Thursday, December 5, 2013
Review: Master pop star Justin Timberlake showed off musicality and moves in Dallas
JT killed it. Coming in second place was his incredible moving catwalk that transported him and his dancers all the way to the back of the arena mid-song.
Justin Timberlake’s moving catwalk in Dallas
In a vibrant display of pop-star stamina on Wednesday evening at Dallas' American Airlines Center, current throne-dweller Justin Timberlake served as both mood-lifting opening act and breathtaking closer.
Rather than packing only his brightest hits into a tight hour and a half as most of his peers do, he gave a ravenous capacity crowd three mini-sets amounting to nearly three hours of pure performance. Through several peaks and a few ballad-related valleys, his female-dominated audience hung on every note and, more crudely put, had a good ol’ time.
The 32-year-old former Mouseketeer and boy-band frontman has been a full-fledged superstar for the whole of his post-puberty life, working tirelessly in studio, on stage, and on screen to earn and keep that status. So anyone who’s halfway paid attention to his trajectory would expect Timberlake to put on an above average show. What they might not fully anticipate are the musical scope and no-detail-overlooked production value of the 20/20 Experience World Tour.
We’ll admit to temporary giddiness upon seeing the entire front section of the stage raise up and transport Timberlake and his dancers all the way across the arena, giving floor fans below and plaza-level folks the kind of intimacy you’d usually only get from front-row tickets. Above the space-age white paneled backdrop, the futuristic video projections, the expertly designed laser light patterns, and the supersized soul-revue band backing Timberlake, that moving stage was by far the most impressive technical aspect of the show. It even raised the eyebrows of the big-budget-tour veterans among us.
But you can’t enjoy the kind of love Timberlake received Wednesday without a solid lineup of songs and a perfectionist’s attention to the performance’s flow. That’s where the guy excels. You never doubt that he’s in control of everything you’re seeing, from the smoothness and musicality of retro-stylish numbers like “Pusher Love Girl” and “Drink You Away” to the intricate choreography and trap-beat-heavy arrangements of upbeat high points such as “My Love” and “Murder.”
The moments when Timberlake and his dancers were, ahem, in sync rhythmically proved nothing short of fantastic. He moves so well that his occasionally slight falsetto sometimes takes a backseat to his athleticism. But just when you’re close to doubting his full abilities as a musician, he reminds you that he can deliver from behind a piano (“Until the End of Time”), strum a guitar and gyrate like a post-modern Elvis (on a cover of “Heartbreak Hotel,” no less), or nail every note of a complicated melody (“Cry Me a River”). And by design, Timberlake saved the most off-the-chain moments for his third and final act, lighting proverbial fires under the crowd with covers of Bell Biv Devoe’s “Poison” and Kool & the Gang’s “Jungle Boogie” and then showing his complete artistic range with the one-two punch of “SexyBack” and “Mirrors.”
It’ll be hard for Timberlake to top this experience on his next outing. He may have to take another overlong hiatus to figure out just how to do it. But not too long, Justin. The ladies will be waiting.