Justin Timberlake Wows Once Again

MGM Grand Garden Arena, Jan. 1

Photo by Glenn Brogan

Photo by Glenn Brogan

Justin Timberlake is a damn good entertainer. His 20/20 Experience World Tour has been so popular that it’s lasted nearly two years, making six stops in Las Vegas alone. The Experience was already in fine form when I saw it in November 2013, but knowing that the final two shows would be filmed (and directed by Hollywood’s beloved Jonathan Demme), I wondered how it might change. Would there be over-the-top visuals? Celebrity guest appearances? Nope and nope, because JT doesn’t need that.

The 33-year-old showbiz veteran delivered a mesmerizing and polished pop performance. He moved seamlessly through his catalog of hits, acting as leader of his suave ensemble band, the Tennessee Kids. His vocals evoked the gamut of emotion, producing a sexy growl on “Rock Your Body,” sweet falsetto on a slowed-down “My Love,” and authoritative confidence on “Cry Me a River.” You could just picture Britney Spears weeping in the background.

All the while, Timberlake slayed his choreography, executing alluring hip shakes, body rolls and floor glides without a hitch. He was smooth, but never stale. He sprinkled in the lyrics of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Jay Z’s “Tom Ford” to give his own songs new life. He ad-libbed expletive-laced greetings (“Vegas, shake yo’ ass!”) in between serenades, commanding the audience with intoxicating swagger and charm.

As overheard by one white-haired woman leaving the arena, “It was a great show, even though I didn’t know any of the songs.” That’s how remarkable and well-rounded Timberlake is. The master showman kept us on our toes and our feet for almost two and a half hours. Let’s just hope someone recorded it all …★★★★★

Pusher Love Girl
Rock Your Body
Future Sex/ Love Sound
Like I Love You
My Love
Summer Love
Love Stoned
Until the End of Time
Holy Grail (Jay Z)
Cry Me A River
Tom Ford (Jay Z)
Only When I Walk Away
Drink You Away
Tunnel Vision
Let the Groove Get In
That Girl
Heartbreak Hotel (Elvis)
Not A Bad Thing
Human Nature (Michael Jackson)
What Goes Around
Take Back the Night
Give Me What I Don’t Know (I Want)/Jungle Boogie/Murder
Poison (Bell Biv DeVoe)
Suit and Tie
Sexy Back

Photos by Glenn Brogan

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