Pop Odyssey Tour - Background


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 we're 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. 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. 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.

The tour faced a few setbacks as well. Deemed "the largest production for a pop concert", 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. Brad Wavra, Vice President of Touring for SFX Entertainment stated, " 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." 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. Despite the minor setbacks, the tour was one of the most anticipated tours of 2001.

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. 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. The tour also opened the newly built Heinz Field.

The band's third studio album premiered at the top of the charts, setting another record for first week sales. The tour ended in the Caribbean islands of Turks and Caicos. During this downtime, the band worked on several side projects. Bass and Joey Fatone starred in the film On the Line. Fatone also filmed his role in the 2002 hit, My Big Fat Greek Wedding. 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". 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.

The band performed at another Jackson event, "United We Stand: What More Can I Give", at the RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.. 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. 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. 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.

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. Justin Timberlake added,

" 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."

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. 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.

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