Seattle Concert Review: Justin Timberlake Shows He’s Still Got It

timberlake seattle concert review
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For all his flaws — and they’ve been well-documented — Justin Timberlake has always been an amazing showman. Since his name’s been in the news for the wrong reasons recently, after some unflattering mentions in Britney Spears’ autobiography, maybe what Timberlake needs more than anything is simply to get back on stage and remind the world why we fell in love with him in the first place.

If that’s the goal, mission accomplished in Seattle on Thursday night. On the second night of his Forget Tomorrow World Tour, Timberlake showed why many once viewed him as the modern Frank Sinatra, the all-around entertainer who can captivate crowds in any medium.

JT still has the voice. He still has the dance moves. And he still has the charisma.

His show at Climate Pledge Arena featured nearly all of his greatest hits, but also eight new tracks from his latest album Everything I Thought it Was. The new album doesn’t sound dramatically different from what he’s done in the past, which is why many critics aren’t digging it.

The plus side of that familarity is that the new tracks fit seamlessly into a setlist like this, without feeling out of place as they slot in between smash hits from Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds.

Timberlake opened with the new track “No Angels,” before moving into “LoveStoned,” a classic which immediately showed off the power of Timberlake’s live band, the Tennessee Kids, which included a four-piece brass section.

He played nearly 30 songs over two hours, displaying remarkable stamina as he kept up with backup dancers who were seemingly half his age. The only crack came when he paused briefly to sit down between songs, jokingly telling the crowd that he is 43 years old, after all.

The highlight of the night was an early performance of “My Love,” which began as a dreamy, slowed-down piano lounge ballad with Justin crooning the opening verse in falsetto. The track eventually opened up into the vibrant, electro-soul tune that JT and Timbaland made famous. It reached new heights with an electric guitar solo and closed with the entire band and dance crew bouncing together at the front of the stage. It felt like a show closer, and it was only the fourth song.

Though some of the new songs didn’t energize the crowd as much as the familiar numbers, a few stood out. “Sanctified” had great energy. “Drown” was mildly haunting and beautiful, and segued nicely into “Cry Me a River,” another high point of the night, even if its performance was fairly by-the-numbers.

The recent single “Selfish” was also a highlight, as Timberlake performed it as an acoustic sing-along on a second stage at the opposite end of the arena. It would’ve been cool to see him play instruments a bit more, but he did break out the guitar for “Say Something” and the keyboards for “Senorita.”

Timberlake’s voice sounded as strong as ever, though he occasionally fell into a bad habit of not singing either the bridges or the choruses on popular songs like “Can’t Stop the Feeling” and “Like I Love You,” allowing his background singers to take over while he simply danced. And “Summer Love” fell flat, due to a plain live arrangement that de-emphasized the killer synth hook that gave the original version so much power.

That said, Timberlake gave the fans what they came for. The encore, “Mirrors,” featured the singer riding atop a “floating stage” that drifted out over the crowd. The uplifting vibe of the tune and the surprising technological innovation were the perfect way to end the show.

Many critics, including this author, had wondered why Timberlake was embarking on a solo world tour, when this felt like the absolutely perfect time for an *N Sync reunion tour, given that the group recorded two tracks together recently, and that popular culture is currently heavy with nostalgia for boy bands.

But this show proved that Timberlake still has at least one more entertaining tour to offer the world, before he inevitably calls up his former bandmates to hit the road at some point in the future.

Setlist: Justin Timberlake at Climate Pledge Arena
May 2, 2024

1 No Angels
2 LoveStoned
3 Like I Love You
4 My Love
5 Technicolor
6 Sanctified
7 Infinity Sex
8 FutureSex/LoveSound
9 Imagination
10 Drown
11 Cry Me a River
12 Let the Groove Get In
13 My Favorite Drug
14 Señorita
15 Summer Love
16 F**kin’ Up the Disco
17 Play
18 Suit & Tie
19 Flame
20 Say Something
21 Pusher Love Girl
22 Until the End of Time
23 Selfish
24 What Goes Around… Comes Around
25 Can’t Stop the Feeling!
26 Rock Your Body
27 SexyBack
Floating Stage:
28 Mirrors

FAQs: The Justin Timberlake Forget Tomorrow World Tour

Who is the opening act for the tour?

The opening act is Virginia-based DJ Andrew Hypes. On both shows of the tour so far, he has taken the stage just after 8 pm, and played until just after 9 pm.

What time does Justin Timberlake go on stage?

Though the advertised show time for the concerts is 7:30 pm, Timberlake took the stage in Vancouver at 9:15 pm, and in Seattle at 9:10 pm.

What time does the concert end?

Timberlake plays for almost exactly two hours, ending the show around 11:10 pm. He performs a single song for the encore: “Mirrors.”

Last Updated on May 3, 2024

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