Posted March 21, 2014
By GINA GOLDBERG
On tour for the first time in seven years, Justin Timberlake brought his talents to the American Airlines Arena on the evening of March 5.
“The 20/20 experience” is the third studio album recorded by Timberlake and was released on March 15, 2013, by RCA Records. The record contains neo soul styles with elements of old-fashion soul music.
Timberlake, 32, did not stray away from his usual themes and lyrics pertaining to romance and sex. Timberlake exuded a distinct charm, as the sold out audience danced and sang the night away.
“The 20/20 Experience” provided a two and a half hour experience of singing (screaming) and dancing with some sporadic breaks. “The 20/20 Experience” is a neo soul album partly inspired by the broad structures of 1960s and 1970s rock.
As a major long-time fan of Timberlake, I was ecstatic when I got invited with last-minute surprise tickets. Timberlake, clearly a born entertainer, performed for a sold out American Airlines Arena as he joyfully danced and sang around the stage frequently belting out comments like “I love you Miami, sexiest city in the world.”
Swagged out in a black tuxedo with distinctive black-and white shoes, Timberlake looked sexy and he knew it. His confidence, performance and acting ability was the result of an extremely entertaining venue. Timberlake, a Memphis native, was joined by the Tennessee Kids, a group of 11 musicians featuring a four-piece horn section as well as four singer/dancers performing well-choreographed routines.
The Tennessee Kids were definitely a hit with the audience, at some points walking right up to the seats to offer an extra close-up performance to a lucky number of fans while also allowing them to snap pictures. If Justin was facing one section of the arena, the Tennessee kids were keeping it balanced by attending to the others.
The opening hour-long set was a conventional stage joined by an elaborate set and optical illusion style lighting. My favorite was the giant honeycomb backdrop effects that twirled and reflected on Timberlake creating eye-popping imagery. The stage production embraced a classical-vintage vibe with everyone in suits while additional imagery of black and white scenarios played on the numerous screens surrounding Timberlake.
The overall lighting and set design was superb. At times during the first half, the concert started to feel redundant with the same tempos, musical dynamics and overall vibe, but the lighting and set came to the rescue. However, after the 20-minute intermission, the singer came out with a different set up and much improved performance. For the rest of the show, Timberlake cut loose with varied textures and tempos and various different setups.
A majority of the second half, Timberlake and his four back up vocalists performed on a hydraulically lifted platform that traveled over the main floor allowing Timberlake to interact with the elated fans all around the arena. They sang, “Let the Groove Get In” as everyone stood up and simply grooved.
I admired watching Timberlake engage with the audience and at one point was shocked and envious to witness him taking a fan girl’s cell phone on stage as he proceeded to film himself singing directly into her camera for a good two minutes. He then returned her cell phone as she cried in disbelief.
Timberlake, on top of his astonishing showmanship and acting-dancing ability, sang in a beautiful effortless falsetto throughout. He showcased why he is such a big superstar by making it clear he straight up does it all. After performing a few songs on the lifted platform, Timberlake returned to the stage for a contrast in performance as he sang in an extraordinary sweeter tone while playing a couple songs on the white grand piano.
I was so pleased when Timberlake would perform some of his older hits such as “Sexy Back” “Cry Me a River”, “What Goes Around Comes Around”, and “Drink You Away” to name a few. I underwent a serious case of nostalgia as I enjoyed every minute of my favorite throwback tunes. Timberlake’s most popular new hits “Mirror” and “Suit & Tie” were saved until the end and joined by explosive moments of a satisfied crowd.
The former lead singer of ‘N Sync has been nominated for 42 awards, including seven Grammys. The 20/20 Experience is the top-selling album of 2013. Overall, I am pleased to say age does not seem to be an issue for the extremely talented superstar. He’s still got it. On my way out of the arena, I heard numerous fans claiming, “That was the best concert I’ve ever been too by far.”
So, well done Justin, well done.
- Justin Timberlake
- American Airlines Arena
- March 5, 2014
- Ticket Prices: $90+
- Tour: Ends in August 2014
- Rating: *****
- For upcoming tour dates & locations: http://justintimberlake.com/tourdates/