Justin Timberlake @ American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX

Words and photos by Scott Rowe
It's a rare thing for an artist to sell out an arena the size of the American Airlines Center.  It's a rarer thing for an artist to play a two-night stand at a venue of this size (except if you're Garth Brooks).  But Justin Timberlake is no typical artist.  He's one-fifth of one of the most influential and popular boy bands to ever exist.  He's taken his solo career to unbelievable heights, selling millions of albums, creating countless hits, and selling out tour after tour .  He's also graced the big screen in several high-profile roles, been the voice of a Troll, and he is also the face of Bai Drinks.  So, maybe it's not such a surprise that his two-night stand at that the AAC were sold out.  Maybe it was more of a surprise that he didn't schedule more shows.

The demographic of the show was an interesting mix, where the term 'all ages' was as literal as it gets.  Sitting at the media area, we determined that the youngest crowd (and their parents) arrived earlier, entering the arena when the doors opened or shortly thereafter.  The young adults soon followed with the older demographic to show up the latest, knowing full well to pre-game before arriving to the venue and arriving just before JT takes the stage.  But before JT took the stage, Atlanta's The Shadowboxers opened the show with a admirable performance of rock-pop music.  A good exposure for them, as artists opening for huge shows will gain lots of new fans and will take that momentum into their own tour.

As the smaller, or 'Campfire' stage, was cleared, the anticipation for Timberlake's arrival was clear and present.  The discussion and banter of the crowd turned to a constant hum throughout the arena, until the house lights dimmed and the American Airlines Center came alive.  The production for this show was nothing short of spectacular.  If you were on the floor, you didn't get the scope of how massive the stage setup was.  From the plaza level on up, you could see the arena-length winding stage, with the drummers firmly cemented at a common end stage.  Timberlake emerged from a cloud of smoke at the end stage, standing firmly in front of thousands of his fans, met with a thunderous wave of screams.  He and the Tennessee Kids, his musicians, dancers, and backup vocalists, jumped into the opening "Filthy", the EDM-tinged single from his latest effort and the namesake of the tour, The Man of the Woods.  As JT roamed the winding stage, his dancers followed him as if he were the Pied Piper himself, stopping to add a jolt of choreography before marching on with Timberlake to the end and back.

The initial set of songs were a mix of hits that would have satisfied any JT fan, including "Sexy Back", "Senorita", "Suit & Tie", "My Love", "Cry Me a River", and "Mirrors".  Timberlake showed off his production skills during "My Love", opening the song by playing pieces of the track via his drum machine/sampler, something you're more likely to see Daft Punk do during a performance.  While the first dozen songs were a whirlwind, including a visit by Dirk Nowitzki, a trip to the Campfire stage settled down the mood and definitely slowed the pace of the show.  I won't say it was a bad move, but it did come off as a little boring, but it did give Timberlake a chance to showcase his Americana-inspired songs and also gave each of his backing vocalists a time to shine, as each performed portions of a famous song for the audience.

It didn't take long for the excitement to pick back up, as JT and the Tennessee Kids performed an acoustic version of "What Goes Around...Comes Around" which led to a rousing version of his second single from The Man of the Woods, "Say Something".  From there, it was a sprint to the finish with a trio of hits, "Summer Love", "Rock Your Body", and "Like I Love You".  But the show wouldn't be complete without one of, if not his biggest, hits, the radio-scorching "Can't Stop the Feeling!" from the Trolls soundtrack.  With a show that has so many highs, it's crazy to think that with all of the energy spent on Sunday, that Timberlake and crew would be repeating itself on Memorial Day Monday.  It was a fantastic show, one that has something for all music fans.  Can't wait for him to come back in January.

Photos of the show are below:

Justin Timberlake @ American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX Justin Timberlake @ American Airlines Center, Dallas, TX Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on May 29, 2018 Rating: 5
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