The uncomplicated beatitude that shines through Justin Timberlake's legion of fans is sorta singular.
When our Man of the Woods stepped onto Moda Center's stage Feb. 18, the entire crowd let loose with the roar of a thousand, slightly menthol-damaged jet engines. Still, it seemed like not a damned one had heard his newest album, last year's Man of the Woods. They were supportive of his new material, but fans of JT aren't nearly so shallow as to only—or even primarily—enjoy his music. In part, that reflects his sterling brand management and none-bettered charisma, but would JT define himself as a musician first and foremost?
His Moda Center show was, in most ways that matter, a dance performance. On an expanse of eerily luminescent platforms extending the length of the arena, Timberlake led his retinue through playful nods to influences past—The Time, Rhythm Nation—and futuristic. He prowled the stage with a trio of backup dancers who seamlessly shifted shapes toward reptilian posture or mimicked Timberlake movements from just before and moments afterward.
The concert felt considerably more intimate than the explosive effects and narrative-building of his contemporaries. But that undersells the constant movement of JT and crew. Timberlake's movements and his sweaty, pleasantly bristling effort kept the audience rapt through the duration of his impressive songbook. Rivers were cried. Sexy was returned.