Follow us:

Soundposts

A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

January 18, 2014 at 1:41 PM

Justin Timberlake’s talent, showmanship shine at KeyArena | Concert review

Justin Timberlake stands in the spotlight during his concert at KeyArena on Friday. (Photo by Marcus Yam / The Seattle Times)

Justin Timberlake stands in the spotlight during his concert at KeyArena on Friday. (Photo by Marcus Yam / The Seattle Times)

Timberlake performs in front of a sold-out crowd at KeyArena. (Photo by Marcus Yam / The Seattle Times)

Timberlake performs in front of a packed house at KeyArena on Friday. (Photo by Marcus Yam / The Seattle Times)

Justin Timberlake wasn’t going to miss a chance to exploit Seahawks fever Friday night at KeyArena.

Serving as a kind of honorary 12th man, the chart-topping pop star turned his colorful, high-energy show into a mini Seahawks rally in advance of Sunday’s big game.

“It’s a very big weekend in this city,” he teased, adding that a number of Seahawks were present. He led the audience in a boisterous chant of “Sea! Hawks! Sea! Hawks!” and offered a good-luck toast before downing a shot: “Here’s to this weekend!”

But even without the pep talk, Timberlake’s fans were ecstatic over the singer, dancer and musician’s high-powered arena show, which mixed state-of-the-art visuals and special effects with a party-till-you-drop fusion of pop, soul, R&B and hip-hop.

After opening with “Pusher Love Girl” from his current album, “The 20/20 Experience,” the 32-year-old pop sensation took a moment to bask in the crowd’s adoration at the front of the extended stage.

After the year he’s had, Timberlake deserved it. The former lead singer of ‘N Sync and one-time Mouseketeer has been nominated for 42 awards, including seven Grammys. And “The 20/20 Experience” is the top-selling album of 2013.

Dressed in a black tuxedo with snazzy black-and-white shoes, the Memphis, Tenn., native romped through a set of about 30 songs, backed by the Tennessee Kids, a seasoned troupe of 11 musicians featuring a four-piece horn section, plus four singer-dancers performing tightly choreographed routines.

The concert (with 20-minute intermission) stretched to three hours, not counting an overly long opening DJ set. The elaborate show included a giant honeycomb backdrop that displayed eye-popping imagery.

The show’s most surprising feature was a giant Plexiglas-like stage section that rose up and moved from one end of the arena to the other on motorized dollies. It resembled a giant Boeing 777 wing on which Timberlake and his more agile band members sang and danced, to the crowd’s delight.

But the show also had a retro look, with old-fashioned bandstands for the musicians and black-and-white videos that recalled the Fred Astaire era.

Indeed, Timberlake embodies the classic high-gloss entertainer of decades past, but with modern edginess. Timberlake sang in a sweet, effortless falsetto, danced with extraordinary precision and skill, and played a couple of songs on a white grand piano.

The show was heavily stocked with crowd favorites, including “FutureSex/LoveSound,” “Cry Me a River,” “Drink You Away,” “Tunnel Vision,” “Let the Groove Get In” and “That Girl.”

Acknowledging his Memphis roots, Timberlake performed a saucy version of the Elvis Presley classic, “Heartbreak Hotel,” as well as Kool & the Gang’s spirited “Jungle Boogie.”

Two of Timberlake’s biggest hits, “Suit & Tie” and a laser-enhanced “SexyBack,” were saved for the last explosive moments of the crowd-pleasing show.

- Gene Stout: gene@genestout.com

Comments | More in Rock/Pop | Topics: Justin Timberlake, KeyArena


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►