popodyssey' is meant to explore the meaning of 'Celebrity', which happens to be the title of the group's next record, slated for release July 24. In 'N Sync's world, celebrity means facing down gold-digging girlfriends and complaining about having to wear sequin-covered chaps while singing 'Space Cowboy (Yippie-Yi-Yay)'. It also means being open to your fans' admiration by sincerely reading their love letters aloud".[62]

Reviewing the show at the SkyDome, Jane Stevenson (Jam!) gave the performance three and a half out of five stars. She states, "The non-stop display of spectacle aside—there were also levitating platforms, Velcro suits, moving sidewalks, fans taking pictures of the group on stage and the band's final disappearing magic act—the crowd erupted into ear-piercing screams whenever NSYNC performed their neo-Chippendales dance maneuvers".[63] At the Metrodome show, Jon Bream (Star Tribune) noted the effects were bigger, brighter and bolder than their last tour. He says, "This time around, the Prefab Five seemed to be projecting more of an attitude, as if some of the songs and the messages on the video screen were flipping a figurative finger at critics. The feistiness adds a much-needed edge, but if critics are 'N Sync's biggest gripe, these guys have nothing to complain about".[64] Scott Mervis (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) called the show at RFK Stadium the "mother of all stadium tours". He follows, "But the shtick was piled ever higher. There were flying contraptions. A tasteful helping of pyro. Toys to ride around on. Costumes louder than Joey that they changed into while we were entertained by their slick home videos. One of those Velcro walls inspired by David Letterman for 'Up Against the Wall'. Hot chicks in superhero costumes, and a diabolical wizard taking the controls for 'The Game Is Over'.[65]

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External links[edit]