Justin Timberlake delivers fiery, first-rate show

2014-02-17T15:00:00Z 2014-02-17T18:25:19Z Justin Timberlake delivers fiery, first-rate showEloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

No one can accuse Justin Timberlake of not giving his all in concert. The Grammy-winning singer exudes a real passion for performance that not many other artists demonstrate.

Timberlake delivered a 2 1/2-hour show featuring sleek, finely-tuned choreography, skilled vocals and innovative multimedia elements on Sunday at Chicago's United Center. He has another concert scheduled at 8 p.m. tonight.

Touring in support of his hit "The 20/20 Experience" Albums 1 and 2, Timberlake's The 20/20 Experience World Tour starred a blend of tunes from the new albums as well as the CD's "FutureSex/LoveSounds" and "Justified" with a few surprises mixed in.

Timberlake's musical/theatrical extravaganza began at 9 p.m. with the tune "Pusher Love Girl" and proceeded with "Rock Your Body" as the singer fervently executed polished moves with his team of back-up dancers.

Whether he's singing (and hitting his trademark high notes), dancing or playing the piano or guitar, Timberlake scores high marks in all departments.

The performer's set proved fascinating with larger than life images flashing across the backdrop and assorted multimedia features. One particularly interesting feature was the front segment of the stage that jutted out and was then lifted above the audience and moved across the arena above the crowd. It was quite the innovative stage set-up that proved the perfect vehicle for Timberlake's splashy moves. 

In addition, Timberlake's band The Tennessee Kids were a highly-charged bunch with non-stop energy.

On the set-list were a blend of Timberlake's hit dance numbers and ballads including "Like I Love You," Summer Love," "Cry Me A River,"  "Senorita," "Drink You Away,"  "Murder" and "Take Back the Night."

The singer, a Tennessee native, regularly talked to his audience and made a point of telling fans how fond he was of Chicago.

"I'll love Memphis 'til I die, but this is my favorite city in the world. I love Chicago," he shouted.

As he looked around the United Center, Timberlake said, "This is to Number 23 (referencing Michael Jordan).; This is to Ferris (Bueller).; This is to the best hot dogs in the world.; This is to the best pizza in the world."

With a nod to past notable artists, Timberlake performed "Heartbreak Hotel" in tribute to Elvis and quipped "Well, I hail from Memphis, Tenn."). He also sang Michael Jackson's "Human Nature" and snippets of Kool and the Gang's "Jungle Boogie," Gloria Estefan's "Rhythm Is Gonna Get You," and "Poison" by Bell Biv Devoe.

Timberlake's musical party ended with spirited performances of "Suit and Tie," "Sexy Back," and "Mirrors." Thumbs up to Timberlake for not only knowing how to entertain his audience but caring enough to deliver quality on all production levels.

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