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Crónica e imágenes: “The Man Of The Woods Tour”, en Houston, 22 de enero

El cantante Justin Timberlake actua en el escenario de Toyota Center durante su gira “The Man Of The Woods Tour” el 22 de enero, en la ciudad de Houston, TX, EE.UU.

Justin Timberlake Hasn’t Lost a Step, He Just Doesn’t Take as Many to Entertain

Houston Press — Most shows that take place in the Toyota Center feature a certain level of intensity. It might be quiet or wild, but it’s there in the performance of anyone big enough to play basketball arenas. Most artists understand that achievement, and by and large they take putting on a major production seriously. Sure, they’ll have fun up on stage, but it’s still work.

Justin Timberlake lacked anything approaching intensity, instead projecting an aura of quiet confidence and goofy charm. No longer the young man trying to prove himself as an artist or a quest to maintain his relevance in a changing music scene, this Timberlake is relaxed with not just his body of work but how he approaches performing it. He’s entered that stage where he’s leaning on his backup singers more and more and the choreography occasionally gets skipped so he can show off his best dad dancing, but for someone who has been part of the cultural conversation as long as Timberlake it works.

That’s not to say that the show felt like Timberlake was phoning it in. In fact, it was a real testament to his abilities as a showman that he can thrill a crowd with his less is more approach. Something as simple as standing in front of a microphone seems somehow more epic when Timberlake, flanked by his dancers and under tasteful lighting, does it, milking the moment of anticipation for all it’s worth.

Justin Timberlake still has some steps.Photo by Jack Gormon
The show was also a reminder of just how strong his catalog remains. “SexyBack” shows up early in the show, but that beat with that chord progression is never unwelcome, and as long as Timberlake takes the stage, there will always be those ready to sing along. His brief live remixing of “My Love” was also a highlight, coming in the middle of a greatest hits run that showed off his staying power.

It’s such an interesting time in pop music for men. We’ve entered a golden age of sorts, with Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran and Harry Styles, to name a few all out there putting out either incredible records or amazing live performances. But Timberlake is the elder statesman, the guy who was entertaining the masses before stardom was even a glint in the other singer’s eyes. And if wants to slow it down a step, no matter; the man knows what he’s doing, even when he’s taking things just a little bit easier.

So, How Was the Opener?: I understand that the most valuable thing, aside from exposure, that opening acts on these big arena tours get is time on stage to try and win over apathetic crowds, but for all his obvious talents, Francesco Yates probably would have been better served with a shorter set. His modern take on pre-Thriller Michael Jackson-style makes for some fine enough tunes, but he’s still in that “trying too hard to be cool” phase of his career. Would be curious to see what size venue he’d pack if he came back solo.

The Crowd: To my slight surprise, they popped more when the preshow DJ played a Selena jam than when he dropped “Sicko Mode”.

Overheard in the Crowd: “Justin, get your ass out here”, said an older gentleman behind me, not happy about the main set’s late starting time. The gap between opener and headliner was a little ridiculous considering they weren’t set up on the same stage.

Random Notebook Dump: Reminder to all my DJs turned hype people out there: if you’re going to play “Big Pimpin'” it’s against the law to cut the song off before Pimp C’s verse is over. That sacred text should be our state anthem.

Justin Timberlake makes good on promise, gives Santa Fe shooting victim VIP tickets to show

Justin Timberlake, who hits the stage at downtown’s Toyota Center Tuesday night, is making it a special night for one Houston teen.

In a heartwarming gesture, the pop star gave Sarah Salazar, a surviving victim of the Santa Fe High School shooting, a pair of VIP tickets to see his performance, KHOU reports.

The free tickets make good on a promise Timberlake made to Salazar when he visited the 17-year-old in the hospital in May.

It looks to be a long road to recovery for Salazar, who had emergency surgery after she was “shot from the neck down to her thigh”, according to a GoFundMe page set up to raise funds to help with her recovery expenses. The site also says she suffered a shattered shoulder and several rib fractures, and has several more surgeries left to go.

During his May 2018 Houston concert, Timberlake took a few moments to show his support of the victims of the Santa Fe High School shooting, asking the crowd to raise their cell phones into the air, according to the Houston Chronicle. “We’re gonna light the whole arena, this whole city up for Santa Fe High School”, he told the crowd. He also wore a “Santa Fe Strong” T-shirt.

Timberlake’s 2019 Houston stop comes on the heels of his performance at San Antonio’s AT&T Center on Saturday. Timberlake took a break from his “Man of the Woods” tour to visit with young patients at HCA Healthcare’s Methodist Children’s Hospital, reports the San Antonio Express-News.

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