Justin Timberlake and Christina Aguilera – who grossed $31.8 million together in their Justified/Stripped tour in 2003 – will kick off the 2007 touring season by launching separate arena headlining tours. So far, Timberlake, who sold out a tour of 2,000-seat clubs in minutes this fall, is seeing brisk sales for his thirty-one-city tour, which begins January 8th in San Diego. In contrast, Aguilera, who starts her first solo U.S. outing February 20th in Houston – three years after canceling a major tour due to vocal problems – is seeing mixed sales results, according to concert-business sources. Both tours have relatively high ticket prices – eighty-five to ninety-nine dollars for prime seats and about fifty dollars for nosebleeds – and some in the concert business question whether such relatively young artists can justify the cost. “We keep our prices pretty low because our fan base is relatively young,” says Steve Feinberg, manager of Good Charlotte, who have never charged more than thirty-five dollars for a ticket and plan a tour next spring. Both Timberlake and Aguilera had major hits this fall: Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds has sold more than 1.3 million copies, and Aguilera’s double disc Back to Basics is up to 837,000, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Few details were available at press time about Aguilera’s tour, but Timberlake’s show will be a production extravaganza with as many as ten dancers and a set list that includes new favorites such as “SexyBack,” hits from Justified and maybe even some old ‘N Sync tunes, according to his manager, Johnny Wright. The singer is hoping to maintain the intimate vibe of his recent club shows, which emphasized live-band interaction over choreography. “We’re trying to re-create a club atmosphere in an arena,” Wright says. “We’re trying to do something that no one’s ever done before. We’re definitely spending a lot of money to make sure that happens.”
This story is from the November 16th, 2006 issue of Rolling Stone.