When he stepped out onto the sold out Key Arena stage Friday night, it had been over six years since Justin Timberlake played a show in Seattle. But the singer/actor/dancer extraordinaire had not lost his magic touch, and spent three hours proving it to the crowd.
The perfect host to a raging party, Timberlake was everything the Seattle crowd wanted. He gave multiple shout outs to the Seahawks (“It’s a pretty big weekend in this city….”) and seemed honestly shocked at the noise the crowd was making.
“The 12th man is in the house tonight!” said Timberlake at one point. “Maybe I just have really good timing, but this crowd is nuts!”
Indeed, Timberlake seemed genuinely abashed at the attention and love he was getting from the crowd – a little unbelievable for a guy who has been America’s heart throb since the mid-90s and the rise of his boy band *NSYNC.
Timberlake opened the show promptly at 9pm, crooning "Pusher Love Girl” in a full three piece suit and tie complete with black and white wing-tipped tuxedo shoes (of course).
He continued through an over 30 song set that lasted three hours, tapping not only on hits from his current "20/20 Experience" album, but also past number 1’s like "Cry Me A River”, “SexyBack”, “Señiorita” and “LoveStoned” from his 2002 "Justified" and 2006 "FutureSex/LoveSounds" albums. When he sang a slowed down version of "My Love" from a white piano that rose up from beneath the stage, you could almost hear the thousands of female (and probably some male) hearts in the crowd breaking.
Timberlake also gave a shout out to local rapper Macklemore, further cementing his ‘coolest-guy-ever’ status with the crowd.
“For this next song, guys grab a girl, girls grab a guy. Guys grab a guy, girls grab a girl. Same Love in here tonight - shout out to Macklemore.”
After a 10-minute intermission halfway through the show, a more casual Timberlake reappeared in black jeans and a button up.
“Look, I’m 32 now. I need an intermission,” said Timberlake. “And it’s my show anyways so I can do what I want!”
Despite multiple jokes about his old age, Timberlake danced and moved as nimbly as ever, with choreography reminiscent of his *NSYNC days. With six dancers, four backup singers, and a full brass band accompanying him (The Tennessee Kids), at certain points Timberlake was one of 20+ people on the stage. In fact, his dancers retreated backstage for a break about every other song - but Timberlake stayed on stage throughout and continued dancing.
It wasn’t unlike a massive house party - in the Key Arena. A full bar sat in the pit, and at one point Timberlake headed out there to take a shot with the crowd.
“To the 12th Man!” said Timberlake. “I don’t want to call them out, but there are a couple Hawks here tonight.”
An Instagram picture from Macklemore’s account later showed that the rapper, Earl Thomas, Golden Tate, Greg Scruggs, and Bobby Wagner were indeed at the concert.
One of the flashier moments of the show was when the stage Timberlake and his band were on rose up above the heads of the crowd, and travelled the full length of the Key Arena. Timberlake danced back and forth non-stop, swinging out to either side to grab the hands of fans who otherwise would have had to depend on the big screens for an up close and personal taste of JT.
Other than his own songs, Timberlake gave tribute to Michael Jackson with "Human Nature", Elvis’ “Heartbreak Hotel”, and a rousing rendition of “Poison” by Bel Biv DeVoe.
Timberlake closed out the show at almost exactly midnight with his current single hit “Mirrors”. The 20/20 Experience World Tour continues to San Jose, CA on Sunday night and on throughout North America and Europe, ending at the Staples Center in Los Angeles in August 2014.