Justin Timberlake - US Airways Center - 12/2/2013 (PHOTOS)
Photos by Maria Vassett Justin Timberlake is bringing Timberlake back.
US Airways Center
Monday, December 2, 2013 (View the full slideshow.)
Pop megastar Justin Timberlake made his eagerly awaited return to Phoenix Monday night and quickly proved why the media has paid obsessive attention to him since his Mickey Mouse Club Days. Over the course of his three-hour performance (including a 10-minute intermission), Justin Timberlake made the 20/20 Experience Tour just that -- a memorable concert experience with plenty of bang for its buck.
Opening with "Pusher Love Girl," the first track from 20/20 Experience, silhouettes of the brass section appeared on the sides of the stage. The beginning of the song spotlighted Timberlake's impressive 15-member backing band, The Tennessee Kids. The large band was absolutely necessary to emphasize all the nuances of 20/20 -- you know the cool horn part in "Suit & Tie"? It sounds even better live.
Timberlake stood in the shadows for most of "Pusher Love Girl," making him seem like just another member of his huge soul band. During "Gimme What I Don't Know (I Want)," JT stepped forward and crooned under the spotlight.
Throughout the course of the concert, Timberlake served in a surprising variety of roles. The 20/20 songs showed that he's a soulster who takes risks, something the album managed as well -- a pop star putting out an album with songs that hover around eight minutes is an inherently risky move, but it pays off when he manages to sing and dance the songs in full without breaking a sweat -- during a high-energy performance that clocks in just shy of three hours.
It was no small feat; the fact that Timberlake does it every night is impressive.
Following "Gimme" was "Rock Your Body," which found Timberlake taking on yet another role -- sexy heartthrob. His boy band past was suddenly quite clear; he could do something as small as glance at a portion of the audience and receive a deafening roar of girlish screams in return. The crowd went wild for this Justified track, which was given a 20/20 twist with an extended intro and some added dramatics.