By Anya Whitlock
Artist: Justin Timberlake
Date / Venue: Sunday October 12th, Vector Arena, Auckland
Ohhhhh Justin... Justin Justin Justin... How the ladies looooooove you. The Justin Timberlake spectacular bonanza extravaganza kicks off with a slick, falsetto heavy ‘Pusher Love Girl‘ written about his partner Jessica Biel and instantly the crowd packed to the rafters seemed to be mesmerised by JT's gyrating pelvis. The stage looks simple yet awesome with 20s styling and his back up band ‘The Tennessee Kids' sound truly talented right from the get go. The brass band and the backup singers stand behind JT branded waist high signs and behind them the stage rises up and up with more musicians dotted around before showcasing two massive drum set ups at it's peak.
To set the scene a little more vividly as one goes to a concert of this scale for the visual spectacle as much as the music - There is a massive screen the full width and height of the stage and the graphics for much of the show are geometric patterns and mechanical 3D renderings. My favourite graphic to pop up was three cyber leopard heads. Cool. The former Mouseketeer was dressed in a classic tailored suit, bright white hightops so it was possible to see all the fancy footwork and a pseudo-trilby hat with a red feather.
Six gifted back-up dancers joined JT on stage for the second song ‘Rock Your Body' and everyone moved in an inventive, highly synchronised manner, sometimes appearing like one machine rather than seven individuals. There were a number of songs that felt like the encore with everyone on the stage partying it up and by the half way mark I was wondering if they were saving anything for the finale. Then the mini stage with keyboard was wheeled out and a medley of JT tunes including ‘Take Back The Night' turned the enthusiastic trumpet players into dancers who blew their trumpets into the faces of everyone else on stage.
JT broke out the acoustic guitar for the sentimental portion of the set ‘Not A Bad Thing' was first before declaring his undying love for New Zealand and everyone in the audience then it was straight into his famous heartbreak hit ‘What Goes Around... Comes Around'. After a bit of melancholy he decided to bring sexy back with ‘Sexy Back' -a classic JT number with high energy and much grinding with near-perfect synchronicity from the dancers.
For a show that could have easily lost its heart with such a high level of production it was surprisingly authentic and enjoyable. Everyone on the stage was enjoying themselves as much as the most die hard fans in the audience. During the encore ‘Mirrors' the crowd was on their feet with rapture. JT had everyone clapping big wide smack-your-neighbour-in-the-face claps and it seemed to me for that moment that JT might as well for all intents and purposes be the new JC for many in the crowd.
Justin Timberlake is set to perform two more shows at the Vector Arena tonight and Wednesday. Tickets still available for Wednesday night's show.