Justin Timberlake at Toyota Center, 12/5/2013
Photos by Jim Bricker.
December 5, 2013
In a few years, people will write about pop music between the years 2007 and 2012 and talk about how worse off it was because Justin Timberlake wasn't an full-time musical force. This will be revisionist history -- pop music is ultimately bigger than any one person -- but it'll feel true because of how much Timberlake has done in 2013 to remind us just how talented he is.
As if to seal the deal on his musical comeback, he's hit the road for a fall tour that is less a concert and more a three-hour extravaganza. In anyone else's hands, you'd suspect this was all just a test run for the eventual Vegas show, but on Thursday night it felt more like a wakeup call about who the biggest pop star in the world is, when he chooses to be.
When you're as talented (not to mention charming) as Timberlake, you can do that sort of thing without coming off like an ass.
Imagine your standard pop show and all the props and effects that come with it. Justin has those too.
Does he soar above the crowd? Of course, on the largest bit of movable stage you've ever seen. Does he have a fancy video wall? Absolutely, on par with what Roger Waters was dragging around with The Wall. Excellent backup dancers and a talented backup band? His dancers have some serious moves and the Tennessee Kids are killers. Everyone onstage is tremendously talented, on at all times as if the spotlight was on them the whole show.
It is almost unfortunate then that it's really hard to pull your eyes away from Timberlake. You can't help but watch him as he moves across the stage. Sometime it's natural charisma that draws the eye. Sometimes it's just trying to peak through the magic to try and figure out what makes him so good.
The show is long, and unless you're a diehard fan you run a serious risk of too much of a good thing. The first hour of the show slays -- the anticipation of him taking the stage, getting to hear new songs live for the first time, and then the hits; it's a lot to take in but it's crazy exciting. From his opener "Pusher Love Girl" on through to Set 1-closing "Cry Me a River" (with a little bit of "Holy Grail" and "Tom Ford" for good measure) the man could do no wrong. That includes an epic version of "My Love" that made the show worth it right then and there.
Review continues on the next page.