Timberlake showcases all his moves

Throughout the Sunday night show, Timberlake channeled his heavy influencers like Michael Jackson (the dancing) and Stevie Wonder (the singing).
Throughout the Sunday night show, Timberlake channeled his heavy influencers like Michael Jackson (the dancing) and Stevie Wonder (the singing). (YONG KIM / Staff Photographer)
Posted: November 13, 2013

'Are you tired yet, Philly?" Justin Timberlake asked, checking in with the crowd 21/2 hours into his three-hour set Wells Fargo Center Sunday night. Tired? There was no room for tired with the 360-degree laser light show that danced from song to song. Or the video projections that flipped back and forth between live shots and filmed pieces that interacted with what was happening on stage. Fancy audiovisuals aside, it was Timberlake's performance that kept the audience not just alert, but hypnotized and hooked throughout a 30-song spectacle that ended just before midnight.

After a summer of co-headlining concerts with Jay Z, Timberlake's return to Philadelphia proved he didn't need to share the bill with another superstar. The "20/20 Experience Tour" showcased JT's own versatility. He sings with a crisp tenor that floats into falsetto without hesitation, particularly impressive on early hits like "Cry Me a River" and "Like I Love You." We forget that Timberlake ever sang with a nagging nasality as a member of 'N Sync.

Joined by his band, the Tennessee Kids, and a posse of tuxedo-clad dancers, Timberlake blended harmonies with his backup singers while simultaneously matching their steps and their snaps. Instead of standing in front of his dancers, Timberlake joined the chorus line. And during "Drink You Away," all 12 instrumentalists gathered around as JT joined in on their jam session with an acoustic guitar.

Throughout the night, Timberlake channeled his heavy influencers like Michael Jackson (the dancing) and Stevie Wonder (the singing). But he also revealed himself as a true individual. The few moments he spent alone onstage, whether behind a baby grand piano or standing high above an empty stage, were completely in his own style.

A highlight of the evening was a traveling stage piece that carried JT and his band above the audience from the main stage to a more intimate setup, a section of tables and small platforms evokinga Memphis-style blues club. It was here that he swiveled and crooned during a cover of "Heartbreak Hotel" and added a touch of Bob Fosse to his lyrical hip-hop choreography performing one of his newer tracks, appropriately titled "Cabaret."

Timberlake finished off the night with a trilogy of fan favorites. The erratic tempo of "Suit and Tie" was arranged in such a way that it skipped right over Jay Z's familiar rap verse, reminding us one last time that this night was all about the Timberlake. On "Sexy Back," JT interjected several times that we really do have him to thank for sexy's literal return. And the evening came to a crowd-pleasing close with the modern-day power ballad "Mirrors," with Timberlake exhorting the audience to sing along with him. Everyone was a part of his one-man show.

For those who missed the experience this time around, Timberlake returns Feb. 25.

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