Only Justin Timberlake could bring the biggest names in music together for one night.
«I brought ‘em out tonight,» the 28-year-old superstar told the crowd at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. The Justin Timberlake and Friends concert featured Alicia Keys, Taylor Swift, Timbaland, TLC, Snoop Dogg, Ciara and Jay Sean and benefited Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Timberlake wore his signature hat, blazer and button-down flannel and opened the show with a funky blues rendition of «FutureSex/LoveSounds.» He played emcee for the night and shared the mic with Ciara and later Snoop Dogg. The pop crooner also rocked out with Timbaland for his entire set. The two performed a new track that could be on Timbaland’s upcoming album «Shock Value 2.»
Justin wrapped the three-hour show with a memorable set of his own. The Grammy winner mashed-up Kings of Leon’s «Use Somebody» with his 2002 hit «Cry Me a River.» Earlier this summer, Timberlake was spotted at the Kings of Leon concert in L.A. and recently told «Extra» he can’t stop listening on his iPod to his fellow Tennessee-natives. Justin will also appear on the upcoming Kings of Leon remix album that also features interpretations from Linkin Park and Pharrell Williams.
The sexy singer was ready to call it a night after he tickled the ivories for «What Goes Around…/…Comes Around» but he played one more song and surprised the audience with a freestyle version of «Until the End of Time» for the couples in the crowd. «There are a lot of haters, but are there any lovers out there?» Justin asked the crowd.
Timberlake’s incredible talent, impromptu dance moves and lovable personality rocked the Las Vegas strip and raised close to $1 million for charity.
LAS VEGAS — When it comes to attracting big names for charity, Justin Timberlake has no trouble. Saturday night in Las Vegas saw the wide reach of JT’s star power, with a diverse lineup of artists from Snoop Dogg to Taylor Swift taking part in his second annual Justin Timberlake & Friends Concert, benefiting Shriners Hospitals for Children at Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino. While last year’s show boasted many onstage collaborations, Justin had high hopes for this year’s event — which included the aforementioned Doggfather and country queen, plus Alicia Keys, TLC, Timbaland, Ciara and Jay Sean.
«There were a lot of acts this year that weren’t able to get here till today, so there weren’t as many collabs as I had in my brain,» Timberlake told MTV News during rehearsals. «But I think that’s always the case, it’s kind of like [when] you do an album and you write, like, 40 songs, and then 12 of them make it. … But still, just having everyone out and getting to see them do their set — there are a couple of things that have never been performed onstage. There’s a new song from [Timbaland] tonight, from his record that we did together. I think Snoop’s doing a new song from his new record. So it’s kinda cool for them too, because it’s like perfect test marketing.»
The night saw Justin wearing many hats (including a fedora) — acting as emcee, performer and maestro. He even kept the crowd updated with the Yankees/Angels score in between sets. But the fans were there for music, and they sure got their money’s worth.
Jay Sean kicked off the night’s performances, accompanied by U.K. beatbox champion MC Zani. The duo took a different take on the British singer’s current hit, «Down,» starting off with a beatbox intro and acoustic guitar, until launching into a full version of the song with Justin’s band — which served as the house band for the whole evening.
Next up was Taylor Swift, and Justin assured everyone that there would be no Kanye-style stage crashing on his watch. «Don’t worry, guys, I got security on the sides, so no one can come up and ruin her set,» Timberlake told the crowd.
As soon as Swift hit the opening notes of «You Belong With Me,» she had the crowd on their feet. Her raucous set was full of hair tosses and hip swings, impressive for the silver dress she performed in, dripping with what looked like diamonds. Her set got even more dazzling when she strapped on a shimmery acoustic guitar for «Love Story.»
Justin introduced the next artist as «one of the greatest musicians of my generation.» Alicia Keys then strutted across the stage in a stunning pair of red pumps, and took a seat at her piano to belt out «Doesn’t Mean Anything.» After the song, Alicia addressed the crowd.
«I wanna tell you a little about myself, where I’m from,» she said, launching into the hook from «Empire State of Mind» then going right into «Fallin’,» which sounded even more impressive with the house band’s backup singers. The Mandalay Bay Events Center could barely contain the energy.
For the next performance, JT told the crowd, «Ladies and gentlemen, asses up, give it up for the one and only, legendary T-L-C!» Tionne «T-Boz» Watkins and Rozanda «Chilli» Thomas’ first performance in six years sent the crowd into a frenzy, as the duo tore through a barrage of hits — «FanMail,» «Ain’t 2 Proud 2 Beg,» «What About Your Friends,» «Baby Baby Baby,» «Creep,» «Waterfalls» and «No Scrubs.» While founding member Lisa «Left Eye» Lopes is no longer with us, her presence was still in the room as her vocals were filled in by live performance footage on the screen.
The next performance brought the night’s first on-stage collaboration. After Justin got the crowd moving to «Señorita,» he welcomed Ciara onstage for «Love Sex Magic.» The crowd stayed on their feet for the rest of Ciara’s set — «Goodies» and «1, 2 Step.»
Next up was Snoop Dogg, who performed «Drop It Like It’s Hot,» «What’s My Name» and new single «Gangsta Love.» Continuing the night’s collaborations, Snoop told the crowd, «Since my homeboy Justin asked me to come out here tonight, I’m gonna ask him to come out right now.» The guys broke into «Signs,» doing a little two-step action.
Justin took the reins, jumping into a medly of «Summer» and «Chop Me Up,» with Timbaland coming out to do his verse on «Chop.» Tim stayed on stage for «Give It to Me,» which had girls spilling into the aisles to dance. The duo then broke into the brand-new song that Justin had promised, the title of which they never announced. It features an anthemic chorus with the lyrics «Turn me on now» and a breakdown that repeats «What’s your name?/ What’s your number?/ I’m glad I came, so you can take my order.»
Two hours into the show, it was time for Justin to take over. JT launched into an acrobatic mash-up of hits — both his and other artists’. It started with an acoustic rendition of «Like I Love You,» then transitioned to Nirvana’s «Smells Like Teen Spirit» during the «Like I Love You» chorus. Next was Kings of Leon’s «Use Somebody,» mixed with the lyrics of «Cry Me a River,» then going back to the KOL chorus. «Lovestoned» followed, blended with Coldplay’s «Viva la Vida.»
The night seemingly was coming to an end as Justin sat down at a piano for a heartfelt performance of «What Goes Around … /… Comes Around,» but although he announced it was his last song, he changed his mind.
«I’m in the mood,» he told the Vegas crowd. He shouted to his band to freestyle on the next song, and they settled on «Until the End of Time.»
The show ended just shy of midnight, capping off another successful year for Justin and his charity. Honors are especially due for Justin’s bandmembers, who spent nearly three hours on stage backing up the night’s performers.
Justin Timberlake had a few friends over Saturday night to play some music at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.
Naturally, there was more to Saturday night’s get-together than a jam session: It was a star-studded and high-profile party for 8,000.
«An Evening with Justin Timberlake and Friends» marked the end of the singer’s weeklong namesake charity golf tournament and further supported the Shriners Hospitals for Children.
Timberlake invited eight so-called «friends» to join him onstage: Snoop Dogg, Taylor Swift, Alicia Keys, TLC, Timbaland, Ciara and Jay Sean.
He invited a whole different group of so-called friends last year — including current rumored love interest, Rihanna, as well as the Jonas Brothers, Will.i.am, Adam Levine, and 50 Cent – but apparently none of the 2008 friends were invited back.
None of his former Mouseketeers (ex-girlfriend Britney Spears, former ‘N Sync bandmate JC Chasez or Christina Aguilera) were invited, either – though Timberlake was spotted hanging out with his former boyband brother, Chris Kirkpatrick, at LAX on Thursday.
It all begs the question: What, exactly, is friendship in the music business? And what does it take to be Justin Timberlake’s friend?
For Ciara, it’s about mixing business with pleasure.
«We happen to share one of the same managers,» she said.
The songbird first met Timberlake «two or three» years ago at one of her concerts.
«It was very brief, backstage,» she recalled. «I had a song out called ‘Promise’ and I remember him telling me how much he loved that record and the melodies.»
«I met his mom and family, as well,» she added – though she couldn’t remember any of their names Saturday when she was asked.
«In a sense he’s a friend from afar,» she shrugged. «It’s not so much of an everyday, talk-on-the-phone, you know, kind of friendship or whatever. … He’s really like my brother in music. I know if I needed to reach him for advice or ask him something or, you know, call him and ask him to listen to something.»
Ciara noted that she knows fellow Timberlake and Friends performer Snoop Dogg far better.
«I’ve met him several times,» she said. «Snoop’s awesome.»
«I’ve been on one of his shows that he did for MTV,» she added, referencing «Dogg After Dark.»
«We did an (Adidas) event with David Beckham together. … That was the most recent,» she continued. «We took pictures. He’s always so fun.»
Ciara said she knows Tionne «T-Boz» Watkins of TLC better than Timberlake, too.
«I met her through one of our mutual friends, actually. We’ll run into each other now and then,» she said. «I’ve known her, probably, for two years. (When) she was doing soundcheck, I wanted to run back by and see her really fast, and just wave at her and say ‘hi.'»
«Ciara’s from Atlanta, she’s an A-town girl,» Watkins acknowledged.
«We’re really cool with Alicia Keys,» Watkins’ bandmate, Rozonda «Chilli» Thomas, said. «We did work with her for the BET Awards.»
The two surviving members of the former threesome said they have known Timberlake since his ‘N Sync days.
The women knew everyone on Saturday night’s bill except for two people.
«I’m looking forward to meeting Taylor Swift,» Thomas said.
«Yeah, I’ve never met Taylor Swift or Jay Sean,» Watkins said. «Those are the only two we don’t know.»
Sean said he wasn’t close friends with a lot – OK, any – of the artists Timberlake hand-selected for Saturday night’s show.
«I’m from England; we really don’t bump into (celebrities on the street) that often,» he said.
«In the music industry, you bump into people all the time but you don’t really get a chance to vibe,» he said. «I bumped into Ciara before, in L.A., … a couple of months ago at this party at Nobu. … Snoop Dogg I haven’t met before, TLC I haven’t met, Taylor (Swift) I haven’t met.»
In fact, he didn’t really know Timberlake before this weekend.
«We’re very new friends,» he laughed. «This is the first time I’ve really met him and got to engage with him.»
The two bumped into each other at sound check on Friday.
«We’re friends now,» he smiled.
«I need him to teach me how to play golf. I’m very bad, I’m very bad,» he joked. «And I want him to teach me some dance moves.»
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