Two bands, two eras
Elder statesmen Aerosmith and youngsters 'N Sync trade generational barbs and praise as they prepare for Sunday.
|[Times photo: Stefanie Boyar]
Aerosmith and N Sync will perform the Super Bowl halftime show together.
By BABITA PERSAUD
© St. Petersburg Times, published January 26, 2001
TAMPA -- The two boy bands sat side-by-side, a few feet and a generation apart.
One was in its 20s, with denim, bandanas, blue leather jackets and Converse sneakers.
The other was in its 50s, chewing gum and smoking cigarettes.
So what did 'N Sync and Aerosmith -- the unlikely pairing of the Super Bowl halftime show -- think of each other?
The XXXV Files
Times visual journalist Don Morris finds Super Bowl week a real sketch. His impressions
"It's incredible, just incredible," said Justin Timberlake of 'N Sync. "We've had three rehearsals with Aerosmith, and I can't tell you how much we have learned. That comes with mileage."
That provoked a quick reaction from Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, the gum chewer. "What are you saying?" he said with mock anger, shooting up from his chair.
Tyler then turned to the hundreds of reporters who had crowded into Ballroom 5 at the Tampa Convention Center to hear from the halftime performers.
"These guys aren't what they look like on the outside," Tyler said. "And that's a good thing."
The polar-opposite bands -- one a silken-sweet pop band of the '90s, the other a hard-rock throwback from the '70s -- will share the same stage thanks to MTV, which is producing its first Super Bowl halftime show. Producers promise the show will have viewers on the edge of their seats. And it will be loud.
The show will be presented as if it were a stadium concert. A 360-degree stage -- 150 feet wide sideline to sideline -- will be set up at the 50-yard line. Aerosmith will sing its latest single, Jaded, along with old favorites. Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and rapper Nelly also will perform.
Those three weren't at the news conference. Timberlake, who is Spears' boyfriend and a friend from their Mickey Mouse Club days, said she was just arriving in Tampa on Thursday.
Screaming and yelling around the stage, as is usually the case at a stadium concert, will be about 3,000 locals hand-picked by MTV from area high schools and colleges.
The show will be a tight 12 minutes. Everything has to be on time, unlike Aerosmith, whose members were late for Thursday's news conference.
For music fans of a certain age and gender -- read: teenage girls -- an even bigger name was tapped as emcee for the news conference.
"Here's Aerosmith," said Carson Daly, host of MTV's Total Request Live.
No one walked through the door.
"I told you we had the best," Daly joked.
Minutes later, Tyler and the rest of the band of high school chums walked through the door. Tyler wore a black suede football jacket with a dragon on one sleeve.
He said his daughter, Liv, persuaded him to take the halftime gig with 'N Sync, threatening to run the family cat through a blender if he didn't.
"It's going to be a moment, man," he said. "Britney, Mary J. Blige, everyone. I mean, where would you rather be? Sitting at home or on the 50-yard line?"
Today's Super Bowl story lineup