Sings, Dances And Wows A Sold-Out
Quicken Loans Arena
April 2, 2018
Justin Timberlake brought his Man In The Woods Tour to a jam-packed Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night and the man had everyone dancing in their seats for two hours.
Coming off a so-so Super Bowl halftime performance, the former Mouseketeer amped up his game and put on a heck of a show that commanded your attention.
Starting from the big stage at the end of the arena that held his fifteen-piece backing band and a variety of background dancers, Timberlake made great use of the catwalk, which was adorned with trees, that snaked its way to a small circular center stage in the middle of the floor. That was connected to yet another catwalk that meandered to the end of the arena that held a smaller stage.
This unique staging allowed several people the opportunity to get a front row seat. Especially those who were near the center stage where Timberlake actually had two full service bars set up for those patrons who were willing to indulge.
Opening the show with “Filthy,” JT and his backup dancers danced and shimmied on the main backlit stage. However, on the second song, “Midnight Summer Jam,” he and his crew made their way down the curved catwalk that they would use throughout the show.
Timberlake can not only sing and dance, but the man can play a few instruments as well. Early in the show, when he was playing the piano, he and the entire band rotated to the fans seated behind the stage and played a song for them so they to felt like they had an up close seat.
Throughout the show, Justin would shout out “Cleveland” or “Ohio” or “The Land!” but it actually seemed genuine as the crowd responded enthusiastically every time he did it.
He mentioned that he had been in town for a couple of days and he appreciated how the city welcomed him and his crew. He said that he went to the Cavs game last night and said that we needed to celebrate after the win.
Lebron James then appeared on stage with a tray full of shots that he gave to each member of the band. Timberlake said, “I’ve known this guy for a long time! He’s one in a billion, and I’m not just talking about basketball! Were talking about really, really, really good people. Tonight, let me put one up for my brother, Mr. Lebron James!”
The middle of the set saw two of his biggest hits played back to back, “Cry Me A River” and “Mirrors" which became a huge sing-a-long.
JT said that back home they used to sit around a fire and tell stories and sing songs. So a makeshift fire pit, with real fire, was started at the smaller stage at the end of the arena and members of his band and backup singers sat around on logs and played some acoustic songs.
This allowed his backup singers to take the spotlight and sing lead while Justin played an acoustic guitar. The songs played were Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams,” Lauren Hill’s “Ex-Factor,” “Come Together” by the Beatles and John Denver’s “Thank God I’m A Country Boy.”
Things picked back up with “What Goes Around...Comes Around” and “Summer Love.”
Towards the end of the set, Timberlake and some dancers made their way to the floor where a disco dance floor, straight out of Saturday Night Fever , appeared as they boogied down to “Rock Your Body.”
The show ended with Timberlake’s feel-good, number one smash “Can’t Stop The Feeling!,” leaving the Cleveland fans exhausted but satisfied.
The Shadowboxers opened the show with some great pop music of their own. The Atlanta-based band recently released their third EP entitled Apollo. Their seven-song set featured lead vocals by three different band members and every member of the group played their own instruments. Besides playing six original tunes, the band played a great cover of Michael Jackson’s “Remember The Time.”
Be on the lookout for these gentlemen.
Review and Photos by Greg Drugan