Una nueva entrega de las leyendas del verano, esta vez en Los Ángeles, en un estadio Rose Bowl lleno, con más de 60.000 asistentes, entre los cuales se vio a Beyoncé, Robert Pattinson, Tom Hanks, Kelly Rowland, Misha Barton, Jessica Alba y Natalie Portman, entre otros.
First impressions: Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z at the Rose Bowl
Tennessee-born singer/actor/Mouseketeer/showman Justin Timberlake and his Brooklyn hard-knock compadre Jay-Z converged at the Rose Bowl on Sunday night for Vegas-style bombast, and over nearly 150 minutes tossed off hundreds of lines, dozens of verses and a feast of joyous choruses that the thousands knew by heart.
With only a few pauses for breath and/or wardrobe changes, the two, teaming up for the Southern California stop on a 10-city American tour dubbed the Legends of the Summer, played most of what you wanted to hear and a few things that they maybe could have skipped. But tell that to the masses, who lapped up all the two stars and Timberlake’s fantastic band the Tennessee Kids had to offer.
A full review will arrive shortly, but for now here are a few highlights from a night that saw 90,000 or so people chanting words made famous by two titans.
1. Los Angeles chauffeurs and drivers had a lucrative, if frustrating, evening in Pasadena. The traffic jams were to be expected, but the sheer volume of stretch limos, cabs and town cars had West Pasadena looking like Staples before a Lakers playoff game. Traffic crawled, and medical marijuana smoke billowed from car windows.
2. Stealing a number from the White Stripes playbook, the Legends tour had a red-and-black-themed light show, with jumbo screens projecting huge images of the Men of the Hour. The band wore red, JT and Jay-Z stuck to black and white. They each wore suits for «Suit and Tie», but Jay-Z, of course, wore a glistening gold rope instead of a tie. As a pure spectacle, The concert was hard to top — though it wasn’t as impressive as U2’s stage setup at the Bowl in ’09. Still, it provided ample bang for the buck.
3. The Tennessee Kids are a smoking live band, a dozen-plus musicians on brass, beats, percussion, guitars, keyboards and samples who sounded as practiced as James Brown’s famously tight Famous Flames. Whether the disco of «LoveStoned», the buoyant, surprising highlight «Pusher Love Girl» (from Timberlake’s excellent recent album «The 20/20 Experience) or the brand new conga-and-horn breakdown, «Take Back the Night», the band flowed through the shifts with perfection.
PHOTOS: Concert pictures by the Times
4. For his part, Jay-Z made the Kids work, moving through bits and pieces of jams including «99 Problems», «Dirt Off Your Shoulder», «Encore» and the new «Tom Ford». Proving that he’s learned a lot since his failed tour with another superstar, R. Kelly (which disintegrated midway through due to clashing egos), Jay graciously allowed Timberlake to run the night, ceding just enough control make it a virtually flawless collaborative night. (Though Jay Z did seem to forget some words to «Tom Ford» — he called for the band to start it over.)
5. For the final song before the encore, Timberlake invited hotshot producer Timbaland onstage for a turn on «SexyBack». The classic, influential mid-00s R&B jam that nudged the genre further toward dance music, was produced by Timbaland, and features his trademark grunts. He grunted more Sunday, and introduced the bridges and choruses. Wearing red leather pants, the Virginia Beach track master strutted slowly across the stage, urging his partner — and the entire Rose Bowl — along.
Again, check back later for a full assessment.
Justin Timberlake, Jay Z’s ‘Legends of the Summer’ tour rocks Pasadena’s Rose Bowl
The Rose Bowl in Pasadena, normally filled with UCLA fans decked out in blue and gold, traded its football fans for music lovers Sunday night as the biggest concert to hit the town in ages.
The Legends of the Summer tour featuring Jay Z and Justin Timberlake was, well, legendary as almost every one of the stadium’s 90,000 seats was filled with people ready to party.
The duo came out strong as they started the more than two hour-long set with their joint venture «Holy Grail» from Jay Z’s chart-topping album «Magna Carta Holy Grail», released earlier this month – he later thanked all the fans who helped make it the No. 1 album for the past two weeks.
From there they went on to a medley of Jay Z’s «I Just Wanna Love You» (probably better known as «I’m a Hustler Baby») and Timberlake’s «Rock Your Body». This set the tone for the rest of the evening as the duo switched off at the mic, keeping the energy of the crowd up and likely saving their own since their tag-team strategy gave them both a chance to go backstage every couple of songs.
The set list featured more than 30 songs and included pretty much everything fans would want to hear. Both artists stuck primarily with fan-favorites like Jay Z’s «99 Problems», «Encore», «Jigga What, Jigga Who», and Timberlake’s «Cry Me a River», «LoveStoned», and «What Goes Around Comes Around». But both mixed in enough current hits to make the concert seem fresh and exciting.
«Tom Ford», a song on Jay Z’s new album named after the fashion designer, was a big hit among the crowd with many already knowing the lyrics and singing along. Whereas Timberlake’s «Pusher Love Girl» was a new delight the crowd seemed to enjoy.
When either star asked the audience to put their hands in the air, it seemed no one dared not obey. Before the duo even stepped on to the all red stage in front of their full band, it was clear the audience was ready to party with sections of the stadium breaking out into dance as DJ Cassidy spun records.
And the party kept going until the final song.
Neither star deviated much from the music, only stopping a few times to address the audience, including Timberlake announcing it was the best crowd they’ve had so far on the tour. There were no hijinks, no backup dancers on stage or pyrotechnics. It was all about the music.
Jay Z had two wardrobe changes, wearing a simple black-and-white ensemble the majority of the show with a NETS hat (backwards of course) and at least four gold chains that were enough to blind a person if they looked directly at them. Timberlake, on the other hand, must be more like Jay Z’s wife Beyoncé as he changed outfits every couple of songs, but never straying too far from the black-and-white getup he started the show in.
Jay Z, of course, is one of the best rappers of his time. There is no denying his talent, especially when he takes on old favorites like «Izzo» and «Big Pimpin'». But Timberlake stood out for one particular reason: No other pop artist could go on stage and match the energy and swag of such hip-hop royalty.
Timberlake can not only sing a variety of genres including his former pop hits and his new bluesy, jazz ones – and he can even rap a little – but he showed he is multi-talented as he got behind the piano and the guitar. And let’s not forget his dancing, which is just as entertaining as his music.
Overall his rhythm and musicality puts him at the top of the game, which is even more impressive considering this is the singer’s first venture back into the music scene since 2006 – he’s been focusing on his acting career, starring in films like «The Social Network», «Friends with Benefits», and «Bad Teacher».
The transitions between Jay Z and Timberlake were seamless throughout the night, and it was clear the two have a good rapport. The best combo performance of the night was likely the medley of Jay Z’s «Empire State of Mind», and Timberlake’s cover of Frank Sinatra’s «New York New York». Genius.
And what would a Justin Timberlake concert be if he didn’t bring «Sexy Back?» Well not only did he bring it back, he brought rapper Timbaland on stage to perform the hit song with him. Timbaland was the only guest appearance throughout the show, though he looked slightly confused at times and didn’t offer much to the performance.
Thankfully, Jay Z and Timberlake reunited for the encore with their hit song «Suit and Tie», looking ever so dapper in black suit jackets and drinking from champagne glasses.
Closing out the show, Jay Z – who has been a staunch supporter of Trayvon Martin’s family, even attending a rally with his parents a few weeks ago in New York City – dedicated «Forever Young» to the boy and others who lost their lives too soon. The entire stadium lit up as thousands of fans took out their cell phones, looking like stars amid the darkness, and sang along in a beautiful moment during a concert no one will soon forget.
Legends of the Summer – Rose Bowl – July 28, 2013
«West Coast, are y’all ready for a legendary evening?!» exclaimed Justin Timberlake. «You all ready to party, Rose Bowl?» Jay Z asked to thunderous cheers.
Indeed they were.
For one night only, the self-anointed Legends of the Samsung, er Summer, took over the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The show was every bit as exciting as 2013 has been for both performers.
Beginning with Timberlake’s «Suit & Tie» back in February and more recently, Jay Z’s «Holy Grail» the duo set the stage for what is easily the summer’s most ambitious tour and easily, the biggest spectacle. Seeing how both of them are comfortably aware of their status in the pop music world, no one should have been all too surprised that they’d be taking on an undertaking like this tour to flex their muscles and showcase the best bromance of 2013.
Whether it’s due to brand recognition, their fans’ goodwill or whatever, both of their albums have been among the year’s top sellers. When Timberlake and the svelte, leather Brooklyn Nets hat wearing (to the chagrin of this Knicks fan) Mr. Carter announced they were going to be hitting some of the largest stadiums, not arenas, in the country, some wondered if they’d be up to the task.
Hitting the gigantic red stage just before dusk, the two megastars shared the stage for much of the night. Their frequent collaborations on each other’s songs not only made for memorable moments, but also showed how talented two very different artists are. Outside of two solo mini-sets, the two were on-stage together for about two-thirds of the night, which provided memorable collaborations that showed when two superstars can work together without their egos getting in the way (remember the Jay Z/R. Kelly tour anyone?), the result can be special.
Timberlake handled the Pharrell duties on «I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)» and Jay helped on «Rock Your Body». Timberlake frequently bounced between guitar and piano on other Jay Z songs, proving not only to be a great backing singer for Jay, but a multi-talented musician in his own right.
Watching them glide across the stage effortlessly, in Timberlake’s case showing off his array of dance moves and Jay moving with a rugged swagger, the two didn’t appear overwhelmed by the granddaddy of all stadiums on this tour. In fact, they seemed to welcome the spotlight.
Unlike other big ticket shows that are all about sizzle and lack substance, the foundation of the show wasn’t built on lights nor huge projection screens though they were both prominently featured. Instead, the music was the centerpiece of the show. Jay Z played most of his hits (though the songs from Magna Carta, Holy Grail were pretty meh and were boring compared with everything else), he also threw in strong political moments during «Public Service Announcement» and like on the set closer «Young Forever» when they paid tribute to Trayvon Martin.
Taking into account Timberlake’s long layoff to do film work, his show was even more impressive. Though I could have done without his rendition of Frank Sinatra’s «New York, New York» before «Empire State of Mind», Timberlake for the most part put on one of the most impressive performance that one guy can do in a single show. His voice was in peak form. He told fans before «Until the End of Time» to grab their lovers, gay or straight, which elicited a loud cheer and segued well into his first solo hit, «Cry Me a River». On «Sexyback», he even brought up old pal Timbaland on-stage as a special guest, calling the iconic producer his big brother.
The name Legends of the Summer meant that JT and Jay Z would have to do a lot to back up their billing. On this night, they reaffirmed showed that the rest of pop music has a lot to do if it plans on catching up to them.