My 20/20 Experience

Posted on January 25, 2014

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pasted%2520image%2520995x995By Isabelle Nelson

It had been more than six years since he had performed in his hometown of Memphis, but on November 17th, now known as “JT Day,” Justin Timberlake dazzled a sold-out crowd, proving that he’s still got it. Timberlake emerged from beneath the stage in a dapper suit-and tie in a white-on-black ensemble, provoking resounding screams from women in the building (myself included). He began to lead his 11-person band the “Tennessee Kids” through the slow, funky track “Pusher Love Girl” off of the 20/20 Experience, the first of his two hit 2013 albums. Soaking in the adoration from his fans, Timberlake immediately engaged with the crowd at the song’s conclusion: “Oh, it’s like that tonight, M-town?” he yelled into the microphone, then turned back to look at his band, “I told you. My city, man.”

Dancing across the stage in fluid movements, his four back-up dancers following along perfectly with every gesture, the “SexyBack” star emphasized another one of natural-born talents while singing upbeat anthems such as “Let the Grove Get In” and “Murder.” Serenading the audience with his effortless voice to relaxed numbers such as “Drink You Away” and a crowd-pleasing tune off his 2006 album,“My Love”, the audience swayed to the beat with their illuminated smart phones. I didn’t realize until the piano cover of “Señorita” that I had been standing up the entire time. The front of the stage rose and Timberlake floated above the crowd, bumping to “Take Back the Night” and the sensual “True Blood.” Guitar in hand, Timberlake performed his own tribute to Elvis Presley and Memphis, covering “Heartbreak Hotel” with as much soul as the king himself. Filling the venue with celestial sound in his rendition of “Mirrors”, Timberlake threw on a Memphis Grizzlies cap for the finale, throwing his hands up in the air and bouncing around the stage in pure jubilance. His excitement was contagious and I found myself dancing all night as the band played, the horn section lifting their instruments in the air and the rhythm section enthusiastically jamming along to each song.

Timberlake performed in cities across the United States, but he came home to deliver a one-of-a-kind performance. JT’s love for his hometown was truly undeniable and perhaps even more moving than the music itself, making his November concert a Memphis moment, not to be forgotten.

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Posted in: Music