"Ohmygod, ohmygod, ohmygod. Like, I couldn't sleep all last night. I was thinking, 'What if it rains and then they won't perform?' I would, like, cry for a week. What could I wear? Do you think J.T. will notice my sign. Like, I really want to go backstage. Do you think I'll get passes? Ohmygod ..."
Nirali Shah, 17, of Leonardstown, had, like, so many things to worry about yesterday. She was one of thousands of teen-age girls who went to Washington's RFK stadium with hormones raging and the determination to meet the most popular band ever - 'N Sync.
"Right, I can't wait," she said. "I am their No. 1 fan. They're so amazing. They can sing, they can dance, they're really cute. I don't know much about the Beatles but I can't imagine they're better."
Nirali proved to be one of the more eloquent fans at 'N Sync's "No Strings Attached" show. The general sentiment of the mostly female crowd could be summed up in seven words (five if you count "ohmygod" as one): "Like, ohmygod, 'N Sync rocks."'N Sync, the top-selling boy band ever, set a record last March by selling 2.4 million copies of their sophomore album, "No Strings Attached," in the first week after its release. But for concert fans at RFK, there were plenty of strings - high ticket prices ($175 for some seats), intermittent rain and difficulty seeing from the top rows.
None of which seemed to bother the kids. At times it sounded like all 2.4 million were packed into the stadium, though in reality only about 50,000 managed to get a ticket to the band's one-night tour stop in the area.
Terry Hoover, 44, who drove her two daughters and a niece two hours from Richmond, Va., for the concert, likened 'N Sync hysteria to her fascination with the Beatles. But she said her daughters were luckier than she was because they have far more access to their idols.
"She's on the Internet constantly looking at pictures; she's taping them every time they're on TV," Hoover said about her daughter, Molly, 12. "She's lucky. Like the Beatles ever came to Richmond. Even if they did, I don't think my mom would have spent $50 on a ticket to see them."
But Hoover said she didn't mind that Molly has plastered her bedroom walls with 'N Sync posters and has amassed dozens of video tapes of 'N Sync appearances on TV. "They seem to be wholesome boys," she said.
Maylin Murphy and her friend Blare Inzeo, both 16 and both from Kensington, were trying to appeal to the more adult side of 'N Sync. They had planned their concert outfits months ago. Maylin had even bought $50 faux python-skin high-heeled shoes for the concert and both she and her friend wore tight tube tops that showed more than a little belly button. They said they were holding out hope that somehow they could get a backstage pass to meet band members Lance Bass and Justin Timberlake.
"I want Lance to think, 'Who is that?' " Maylin said giggling. "But not in a slutty kind of way."
"Yeah," Blare added, "in a love kind of way."
Neither Maylin nor Blare got their backstage passes but they did get an electrifying performance from 'N Sync and warm-up group, Pink. (Baltimore's own Sisqo was a no-show.)
The five 'N Sync boys entered the stage strung up like marionettes, just like they are on their album cover and kicked off the show with the tour's title track. Over the next hour and a half they poured what seemed like gallons of sweat into a dance-filled concert featuring numerous set changes and special effects, including explosions with some of the fast numbers. And - take note, Britney Spears - they never lip-synced once.
Racing across the large stage near one of the stadium's end zones, they tore into both old and new hits, gyrating and shaking and slapping their behinds to the delight of the screaming girls. At one point, part of the stage detached and rolled into the crowd carrying the group toward their fans.
An interactive video, flashed up on a huge screen and featuring MTV's Ananda Lewis and Regis Philbin of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire," invited the audience to shout responses to questions.
Just before launching into the ballad "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You," Chris Kirkpatrick told the crowd that the band had wanted to buy everyone in the audience plane tickets and fly them to the 'N Sync home in Orlando, Fla.
"As you can see," he said as the screams subsided, "we don't have that kind of money."
With thousands of girls buying $15 'N Sync concert bandanas, $32 T-shirts or waving around $20 programs, they soon will.