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Crónica e imágenes: «The 20/20 Experience» World Tour en Sheffield, 31 de mar.

Justin Timberlake comienza la gira europea de «The 20/20 Experience» en el Motorpoint Arena de Sheffield, en Inglaterra. Diversos medios ingleses se hicieron eco del primero de una serie de concierto del cantante, que bromeó con su mejor acento inglés con los asistentes: «Reino Unido, tenemos una buena historia en común».

Justin Timberlake review — The crowd gasp when he appears

The Guardian — The first thing Sheffield sees of Justin Timberlake is his giant silhouette on an enormous backdrop. The lights change and there are gasps as the crowd realise that he’s been standing there for a while. It’s the sort of visual trickery we once got from Michael Jackson, and Timberlake is surely aware of the parallels: a former child star who has carved a career beyond a burst of boy-band fame and reinvented himself continually — from dating Britney Spears to working with Jay Z.

While Timberlake may not have Jackson (or Jay Z’s) wider cultural impact, he is certainly their rival as a showman. After his entrance, the orchestra ascends from beneath the stage before Timberlake’s white grand piano does the same.

The last time he appeared at this venue, a giant cross-shaped stage meant he could sprint to every corner of the building. This time, there are fewer technical bells and whistles. But a show design involving tuxedos, spats, 1920s-infuenced staging and some stunning choreography puts the focus on Timberlake’s talents as a song and dance man, mixing the postmodern and the old-fashioned. He moonwalks Jacko style, drags a mock «dead leg» across the stage, performs dazzling reverse spins and — in a move that must have involved some very peculiar rehearsals — moonwalks and groin thrusts at the same time.

Sex is never far away — when he sings «I couldn’t get any bigger» he is not talking about his superstardom — but the 33-year-old, now married, is relatively abstinent on stage (only two lingerie-clad dancers for a 150-minute show). Perhaps he needs to conserve energy. The marathon 20/20 Experience tour packs 30 songs into two halves as the mic-twirling, groin-rubbing megastar’s aching falsetto flits from the sublime Jacko-lite funk of Rock Your Body to soul, hip-hop and crooning, sometimes within seconds of each other. The second half ups the visual ante; when Timberlake traverses the venue on a hydraulic stage, grown women look set to spontaneously combust.

A showstopping cover of Jay Z’s Holy Grail highlights his achilles heel: although there isn’t a bad song among the 30, for someone of this stature Timberlake’s a bit light on genuine modern classics. Still, SexyBack and Cry Me a River unleash waves of adoration.

The huge, arena-unifying celebratory ballad Mirrors moves one chap to propose to his girlfriend right in front of Timberlake, who, part-showman, part-decent human being, makes the couple’s night when he announces their engagement.

Justin Timberlake at Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield

Daily Star — Eleven years on the US pop prince commanded as the band leader of a dazzling proms night.

Act 1 saw him shake up older hits, taking in the effortless falsetto of Like I Love You and bashing the keys for Señorita, complete with girl-boy sing-off.

After the break, he endeared with his best mock British accent: «UK, we’ve got good history».

The crowd erupted as he body-popped on a floating platform, serenading the stalls before strapping on his six-string for an acoustic dalliance.

And returning cocksure to the front he summoned his Tennessee Kids to lay down a mean SexyBack, while an extended Mirrors confirmed his invincibility.

«I’m still running this», he cooed.

Justin Timberlake flies high in Sheffield

The Star — Justin Timberlake has ‘got some history’ with Sheffield.

The superstar played his first ever solo gig at the Motorpoint Arena in May 2003 — and yesterday he was back with a bang.

And he pulled out all the stops to kick off the debut night of his European 20/20 Experience Tour leg in style.

Dapper in suit and tie, he started the show in silhouette to give the impression that the night would be a more grown-up, reserved affair.

But soon the trademark dance routines, gyrating and flirting were back, as he rocked the stage with classics such as Like I Love You, My Love and the famous Britney Spears revenge track Cry Me A River.

The man can sing, falsetto solos were abundant, he can play, both grand piano and acoustic guitar came out, and boy, can he move.

His pelvic thrusting, piano playing, high notes and even shot-drinking — in a toast to all mums in his ‘home from home’ UK on Mother’s Day — had the crowds screaming for more.

Packed crowds were bouncing – singing along to hit Senorita – even before the surprise highlight, an elevating, hydraulic stage that travelled over the audience.

As a crowd-pleaser, it was genuis.

Every seat in the house got to see their idol up close, and from all sides.

Taking a break from pelvic-thrusting, Justin spoke of how the arena was the scene for his ‘first solo show ever’ in May 2003.

He added: «So 11 years and one month, that’s when we met – we’ve got some history.

«It is so, so, so good to be back in the UK».

The Memphis star, who also poked fun at the British accent and told fans ‘I love you’. was joined by a full band, dancers and hi-tech light show throughout the night.

New tracks from his fourth studio album, including Pusher Love Girl and the catchy TKO — got fans jumping.

Covers of Elvis’ Heartbreak Hotel, and Michael Jackson’s Human Nature, also featured before the night slowed down for a few ballads.

Smash hits Sexyback and Mirrors ended the high-energy night, which showed the president of pop’s true scale of talent. He barely broke in to a sweat.

Justin, speaking on behalf of Sheffield, you can come back any time.

Sneak peek of Justin Timberlake as he brings sexy back to the UK

Manchester Evening News — Looking suave, dancing smooth and singing like a saucy songbird, Justin Timberlake swept back onto the UK live circuit tonight (Sunday) in Sheffield with an astonishing set built on relentless energy and JT’s own magnetic sex appeal.

In eight days time, he brings his latest tour to Manchester’s Phones 4U Arena in support of latest double album The 20/20 Experience.

It’s with that LP, and Pusher Love Girl, that he begins the well polished first half of the show – albeit competing with an ever excitable chorus of howls from the predominantly female crowd – but it’s only moments until we’re in JT faves with Rock Your Body, an exercise in flamboyance as he effortless chucks his tuxedoed frame into the dance moves he’s now as famous for as his big pop anthems.

Surrounded by Gatsby-style 1930’s styling and with a strict black and white colour scheme – right down to his loafers and his outstanding appearing/disappearing/reappearing band – the man they call «the trouser snake» bumps, grinds, twizzes and strikes scream-inducing poses while pulling out FutureSex/LoveSound, TKO and Cry Me A River – the falsetto on the last of these is still hard to beat.

Perhaps more than ever, it’s a lesson in the music and the people that made him. We’re all used to seeing him channel the best of Michael Jackson, Prince and Stevie Wonder. Tonight there’s glimmers of Sinatra, even Elvis Presley. He takes a seat at a grand piano, straps on an acoustic guitar and is airlifted across the arena on a heavenly platform. All the while being a modern day flirty Fred Astaire.

In a show running to close to two and half hours, he keeps it all up faultlessly. There’s no drop off in his live vocals, no exhausted retirement from the dance routines, no moment when his charm offensive isn’t fully weaponised.

He is, he reminds us in the final few moments, bringing sexy back. And not before time.

Justin Timberlake proved why he’s one of America’s greatest showmen with high-energy two-hour show

Mirror — It was pelvic thrusts and falsetto from the get go when Justin Timberlake kicked off the European leg of his 20/20 Experience tour in Sheffield tonight.

Billed as the «president of pop», I’d go instead with the «smoothest dude in pop» as he confidently prowled the stage at the Motorpoint Arena, kicking off with new track Pusher Love Girl before tearing through old Justified songs, Like I Love You and Rock Your Body.

Looking ever-dapper in his Tom Ford suit and bow tie, he told the crowd of 13,000: «it’s good to be back in the UK» before exclaiming «drop that s**t down!» and busting out some of his signature breakdance moves for hits like My Love,TKO and Senorita.

The high-energy two-hour show raced through 30 of his songs, as JT effortlessly proved why he’s one of America’s greatest showmen – and despite tight dance routines and high notes, he barely broke into a sweat.

There were big cheers as he mashed up Holy Grail while Cry Me A River, his old revenge break-up song about Britney Spears – sounded fresh despite it all seeming like a lifetime ago.

Stopping to tell a fan in the front row in his Southern states drawl «I love you! And I’ve only just met you!», Justin flirted his way throughout the show, even from behind the keys of his grand piano.

He also played two covers, Human Nature by Michael Jackson and Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis, which he dedicated to all the mums for Mother’s Day before downing a celebratory shot.

It worked and it ended on a high with smashes Sexyback and Mirrors.

But Justin, you had me at the first «hey y’all!»

Timberlake appears under spotlight

The Independent — Timberlake appears, in full tuxedo, under spotlight, soaking up the galvanised screams and he momentarily basks in the rapture of his own applause.

A band, The Tennessee Kids, rise from underneath the stage. They are a powerhouse, loaded with soaring backing singers, thunderous drums, euphoric brass and screeching funk guitar, they are as pristine as JT’s primed and perfected dance moves and they frequently play at floor-shaking volume.

The surging gusto that erupts from the first set-closer ‘Cry Me a River’ is enthralling.

At 33 JT still looks boyish, with a perfect Disney smile still in tact, but this tour is him smoothing over the teenybopper past and presenting himself as something more fitting for his age: as sleek and stylish, as gentlemanly and venerable.

It is a performance laden with lavishness and sexual teasing (when Timberlake gropes his crotch it sets off a tidal wave of screams). With a steady stream of «f**k’s» throughout the night, he seems to be cultivating an almost ‘loveable rogue’ aura around himself, like a James Bond of pop or a zeitgeist Sinatra.

During the second set the stage rises up and glides across the audience (to much excitement). There are covers of Elvis, Michael Jackson and even Kool & The Gang. T

The penultimate ‘Sexyback’ is a knockout and the closing ‘Mirrors’ even prompts a successful marriage proposal in the audience before Timberlake disappears into darkness once again, leaving behind a mammoth two hour-plus voyage of pop.

Justin Timberlake, the 20/20 Experience Tour

NewStatesman — There’s an idea — peculiarly British — that flawless musicianship sometimes comes at the expense of soul. I think it’s something put about by non-musicians trying to deal with the sick feeling of seeing someone brilliant onstage. Watching a great musician is like watching a wire-walker. You’re jittery, elated, adrenalised — but what can you do about it, standing in the crowd like Soft Mick? I felt this way when I saw Dweezil Zappa at the Barbican in 2011, duetting with a giant, pixelated version of his dad: this is too good. Will the pleasure never end? And I felt it so much at Justin Timberlake’s gig in Sheffield on 30 March that I had to leave before the last song and retire to bed to watch YouTube clips of the tour instead, better able to contend with my excitement on a 12-inch screen.

Timberlake and his 11-piece band the Tennessee Kids are rammed in a tiny space at the front of the stage for the drinking song «Drink You Away». One of the backing singers is on the floor, a leg folded under her; one of the horn players looks like John Shuttleworth; every musician is singing. This moment of carefully choreographed chaos, an unusual use of a vast, clean space, is one of several simple but innovative production tricks tonight. Another is the interval (every big show should have an interval); another is the moving Perspex runway hanging across the crowd, raking the entire arena front to back so everyone, at some point, gets a close-up look at Timberlake’s face.

Gigs of this size often feel like a one-way deal: pop royalty puts on wonderful pageant for the scrofulous masses, exits exhausted, does it all again the following night. But I can testify, from my position under the plastic rung, that Timberlake appears to be one of those rare endothermic showmen whose energy is continually topped up by little collisions with the crowd. His eyes dart from face to face and he bites his bottom lip like he’s trying not to laugh. It’s probably just the way he’s wired — he’s got ADHD — but he’s one of the only musicians I’ve seen who appears to be more lively at the end of the show than at the start, like some kind of strange Duracell bunny in spats.

Born in Memphis, he was a child star on the Disney show The All-New Mickey Mouse Club, alongside a pubescent Britney, Christina Aguilera and Ryan Gosling. After a stint with the boy band ‘N Sync, he reinvented himself at the turn of the millennium with a slick 1970s soul-funk sound, just before everyone else started doing that kind of thing. He went into movies and established himself as someone with a brain through various satirical TV skits, including one in which he played Elton John singing a version of «Candle in the Wind» for Hugo Chávez (Saturday Night Live). Last year’s album The 20/20 Experience impressed the kind of people who call themselves «serious music fans» with its intricate, eight-minute, Quincy Jones-style soul-pop songs. When our distant forebears look back on popular music, they will not be able to distinguish between the best of his output — such as «Rock Your Body» — and a tune by Michael Jackson. His voice is a bit bleaty at times but that goes with the territory.

The Tennessee Kids rise from below the stage — congas first, shiny as a fire engine, then horns, each player sprouting up behind a little grey lectern, like tombstones in a cartoon haunted house. The string players backstage appear as huge shadows, reminding me of the scary brooms in «The Sorcerer’s Apprentice».

The 20/20 Experience seems an appropriate name for a show that synthesises vast swaths of 20th-century pop culture, from speakeasies to James Bond, Prince to Stevie Wonder, and its recent incarnations in Janelle Monáe and Outkast. There are moments of musical trickery, such as when he folds the last chorus of Jackson’s «Human Nature» into his own song and passes it through a minor key. As he strolls at one end of the arena, John Shuttleworth and friends play Miles Davis’s «So What» casually at the other, as if it were an afterthought.

The crowd seems to be coping well with the high quality of the show: 20,000 people join Timberlake in a rapid-fire falsetto line about drivin’ in the car with the top down. He has won polls for being sexy, though I can’t see it myself — former child stars often remain curiously asexual, especially the males, so high of voice and smooth of skin. He is a pro golfer with a fashion line in what Alan Partridge might call «sports casual» and has endorsement deals with Walmart and Audi. But his recent film roles have played up the idea of unselfconscious dweebery to great effect — the polo-necked folkie in Inside Llewyn Davis, or his part in Bad Teacher, in which he dry-humps Cameron Diaz with a roar and a wet patch on his trousers. His charisma is physical. He does the dance routines, joining his chorus line for that sliding, moonwalky stuff — then breaks into freestyle, helicoptering round like Fred Astaire in Converse trainers.

By the time we get to the Afrobeat song «Let the Groove Get In» (yes, Timberlake also does an Afrobeat song), Motorpoint Arena has turned into a sprawling dance party with every audience member facing a different direction, grooving, wearing a trilby and holding a trombone (OK, not quite).

Where do we go from here, I ask myself, scanning for the exit in panic. Is this not the «whole of music» in one evening? What’s the point in anyone doing another gig, ever? Will the pleasure never end? I glance at my set list and see that Timberlake ends with «Mirrors», which, I recall, is a particularly good song. Time to get out.

Justin Timberlake at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena

Maltock Mercury — He put on an excellent and thrilling show at Sheffield Motorpoint Arena this week which was was over two hours long with only a 10-minute break between sets.

In an incredible show, Justin showed off all of his performing skills by singing, dancing and playing the piano and guitar. He even found the time to pay tribute to Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson which was a real bonus.

Justin really knows how to own the stage and his showmanship is one of a kind. HIs interaction with the audience created an awe-inspiring atmosphere in the arena. The choreography of his performance was cleverly put together for every song and he definitely looked the part!

His set list included songs such as Suit & Tie, Cry Me a River, Mirrors, TKO, Sexyback, Like I Love You, Senorita, Murder, Poison, Not A Bad Thing, Drink You Away, My Love, What Goes Around Comes Around, Summer Love, Take Back The Night, FutureSex/LoveSounds, Holy Grail, just to name a few!

All in all it was an amazing night and I would recommend anyone to go and take part in the 20/20 Experience Tour!

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