If you haven’t been to a Justin Timberlake concert, warning: Nobody sits down! The 33-year-old really is a triple threat. He can sing, dance and act, and he brings it all to one spectacular stage in “The 20/20 Experience” tour. One minute he’s dancing and singing, the next he’s sitting at a white baby grand or out in the audience performing on a smaller stage with his guitar.
Taking the stage Aug. 9 without an opening act, Timberlake performed his second sold-out concert in the Valley in less than a year (he performed at US Airways Center in December 2013). Jobing.com Arena was a sold-out party of all ages Saturday night. Even Timberlake himself kept saying: “We love Arizona so much that we had to come back” and “It’s so nice here … so nice, so nice, we had to do it twice.”
Timberlake started out strong and introduced his band, The Tennessee Kids, and explained that they are known simply as JT and The Tennessee Kids. The band was an impressive ensemble of a complete brass section that was very interactive with Timberlake throughout the entire concert, along with backup singers and six dancers. They performed for nearly three hours with only one 10-minute intermission — going in and out through moving stage-floor doors on the set. The experience included a cool laser show at one point.
The concert started off like any other but quickly turned very upbeat. Timberlake took the stage with “Pusher Love Girl,” from “The 20/20 Experience” album. The best part of the entire performance took place in the last hour when a portion of the stage — a middle catwalk with steps on each side — suddenly went airborne and traveled across the entire length of the stadium with JT, his dancers and some of The Tennessee Kids performing on it the entire time without missing a beat. After the stage stopped at the other end, they walked off onto a smaller stage to give those in the nosebleed sections their own show for about three songs. Timberlake often engaged with his audiences, from a group of 10-year-olds to a 40-year-old on her birthday and took a selfie with one fan. He even drank a shot of alcohol from the back bar before belting out some tributes to those who came before him while playing the back of the stadium.
Hailing from Memphis, Tenn., Timberlake made sure to pay tribute to Elvis Presley with his rendition of “Heartbreak Hotel.” Next, he gave a shoutout to Michael Jackson and performed “Human Nature” from Jackson’s popular 1982 “Thriller” album. He even did an impromptu James Brown impression when he stepped back and kissed himself on the back of the hand. That was the beauty of Timberlake’s performance, he went from singing portions of his own songs toward the latter part of the concert and then he broke into Kool & the Gang’s 1973 “Jungle Boogie” or Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison” from 1990. It made for some great dancing by the performers and the audience.
The show was so broad and entertaining that it went from being pop to big band to hip-hop to rock ’n’ roll and then back to pop again. The talent was really unbelievable from everyone, not just Timberlake.
Nobody left early, and how could they since he saved his hit “Suit & Tie” from 2013’s “The 20/20 Experience” album until the very end. For the encore, he finished with what I would say is his most familiar solo song, “SexyBack,” from his 2006 album, “FutureSex/LoveSounds.”
“The 20/20 Experience” tour is playing California this week before heading to the United Kingdom.