Photo by Leslie Plesser
Maybe eventually Justin Timberlake will figure out how to present an arena concert.
For the second consecutive time, his performance at Xcel Energy Center was unsatisfying. In 2007, the presentation was such that he was hard to locate amid the gauzy curtains and dim lighting of his in-the-round production. The lighting was fairly dark again on Sunday at the X but he was wearing a white dinner jacket for the first set so you could spot him. And, unlike Bruno Mars, JT didn’t wear matching outfits with his dancers and backup singers.
However, Bruno is more exciting live than JT. The issues with pacing, dynamics, tempo, etc. were addressed in my review. (But let’s show some love for JT's ginormous quilted screen that was not only a Roger Waters’ “Wall”-sized backdrop but also a bit of a roof over the stage.)
Pink, who was JT’s opening act in 2007, has obviously made more strides in her concert presentation. Maybe it’s time for Timberlake to put more time and effort into his music career and less to the rest of his hyphenated existence. He needs more wow and edginess in concert.
By the by, JT sure pandered to the local crowd by saying Minneapolis, St. Paul or Minnesota myriad times. In fact, he said “Minnesota” more often than Peyton Manning did “Omaha” in the AFC championship game.
Here is JT’s set list from Sunday, which was three or four numbers shorter than what he’s typically presented at other cities on the tour:
Set I: Pusher Love Girl/ Rock Your Body/ Don’t Hold the Wall/ Future Sex Love Sound/ Like I Love You/ My Love/ TKO/ Summer Love/ LoveStoned/ Until the End of Time/ Cry Me a River (with intro from Holy Grail
Set II: Only When I Walk Away/ Drink You Away/ Tunnel Vision/ Senorita/ Let the Groove Get In/ That Girl/ Heartbreak Hotel (Elvis)/ Human Nature (Michael Jackson)/ What Goes Around…Comes Around/ Cabaret/ Take Back the Night/ Jungle Boogie (Kool & the Gang)/ Murder/ Poison (Bell Biv Devoe)/ Suit & Tie ENCORE SexyBack/ Mirrors