Justin Timberlake, The 20/20 Experience Tour, review
Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield
Monday 31 March 2014
Timberlake appears, in full tuxedo, under spotlight, soaking up the galvanised screams and he momentarily basks in the rapture of his own applause.
A band, The Tennessee Kids, rise from underneath the stage. They are a powerhouse, loaded with soaring backing singers, thunderous drums, euphoric brass and screeching funk guitar, they are as pristine as JT’s primed and perfected dance moves and they frequently play at floor-shaking volume.
The surging gusto that erupts from the first set-closer ‘Cry Me a River’ is enthralling.
At 33 JT still looks boyish, with a perfect Disney smile still in tact, but this tour is him smoothing over the teenybopper past and presenting himself as something more fitting for his age: as sleek and stylish, as gentlemanly and venerable.
It is a performance laden with lavishness and sexual teasing (when Timberlake gropes his crotch it sets off a tidal wave of screams). With a steady stream of “f**k’s” throughout the night, he seems to be cultivating an almost ‘loveable rogue’ aura around himself, like a James Bond of pop or a zeitgeist Sinatra.
During the second set the stage rises up and glides across the audience (to much excitement). There are covers of Elvis, Michael Jackson and even Kool & The Gang. T
The penultimate ‘Sexyback’ is a knockout and the closing ‘Mirrors’ even prompts a successful marriage proposal in the audience before Timberlake disappears into darkness once again, leaving behind a mammoth two hour-plus voyage of pop.
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