Justin Timberlake returned to Nashville for an electrifying performance at Bridgestone Arena Friday night.
The show was the second time the Memphis native brought his “20/20 Experience World Tour” to Music City. He played the arena on Nov. 15 of last year during one of the tour’s first stops. This latest performance was a victory lap of sorts, as the tour is slated to come to a close on Jan. 2 in Las Vegas.
After a warm-up set from tour DJ Freestyle Steve that exposed the parents in the arena to songs like Ace Hood’s “Bugatti” and Jay Z’s “F**kWithMeYouKnowIGotIt,” Timberlake arrived on stage to the opening strings of “Pusher Love Girl,” and the night was underway.
Timberlake was backed by his full backing band The Tennessee Kids throughout the night. The group’s live instrumentation and backing vocals helped songs like “LoveStoned” and “Señorita” come alive and connect with the sold out crowd.
Even though Timberlake was rarely on stage alone, he might have well have been. Even during heavily choreographed numbers featuring multiple dancers like “Rock Your Body,” all eyes were on the singer. Timberlake’s stage presence and charisma had the audience in the palm of his hand the entire show.
The climax of the night came as JT and the Tennessee Kids went into a rendition of Garth Brooks’ “Friends in Low Places.” Just after starting, Timberlake stopped the song and said it just didn’t feel right. To the crowd’s excitement, Brooks then emerged to perform the song with Justin, as well as take a few onstage selfies.
That wouldn’t be the only cover of the night, as Kool and the Gang’s “Jungle Boogie,” “Poison” by Bell Biv Devoe and an acoustic version Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel” made their way into the setlist. Sadly, neither Kool, The Gang, Bell Biv Devoe or Elvis’s ghost were available to join Timberlake.
The night ended on the three-song high of “Suit & Tie,” “SexyBack” and “Mirrors.” The later of which served as an perfect, celebratory end to an evening with one of Tennesee’s favorite sons.
“We’ve been touring all over the world for almost two years now,” Timberlake told the audience during his performance, “but there ain’t nothing, nothing like the state of Tennessee.”
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