We just returned from a nine day excursion in California that was equal parts Lake Tahoe, wine country and San Francisco goodness. Yeah, it was rough. We're not going to lie. Cabin in the woods in Tahoe, lake time, golf, hiking, a million (or so) glasses of wine, gorgeous views during country road running by vineyards, a trip to the redwoods, a Giants game, a rented apartment near Telegraph Hill with spectacular views of the Bay.

Sorry, yes. Back to reality. Almost.

But first, one of the centerpieces of the trip: This past Friday we went to the Justin Timberlake/Jay-Z concert at Candlestick Park in San Francisco.

When we tell people this, they have one of two responses:

"You went to that concert!"

"You went to that concert?"

Pure excitement/jealousy or pure confusion. No middle ground.

In any event, a review of sorts is in order (perhaps demanded), so here is the short version for anyone interested and/or hoping to catch JT when he is at Xcel Energy Center (sans Jay-Z) in February.


1) Energy. Both performers had tremendous energy throughout the 2-plus hour main set. And Candlestick was packed, adding to the electricity.

2) We liked Jay-Z way more than we thought we would. We're not going to lie: Timberlake was the main draw. If you dismiss him as a grown up boy band hack, you're missing out. He might just be the MJ of our generation. We'd say 90-95 percent of shows we go to are indie rock hipster type shows, but this was a glorious exception. In any event, back to Jay-Z: We forgot how many good songs he had, and he ripped through the catalog nicely. Included: Ball So Hard (at least that's what we're calling it), 99 Problems, Big Pimpin' and Empire State of Mind. The two worked nicely together, combining on some medleys and other recent numbers. Timberlake did the police officer part on 99 Problems, which was a nice touch.

3) The setlist was tight, a nice mix of new and old. They saved "Suit and Tie" for the encore, which was a little obvious but was a definite reason to stick around.


1) If you weren't a fan of both performers, you might have felt a bit cheated. Their main set was, as noted, a little over 2 hours. But with two headliners, you might not have gotten all you wanted from one if that's all you wanted.

2) OK, this one and the last one are going to be venue-related since we don't have much bad to say about the show. First off, two different concession stands we visited ran out of beer. How does this happen?

3) Candlestick is run down and a nightmare when it comes to infrastructure. We took a cab there, which was fine. Getting a cab out of there is pretty much impossible, and there is very little organization when it comes to public transit. We finally wandered our way onto a streetcar more than a mile away from the stadium, but it was a stark contrast to the next night at the Giants game when the exit strategy was clean and clear.


If you like JT, go see the February show. He's exceedingly entertaining in person and you won't be let down.

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