Out of the box

What, too fangirly for you? Try a somewhat different assessment from Trust Your Ears columnist Jackson Griffith.

The music we enjoy can vary vastly from the music we’re willing to admit that we enjoy. We call the latter our guilty pleasures and we keep them tucked away in a closet of shame. Sure, we’ll blast said tunes while alone in a car or with those who will not judge us, but we mention them in hushed tones around those we fear will think less of us for our musical transgressions. Honestly, it’s bullshit. It’s time to throw guilt to the wayside. Go ahead, scream it at the top of your lungs.

“I love Justin Timberlake!”

That was certainly the mantra on everyone’s lips last Friday when Timberlake and his FutureSex/LoveShow tour made its way to Arco Arena. A 25-year-old male can’t ask for much more than 17,000-plus adoring fans—except for maybe a double-platinum album (which he has) and a budding relationship with the über-hot Scarlett Johansson (which is rumored).

Timberlake opened the show with the title track from FutureSex/LoveSounds, which sent the audience of mostly women into a frenzy. For the next two-plus hours, Timberlake—along with three backup singers, nearly a dozen dancers and even more musicians—demonstrated his ability to shake his goods. The audience smiled with every note and subtle thrust of Timberlake’s well-tailored trousers.

Nearly every song oozed with sex appeal, not surprising given that so many of his lyrics are overtly carnal. During “Damn Girl,” Timberlake, armed with his trademark falsetto, simulated some steamy and enviable acts with several scantily clad burlesque dancers.

The highlight of the show came when mega-producer Timbaland joined Timberlake on the stage for the bounce-inducing “Chop Me Up,” which made even the most vanilla girls believe they had rhythm.

During the intermission, Timbaland took on deejay duties, playing a mix of original beats and music by Nelly Furtado, Coldplay and Aaliyah. The 15-minute set kept the audience entertained, but it was clear that only Timberlake could satisfy them.

The second half of the show featured hits including “LoveStoned/I Think She Knows,” a rock-charged version of “Cry Me a River” and, of course, the synth-driven “SexyBack.” For an encore, Timberlake came out dressed in jeans and a T-shirt—resembling the charismatic boy next door more than an international pop star. He took a seat at the piano and serenaded the audience with the soulful ballad “(Another Song) All Over Again.”

It was a profound disappointment, however, that the show ended without a performance of the Saturday Night Live skit “Dick in a box.” One fan paid homage to the skit, fashioning a wrapped gift box to his pants. As the crowd exited the arena, the impersonator perched atop a closed beer stand posing with delighted concertgoers. Still, one couldn’t help but wonder if Timberlake’s box would’ve needed to be bigger.