*NSync's Timberlake Officially Graduates High School At Memphis Show

May 15, 2000, 9:40 am PT

Sure *NSync pines over what to get the girl who has everything, but what does somebody give to singer Justin Timberlake? With a sophomore effort, No Strings Attached, that has sold 7 million copies in seven weeks, Timberlake has probably done his fair share of buying. But Brenda Crenshaw, one of his high school teachers, reminded Timberlake during *NSync's show at Memphis, Tenn.'s Pyramid Arena on Friday (May 12) that there's one thing he lacked -- his diploma. "I've chased you all over and I finally found you in your wonderful hometown of Memphis," said Crenshaw, who stepped onstage after *NSync finished "I Drive Myself Crazy." Wrapping a gown around Timberlake and plopping a cap on his head, Crenshaw and fellow teacher Chuck Yeager officially graduated the 19-year-old freshly corn-rolled singer. But before they handed him his diploma, Yeager pronounced, "There's no strings attached to your potential." The 90-minute performance showed an edgier side of *NSync. Clenched fists, tight choreography, and aggressive dance moves were coupled with enough pyros to make Metallica jealous. The crowd fed off that aggression. When *NSync ended the show with "Bye Bye Bye," the audience mimicked the dance sequence in the video. When *NSync jumped, the audience did so with such force that it shook the building. The quintet also injected more sexuality into the show by bumping and grinding its way across the stage. However, the show was still skewed toward younger fans. Lance Bass took on a Pokemon question during a spoof of his Who Wants To Be a Millionaire? appearance. During "Tearin' Up My Heart," they paid homage to MTV's Total Request Live with Total *NSync Live, complete with messages across the bottom of the screen. Dressed as patchwork marionettes suspended from the ceiling, *NSync opened the 13-song show with "No Strings Attached." The group sang "I Drive Myself Crazy" backed by a marching-band drumbeat. The a cappella ballad "I Thought She Knew" was near perfect; the jumpin' cover of "Just Got Paid" showed that *NSync isn't just cashing in on the boy-band craze or imitating its peers. It's about talent and showmanship and *NSync didn't disappoint. The Orlando-based group wasted no time in showing off its ability to market new talent. Country singer Meredith Edwards, who is signed with Bass's Free Lance Entertainment and Mercury Records, and pop performer Ron Irizarry, who is working with Chris Kirkpatrick's Fu.ManSkeeto company, warmed up the audience. R&B singer Sisqo offered a strong opening set. Flanked by neon orange dragons and four male dancers, Sisqo tore through his set, which included "Unleash the Dragon" and a medley of covers including Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin'," DMX's "Party Up (Up in Here)," and he and Will Smith's "Wild Wild West." He closed the show with "Thong Song," during which many parents shook their heads in disbelief as their teens sang along and watched the thong-clad female dancers grinding up against Sisqo. *NSync set list:

1. "No Strings Attached"

2. "I Want You Back"

3. "God Must Have Spent a Little More Time on You"

4. "Tearin' Up My Heart"

5. "It's Gonna Be Me"

6. "I Drive Myself Crazy"

7. "I Thought She Knew"

8. "Just Got Paid"

9. "Space Cowboy (Yippie-Yi-Yay)"

10. "It Makes Me Ill"

11. "This I Promise You"

12. "Digital Get Down"

13. "Bye Bye Bye"