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Justin Timberlake’s 20/20 tour dazzles at the Wells Fargo Center

Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com
Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com

Anyone in search of evidence that Justin Timberlake has far surpassed his boy band roots needed look no further than last night’s ecstatic performance at the Wells Fargo Center.

Bringing the tail end of his 20/20 Experience Tour back to the venue that launched it in November, the singer / dancer / style icon / born entertainer dazzled a capacity crowd with a nearly two and a half hour set of theatrical proportions. The show was rich in production value: eye-grabbing projections on a mammoth acoustical shell, a backing band lined up behind sharp “JT” bandstands, a nimble crew of dancers, a catwalk that moved from one side of the venue to the other on a hydraulic lift. But the impressively-crafted setlist was the centerpiece – pop jam after rapid-fire pop jam. Even when it seemed to relent, during the cluster of ballads at the top of the show’s third act, it nevertheless felt like boom, there’s a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature” that reels everybody back in.

Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com
Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com

Timberlake released his third solo record – from which the tour borrows its name – almost a year ago, and it made clear his desire to break the pop music mold. If 2002’s Justified was the performer signaling that he could do it alone outside of his formative N*Sync, and 2006’s Future Love/Sex Sounds was his asserting of a nightclub-fuled dance aesthetic to break from his bubblegum past, 20/20 showed that Timberlake wasn’t just some chump with an entourage and a record deal, he was a musician with expansive songs and unconventional sonic-textural ideas, a pop player with a bona fide artistic vision. It’s a point hammered perhaps a bit too hard in the album and tour’s heavy use of Phoropter-related imagery, but still, it’s the songs that do it.

Opening number “Pusher Love Girl” stretched out over ten minutes, Timberlake rising to the stage backed by silhouettes of a string section. It wasn’t totally clear whether the orchestra was real or just projected, but the 15 backing players that rose to the stage with him (trombone, tuba, trumpet, guitar, keys, etc.) were very much real, and totally sharp players to boot.

Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com
Photo by Rachel Del Sordo | racheldelsordo.tumblr.com

As the song played out, Timberlake danced to the front and worked the crowd beneath, then rushed up to either end of the catwalk, greeting fans in the lower-level seats as elaborate choreography with six backup dancers ushered him from place to place. The song cut to silence, and Timberlake stood in a spotlight, basking in a solid thirty seconds of screams. Clearly, this crowd needed no winning over.

But he continued to work it – “It’s about 9.7 rigt now. We’re gonna turn it up to 10” – dropping the ultra-sexy “Rock Your Body” and melding it into the crackling audio collage of “Don’t Hold The Wall.” Continue reading →

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Justin Timberlake continues to own 2013, returns to Philly in February

Justin Timberlake | Photo courtesy of the artist
Justin Timberlake | Photo courtesy of the artist

With the best-selling album of the year, two huge tours, and endless awards, Justin Timberlake is clearly the king of 2013. The Memphis native added three more trophies (for Favorite Soul/R&B Album, Favorite Pop/Rock Male Artist, and Favorite Soul/R&B Male Artist) to his collection at Sunday night’s American Music Awards. He even performed “Drink You Away” from The 20/20 Experience Part 2 which is the closest most fans will get to witnessing a JT full-band basement jam session. Timberlake’s world tour kicked off in Philly a few weeks ago and featured much of his signature falsetto and blue-eyed soul that you can indulge in below. If you missed out on the awesomeness, fear not. JT returns to the Wells Fargo Center on February 25th for round 2. Get tickets here.

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Watch Justin Timberlake get cinematic in new “TKO” video (playing Wells Fargo Center 11/10 and 2/25)

tko
Justin Timberlake | Photo via www.facebook.com/justintimberlake
Everything Justin Timberlake does is a movie of sorts and his new video for “TKO” is no exception. Lifted from his sequel (released last month) to The 20/20 Experience, the song itself (the video too, in some parts) is reminiscent of Timberlake’s 2002 hit “Cry Me a River” lyrically and structurally. It’s a catchy break-up anthem that you can’t resist. In the video, we see Timberlake get steamy with Riley Keough (granddaughter of Elvis and Priscilla Presley). But then she drags him endlessly through dirt roads in her pickup truck. Poor JT. Watch his fate unravel below. On the bright side, Timberlake will bring his world tour to Philly on November 10th and February 25th. Get tickets here.

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Justin Timberlake adds second Philly show on February 25th, covers The Jacksons’ “Shake Your Body” on BBC Radio 1

Justin-Timberlake-New-Song Justin Timberlake has announced the addition of a second Philly show for The 20/20 Experience tour on February 25th at the Wells Fargo Center. Tickets go on sale Monday, September 30th at 10 a.m. Recently, Timberlake visited BBC Radio 1 and performed a cover of The Jacksons’ “Shake Your Body.” Watch the video below; you can watch Timberlake’s entire BBC set here. Go here for tickets and more information about the show.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Justin Timberlake / Jay-Z at Citizen’s Bank Park, Jason Anderson at Kung Fu Necktie

justin-and-jayThe anticipated double-bill of Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z co-headline Citizen’s Bank Park tonight. JT is expected to release a second part to to the 20/20 Experience in September, while Jay-Z has generated buzz for the abstract marketing is latest studio album, Magna Carta Holy Grail. His video “Picasso Baby: A Performance Art Film” was released earlier this month, and the ten-minute piece starts and ends with an interview dialogue about concert performing, intercut with footage of him playing the song in a New York City art gallery. Find more information and tickets for tonight’s show here. Watch JT’s video for “Take Back the Night” and Jay-Z’s “Picasso Baby” video below.

Continue reading →

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Magna Carta Holy Grail available for purchase tomorrow (Jay-Z playing Citizen’s Bank Park in August)

jay_z_web_1The self-proclaimed eighth wonder of the world, Shawn Carter a.k.a. Jay-Z shared his love (and new found philosophies) on Independence Day by dropping his new album, Magna Carta Holy Grail. And fortunately for his fans, the tracks – meant exclusively for Samsung customers – were leaked mere hours after their initial release. Jay-Z is joined on production by the likes of Timbaland, Swiss Beatz and Pharrell, and several tracks include the vocal talents of Justin Timberlake and Beyoncé. Carter says he wanted to experiment with theme and technique – and so far, critics have been generally receptive, although there are some laments that Hova did not move more outside of his comfort zone. The album will be released tomorrow, July 9th, for retail sale, and Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z will perform at the Citizens Bank Park on August 13th for the Legends of Summer tour. Take a listen to “Holy Grail” below and share your thoughts.

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Jay-Z takes the gloves off on a new song, “Open Letter” (playing w/ Justin Timberlake at Citizens Bank Park in August)

jayz Hot on the heels of the lineup announcement of the Jay-Z curated Made In America concert, Jay-Z has released a new song, “Open Letter.” Co-produced by Swizz Beats and Timbaland, Jay takes on the critics of his trip to Cuba, expresses his opinion about his Brooklyn Nets ownership, his new deal with Universal, brags about his “White House clearance” and declares himself the “Bob Dylan of rap music.” Let’s just say, he’s got a lot on his mind and takes the gloves off on this new song, that you can listen to below.

Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake perform at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, August 13th. Go here for tickets.

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Go ahead, admit it: you’re excited to stream Justin Timberlake’s new album too

jtimberlake13f-1-webIt’s okay. Really, it is – some music simply transcends boundaries and genres and space and time. Some music is simply good music. So just because you got a momentary thrill and / or pique of curiosity a few hours back when the Facebook posts first started flying and reporting that Justin Timberlake‘s new album The 20 / 20 Experience was streaming on iTunes, there’s no being ashamed here. It doesn’t impeach your credentials as a discerning listener of new music or rock or indie rock or whatever you fancy your poison to be. It’s exciting! Dude is space-age crooner, a classy pop performer who evidently holds Prince, Sinatra and Take That in equal regard. There’s not many doing what he’s doing – there’s not many capable of doing what he’s doing. “Suit and Tie” is a jam and a half. The album as it proceeds from there, 70 minutes and change, is even more adventurous. Dig in – listen to it here. And get pumped to see JT on tour with Jay-Z on tour this summer; they play Hershey Stadium on August 4th and Citizens Bank Park on August 13th.