By Nicholas Hautman
Following an epic 15-minute performance at the MTV Video Music Awards in August, Justin Timberlake returned to Barclays Center for the opening night of the 20/20 Experience World Tour, a 70-show tour that will travel across North America and Europe ending in July 2014.
The show, which clocked in at 2 hours and 40 minutes, opened with “Pusher Love Girl” as Timberlake’s silhouette appeared center stage. He started by singing a capella before The Tennessee Kids, his traveling orchestra, began playing. They caused the entire arena to erupt with applause, screams and some off-key sing-a-longs. Once “Rock Your Body” began, the pop singer appeared completely in his element. After taking a break from music to work on movies, it’s clear that Timberlake is finally back at what he does best, musical performance.
The women in the audience swooned as he performed “My Love” a capella before segueing into the album version. Even the grown men who accompanied their young daughters to the concert were bopping around.
JT’s energy throughout the show was admirable and electrifying. Sweat stained through the back of his white Tom Ford suit jacket as he moved across the stage through “Like I Love You,” “LoveStoned” and his latest single “TKO.” Once it was time to take a breather, a piano was lifted onstage and Timberlake flawlessly performed “Until the End of Time,” “Holy Grail” and “Cry Me a River” before the first act came to a close.
After a 10-minute intermission, Timberlake returned in an all black suit. Guitar in hand, he belted “Drink You Away,” with which he preluded, “This song is about alcohol.” Throughout the evening, his sense of humor kept the audience smiling.
Once “Let the Groove Get In” began, Timberlake and his backup singers were lifted above the audience and brought over to the B-stage. This was a clear highlight of the show, especially for those who could physically touch him because of how close he was. He performed “That Girl,” Michael Jackson’s, “Human Nature,” Elvis Presley’s, “Heartbreak Hotel” and an acoustic version of “What Goes Around… Comes Around.” He was surrounded by V.I.P. audience members and a bar, which he walked up to and requested some tequila mid-performance.
For the finale, back on the main stage, the energy was at an all-time high. There wasn’t a single person sitting down. In fact, everyone was dancing and singing along as Timberlake closed with his biggest hits, “Suit & Tie” and “SexyBack.” For the final song, JT performed “Mirrors,” which everyone clapped along and belted the lyrics to. He said a simple, “Thank you Brooklyn” before exiting the stage.
Timberlake proved one thing in Brooklyn; he is a class act who genuinely loves what he does. He radiated with energy throughout the entire show, which didn’t end until midnight. While Legends of the summer, the tour that he co-headlined with Jay Z this past summer, was a great show, the 20/20 Tour showcases that Timberlake is in a league of his own. No gimmicks, just pure talent.