Tonight I had the absolute pleasure of attending Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience Tour at American Airlines Center in Dallas. A sold out, and very receptive crowd rocked out to Timberlake’s Pop/Funk fusion and impressive stage spectacle until almost midnight.
The show opened with DJ Freestyle Steve playing a lengthy (and slightly obnoxious) set, mainly hyping the crowd in between, and during, top 40, dance and hip hop hits. After his set, he headed up to section 318, ironically 2 sections from where I was sitting, to upgrade 3 ladies and one guy to the VIP section. I was not one of them.
Despite being advertised as an 8PM show, the opening video didn’t start until 9PM sharp. The very plain looking (at first) stage started to morph to life through the use of 3D video projections and lights and a countdown from 30 seconds. Then, the night took off with a bang!
“Pusher Love Girl” and “Gimme What I Don’t Know (I Want),” kicked off the show, then the roof came off of the place when Timberlake moved into his iconic, “Rock Your Body.” The energy was infectious as he rolled through the first set with hits like, “Like I Love You,” “My Love,” “Summer Love,” “Love Stoned,” a brief visit to his Jay-Z track “Holy Grail,” and wrapping with “Cry Me A River.”
After an exactly 10 minute intermission (read: beer/bathroom run), Timberlake’s second set kicked off with “Only When I Walk Away.” At one point during the set, a large platform across the front of the stage rose up out of the main stage and proceeded to roll down the outside aisles toward the back of the venue. Much of the second set was performed at the back of the AAC near where I was sitting. It was thrilling to see Timberlake’s dance moves and infectious swagger up close and personal.
“Tunnel Vision,” “Señorita,” impressive covers of Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel,” and Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” joined “What Goes Around (Comes Back Around)” to wrap up the ‘official’ part of the show and with “Take Back The Night,” the song I was most looking forward to, Timberlake rolled into his fast paced encore. The show’s finale contained a medley of covers like Kool & The Gang’s “Jungle Boogie” and Bel Biv Devoe’s “Poison,” before rolling into three of his biggest hits, “Suit & Tie,” Sexyback” and finally “Mirrors.”
32 year old Justin Timberlake has come a long way from his day’s as the lead, falsetto, tenor crooner in the 90s boy band *NSYNC. He launched his solo career just 10 years ago and has evolved into a musical genius. His authentic and original musical style is only reminiscent of, but is by no means a copy of, the late King of Pop Michael Jackson. Many, including myself, consider Michael Jackson to be the greatest entertainer who ever lived, after seeing tonight’s show I can say with confidence, Timberlake may soon join that very class…he may even create a class all his own.