Justin Timberlake | 11.19.13

Timberlake asked the crowd not to do “that Miley Cyrus shit.”


Scottrade Center, St. Louis                                    Photo: Kelly Glueck

Coming off two major releases within a year (one inspired, one less than), Justin Timberlake brought the 20/20 Experience to a sold-out Scottrade Center in downtown St. Louis. JT was joined by his “Tennessee kids” through a nearly exhausting combination of charisma, choreography, and — most importantly — a display of talent that doesn’t often go hand in hand with the genre of pop.

Working the crowd through a two hour and fifty minute set that featured 33 songs and a ten minute intermission, Timberlake was nearly inexhaustible except for casually admitting that at 32, he was plenty old to take a 10-minute break.

The crowd was the definition of all ages, perhaps a little too much given the adult nature of many of the songs that constituted the soundtrack for the evening. At several points during the night, especially during “True Blood” and “Tunnel Vision,” sexual/violent images and nudity appeared on the screen. While fitting for the show, it may have been more than anticipated for those under 10 in the crowd.

20 songs into the set — as if the crowd was malaise — a large portion of the stage began to lift into the air on large hydraulics and transport Timberlake and a few dancers across the floor of the arena. The crowd was in awe as they walked along the 5-6 foot wide walkway that was 10-15 feet above them. The move was perfect for the fantastic, horn-filled jam “Let the Groove Get In”.

After a move, it was time for Timberlake to pick up the acoustic guitar for a tribute to his fellow Memphian, Elvis Presley. His hip shaking version of “Heartbreak Hotel” induced in the mostly female crowd thoughts that almost made the two people outside of the arena asking for them to repent their sins seem appropriate.

After a quick shot of liquor with the VIP bar area at the rear of the floor, a cover of Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature,” and semi-acoustic version of “What Goes Around … Comes Around” everyone walked back up to the bridge and was transported back to the main stage.

As the show reached its inevitable end, the band surprisingly pulled out a selection of fun covers including Kool & the Gangs “Jungle Boogie” and Bell Biv DeVoe’s “Poison.” Then the hit parade resumed with “Suit and Tie,” “Sexyback” — during which Timberlake asked the crowd not to do “that Miley Cyrus shit” — and a closing-arena, rocking version of “Mirrors.”

Despite the horn section, multiple drummers, and guitar players, no one is confusing Timberlake for anything other than pop. This could be the overwhelming Timberland influence still overlaying most of the set. This night, however, most certainly proved that Timberlake is anything but a cookie cutter mold despite the obvious influence of Michael Jackson and Memphis style soul. | Bruce Matlock


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