Don't Drink the Kool-Aid

Getting awesome with Tommy Up

By Tommy Up
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 0 | Posted Feb. 24, 2009

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What's the most important thing happening in the world right now? Did you say the Mideast conflict? Wrong. That's about as relevant to me as relationship counseling is to a hooker. The most important thing in the world right now is Lance Bass. America once held Lance and his brothers up as heroes, and now we ridicule our once-beloved son. But I remember a different time--a time when 'N Sync ruled the land with a bedazzled iron fist.

It was the summer of '98 and 'N Sync were tearing the charts a new one. The boys were in town for their first Philadelphia show, and I was more excited than when flavored Zima came out. I saved up every dirty penny I made that summer at my job at Old Country Buffet for a front-row seat to the musical event of the century. That night was going to make every single tray of Real Italian Style Pasta I refilled for fat-faced families in minivans worth it.

I arrived early and proudly displayed my "Who Loves Ya 'N Sync? I Do!" shirt, and I was honestly a little nervous about the rain of rock fire about to happen. But like Hunter Thompson said, "Buy the ticket, take the ride." The seats began to fill in, and I was surprised to see way more 11-year-old girls and dads with fanny packs than I expected at a concert of this radness. It's been said that true genius isn't recognized in its lifetime, and the little girls here--with minds untainted by late-1990s cynicism--must've seen things in 'N Sync that my more sophisticated friends into Creed and 98 Degrees didn't allow themselves to see. If the Spice Girls were the Monkees of 1998, then 'N Sync were the Beatles.

I heard a dad next to me tell his wife, "They're not even playing their own fucking instruments." I turned and yelled, "Listen, Pops, 'N Sync isn't playing by your rules! You think they could move like they do with instruments? Ever seen Journey execute a perfect five-man spin into a group jazz hands?" He looked at me and shook his head and slumped back into his seat, defeated through unassailable logic.

I don't possess the poetry to do their show that night justice, but let's just say I left the concert a man. So Lance, Justin, Joey, JC and that other guy ... I want to thank you. I had the time of my life, and I owe it all to you.

Holla at party thrower and subversive marketing genius Tommy Up at tommyup@philadelphiaweekly.com

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