The 20/20 Experience: No beatboxing or cornrows

Justin Timberlake isn’t that curly haired, white track suit wearing, “Bye Bye Bye” singing, Britney Spears dating boy from Memphis, Tennessee anymore. Obviously he doesn’t look like that anymore (thank goodness. I couldn’t deal with the perfect curls and cornrows and neither could he, he has said he went to therapy to repress the memories), but it’s something hard to ignore when we hear his annoyng speaking voice in movies like The Social Network and Friends with Benefits. When Mr. JT performs, he’s more suave like Michael Bublé and less pop star like, let’s say, former boy band mate JC Chasez, for lack of a better person, with a little sprinkle of Boys II Men. I would know, as I had the pleasure of attending the first of two 20/20 Experience shows in Toronto on Thursday, February 13.


When I first purchased The 20/20 Experience album, I was obsessed. “That Girl,” and “Dress On” made me feel like I was in a jazz bar with Justin Timberlake telling me he loved me only a few metres away and “Let the Groove Get In” made me freakin’ dance (“Shake! Like you know you got something to prove, lil mama”)! So, when my partner got me two tickets to see the sleek mister (“No one there to catch us, like when you fell from heaven that day, babe”), one could only imagine my excitement.

Justin Timberlake at his ’20/20 Experience Tour’ in Pittsburgh (via:
Justin Timberlake at his ’20/20 Experience Tour’ in Pittsburgh (via:

Justin opened his show with “Pusher Love Girl” and played for a total of two-and-a-half hours, basically blowing my mind. I was expecting The 20/20 Experience to be more like a really fast chick flick, possibly because of JT’s presence in (dirty) pop music. I wasn’t expecting the handsome, suit-wearing, fast-feeting fellow to actually sing for an hour-and-15-minutes straight, breathe for only a 10-minute intermission (which he called a “beer break”) and then return to sing for another hour-and-15. I won’t tell you what his encore was (it’s not that hard to guess), but the man allegedly responsible for breaking Britney Spears’ heart back in the day literally did not stop dancing, did not stop serenading the crowd and did not stop making Toronto feel like number one.

Though there was a lot of Timbaland audio in the background (duh) and hopes were broken as Jay Z didn’t appear for “Holy Grail,” I was almost brought to tears as Justin performed tribute songs to Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson (encouraging the audience to, “Sing louder so he can hear”), played “Cry Me a River” with so much angst and energy (I was brought back to the days of when the video first came out) and he played “What Goes Around” on an acoustic guitar. Yes, “Justin can play guitar?” did cross my mind.

Timb (-erlake not -aland) also made reference to how bleeping cold it has been in Toronto recently (imagine he was in town a few weeks ago when it felt like -30?), and then immediately apologized for swearing like the classy man he is, dress pants still on and everything. Speaking of dress pants, I also couldn’t help but think of how uncomfortable I’d be up there performing in a (“I be on my”) suit and tie. Heck! I think I’d even be uncomfortable in a dress! JT rocked his outfit, shook his bon bon and (though I was sitting quite far), didn’t appear to over-sweat. He even stopped to crash a selfie with a lucky fan (or so he said he was). And, he also sang “Like I Love You,” only the best JT song ever, minus the awful bandana in the music video (though I did really dig his 711 shirt).

I think it’s fair to say that at 33-years-old, Jessica Biel’s husband has grown up as his fans have, too. Yet, he still knows how to please the ladies (and even gents) who crave a taste of JT’s early solo career, though there wasn’t any beatboxing at Thursdays show, which I’m sure no one had a problem with.

Thank you, Justin, for keeping it classy.

Have you ever gone to a concert and left with your expectations blown out of the water?



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