‘FutureSex/LoveShow’ quality entertainment

7 Aug

If you ever have any doubts about Justin Timberlake, just go see him live. He’ll set you straight.

There are, unbelievably, some who still consider him just another boy bander. But consider Timberlake’s latest album, “FutureSex/LoveSounds,” and last night’s hometown concert at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, and Timberlake’s artistry shines.

Timberlake had a huge stage set up (it takes 21 18-wheelers just to haul the stage itself? Did I hear that right?), complete with retractable screens. Lots of back-up dancers and singers, too, and they were all phenomenal.
He had, of course, a grand entrance. There was a little circle in the middle of the stage that would turn or go up and down, so he came up in the middle of that, and there were bodyguard/back-up singer guys around him as he moved up. He set off the night with “FutureSex/LoveSound,” and then moved into “Like I Love You.” There were plenty of back-up dancers and singers to help him out, but he really didn’t need it.
After the first couple of songs, he gathered the band around him in the center of the stage for a few more intimate songs. He started out with “Heartbreak Hotel” (a touch obvious, though — why not Al Green instead?) and moved into tunes like “Sexy Ladies.” He then suavely moved into “My Love,” which was really impressive live.
Later, Timberlake started “Chop Me Up,” and he brought out Timbaland, and the whole building seemed to explode.
After the song, a voice came on overhead saying “The FutureSex/LoveShow will continue in a moment,” and Timbaland took the stage. The crowd was still going crazy as he started playing the beats from his and Nelly Furtado’s “Promiscuous,” and then he mixed in the Fray’s “Over My Head (Cable Car).” Then he started playing “Billie Jean” and threw in some “Since U Been Gone.” He played a couple other bits of songs like Missy Elliott’s “Work It,” but then the audience REALLY got loud when he started playing Aaliyah’s “Are U That Somebody?” and then mixed in a little “Clocks” by Coldplay. After several shout outs to Aaliyah, Timberlake came back to the stage.
His second set included songs like “Summer Love,” “LoveStoned,” “Rock Your Body,” “What Goes Around…” and “Cry Me a River.” He finished the show with, of course, “SexyBack,” with a little help from Timbaland.
Just when you thought the show was over, though, Timberlake came back out. It was just him and his piano, and he gave a really heartfelt speech, thanking Memphis and his fans. Then he sang “(Another Song) All Over Again,” which was really great.

Timberlake performed all the songs off “FutureSex/LoveSounds,” and the hits off “Justified.” Other than “Heartbreak Hotel,” Timberlake also sang part of an NSync song (“Gone”) and just a couple lines from the Commodores’ “Easy.”

Good Charlotte opened the show. I’ll be honest – I’m not a fan, and frankly, their show made me think even less of them. But, lots of people in the audience seemed to like them…so maybe they heard something I didn’t.

But Timberlake’s set — which, including Timbaland’s set, lasted two and a half hours — was so amazing that I can almost guarantee most, if not all, of the folks at the show left thinking only of Timberlake and Timbaland.

If you get the chance to catch Timberlake, do it. He’s a true artist and entertainer, and you will certainly be entertained.

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