Justin Timberlake has always been a hot ticket at Madison Square Garden. But even JT fans who have been unable to land tickets to see him live have likely caught one of his shows at the arena: When he was a member of 'N Sync, their "No Strings Attached" tour was captured in the 2000 DVD "Live from Madison Square Garden," while JT's 2007 MSG show on the "FutureSex/LoveShow" tour also made it to home video.
amNY tracked down a copy of the 'N Sync show (harder than one might think -- we miss you, Blockbuster!) and the 2007 solo concert to compare with a recent show on the "20/20 Experience" tour in Inglewood, Calif., and chart the progress of JT from boy bands to manhood:
'N Sync: Live at Madison Square Garden (2000)
Backing Band: Six musicians, four backup danc ... no, that's the rest of 'N SYNC.
Costume: Starts with a white 'do rag, black sleeveless jacket with bedazzled shapes, like a mashup of a pirate and a clown. Then, it goes downhill.
Special Effect: A rising platform at the front of the stage elevates, then glides to the middle of the arena.
Guest Appearance: Ananda Lewis, MTV VJ
Timberlake instrument: n/a (though he did beatbox)
Best Cover: "Just Got Paid" by Johnny Kemp
Best Cheesy Crowd Work: "How are you feeling New York? [crowd screams] I think we should give you one more chance"
Shots of Liquor Taken During Performance: Zero (too wholesome!)
Backing Band: 11 musicians, nine dancers
Costume: Gray suit, blue shirt and fedora, like a banker mashed up with a "pickup artist"
Special Effect: Transparent screens surround the circular stage, projecting the action all the way to the cheap seats.
Guest Appearance: Timbaland, producer and all-around bad-ass
Timberlake instrument: Acoustic guitar, piano, keytar
Best Cover: n/a
Best Cheesy Crowd Work: "I can't think of a better place to play than Madison Square Garden."
Shots of Liquor Taken During Performance: One (unidentified, but judging by the lime wedges, likely tequila)
20/20 Experience World Tour (2014)
Backing Band: 15 musicians (collectively given the name The Tennessee Kids), six dancers
Costume: White suit, black vest, black bow tie, like a mashup of Frank Sinatra and Jay Z
Special Effect: A rising platform at the front of the stage elevates, then glides to a second stage in the back of the arena.
Guest Appearance: n/a (Timberlake doesn't need co-stars anymore)
Timberlake instrument: Acoustic guitar, piano
Best Cover: "Human Nature" by Michael Jackson
Best Cheesy Crowd Work: "We're at an 8.7 right now, L.A. We're gonna turn it up to 10!"
Shots of Liquor Taken During Performance: One (identified by name, as JT now has his own tequila brand)