Justin Timberlake Brings It on The 20/20 Experience Tour

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I am an unabashed Justin Timberlake fan. Musically, he can do no wrong. His concerts are top to bottom amazing and they are my reason for going to concerts in the first place. The first real concert I attended (and by that I mean non-Vietnamese) was the Justin Timberlake & Christina Aguilera – Justified + Stripped Tour, which also had the Black Eyed Peas as the opening act. To this day, that is still my favourite concert line-up: LOVE JT, BEP were getting popular thanks to “Where Is the Love?” and their album “Elephunk”, and this concert is what made me a Christina fan. The second time I saw Justin was during the 1st leg of the FutureSex/LoveShow Tour. The show was over 2 1/2 hours with a short intermission that consisted of Timbaland DJ-ing; in total, 3 hours+ of almost non-stop music. I mean, there was maybe a 10 minute break between the opening act (Pink) and Justin – that rarely happens these days. That show just blew my mind that I went to see it again during the 2nd leg of the tour; it is also the standard to which I judge all other concerts I go to now. Last summer, I saw Justin team-up with Jay-Z for the Legends of the Summer Tour, and though I had problems with the staging (particularly from where I was sitting), they put on such a great show – performing together, mashing-up each others’ songs – that I forgot about it and just enjoyed those 2 1/2 hours of music.

Which brings me to this past Thursday, where I got to witness The 20/20 Experience Tour in person at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto. That entire day leading up to the concert, nothing could get me down because I was just so freaking excited to see Justin do his thing, knowing that he was mixing up the old songs with tracks off his past two albums, and getting to see some amazing dancing. And seriously, as much as I love the music, I LOVE the dancing. Inexplicably, dance has always been a part of me and I have always loved it. I am not a great dancer by any means, but I’d like to think that I’m at least decent (I was a part of my high school dance crew and they must’ve had reason to keep me or even let me on in the first place). Every once in a while I’ll even find myself making up choreography in my head for songs I love, even though I have no idea what the hell I’m doing. Anyways, back to the point, I was just SO excited to see everything and man, Justin really does not disappoint. I don’t know why I say that like I’m surprised because I know I always have a good time at his concerts, but he just brings it every single time I see him.

[Of note: Justin doesn’t have an opening act for this tour, opting instead for a DJ freestyle prior to the show. It’s a shame though, especially considering he has a record label and probably should’ve used this tour as a platform for whatever artist he has on his roster.]

Justin starts off the show with Pusher Love Girl, the first track off part 1 of The 20/20 Experience album. It’s not a typical party starter song but it’s still a great song to begin the proceedings with The Tennessee Kids backing him up and the wonderful throwback groove. Part way through the song before he gets to the “interlude” part, Justin stops for dramatic effect, though after it went on for too long we knew something was up. Turns out his mic stopped working! “You broke the mic! Y’all were so loud, you broke the mic!” Justin hilariously laments after tossing the dead mic to the side. And so the show goes on.

"Y'all broke the mic!" Ahaha whoops! Sorry JT!

“Y’all broke the mic!” Ahaha whoops! Sorry JT!

After the staggered start, the rest of the show went off without a hitch as Justin made his way through new and old songs seamlessly. I’ll admit, I took a peek at the setlist beforehand so I knew Gimme What I Don’t Know was coming up next; unfortunately, it was only the intro. It’s not a GREAT song, but again, I was just really looking forward to seeing the choreography for it! Justin, how could you deny me the chance to see world class choreography from Marty Kudelka for this song? I didn’t have much time to be mad because he went right into Rock Your Body, which we can all agree is a total crowd pleaser. But you wanna know what was great for this dance-lover? What JT and his dancers did on TKO. The choreography was on point and they were giving it all to me – so completely into it.

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Four JTs are better than one?

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Justin’s verse on Jay-Z’s Holy Grail, leading into Cry Me A River was genius, and ended off the first half of show. A short 10 minute intermission later and we were back with the second half. It was a relatively low key start to the second half with Only When I Walk Away (this one did include a fair amount of lasers) and Drink You Away. The fun really amped up once Justin got into Senorita (again, a total crowd pleaser) which naturally led into Let the Groove Get In; it was here that the audience got a real treat as part of the stage got raised up and slowly moved across to the end of the arena. Justin stayed at the other end for a good 6-7 songs, and even making his way down from the breakaway stage to the mini-stage located in the bar area. Also keeping up with the dance theme, you have no idea how much I wanted to see some choreography to Groove. To be honest, I’ve been imagining a straight-up Latin Ballroom routine to this song, every time I hear it so I was invariably going to get disappointed.

The stage breaking off and heading our way!

The stage breaking off and heading our way!

Something that I hadn’t seen Justin do before during concerts, and is something that I personally love when I go see any concert, was the fact that he added some covers into the show. The man has two new albums for which he’s touring, plus two previous albums chock full of hits and crowd favourites, and he STILL put in some covers. Touching on his Memphis roots, JT covered Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel; he also did a very nice cover of Michael Jackson’s Human Nature (a music inspiration to all). And just for some added fun, we got a little Jungle Boogie and Bell Biv Divoe’s Poison (complete with awesome 80s/early 90s dancing).

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Performing from the mini-stage in the bar area.

Unfortunately, at some point, the show had to end. For the encore, Justin gave us his two biggest hits, SexyBack and Mirrors, and then it was over. Nearly 2.5 hours later, my voice was cracking from singing along all night and walking was only slightly an issue due to all the dancing. I love seeing my bands and regular singers + musicians, but just because of what I grew up on, I just completely LOVE a well-produced and well-choreographed show, and that is what this show was. From top to bottom, beginning to end, Justin Timberlake had us all in the palm of his hands, and all of us fans in the audience were more than happy to oblige, reciprocating the energy that he was putting out. Let it be known though that he also had an amazing group of people backing him up. The Tennessee Kids, his band and backup singers, were as energetic as ever trying to match the energy and enthusiasm of JT. And because I can’t say enough good things about them, the dancers are EVERYTHING; Dana Wilson, Ivan Koumaev (again, so proud of how far he’s come from SYTYCD), Nick Bass, Natalie Gilmore, Lyle Beniga, and Lindsay Richardson – just the best! I don’t know what the chances are of them doing another go-round of North America (probably not), but I sincerely hope they at least release this show on DVD so I can add it with my FutureSex/LoveShow DVD that I watch ALL THE TIME. If The 20/20 Experience Tour hits your town, go see it if you can because I promise you, you will not be disappointed.

The amazing Tennessee Kids

The amazing Tennessee Kids

The equally amazing and talented dancers

The equally amazing and talented dancers

FULL SETLIST:

  1. Pusher Love Girl
  2. Gimme What I Don’t Know (Intro)/Rock Your Body
  3. Don’t Hold the Wall
  4. FutureSex/LoveSounds
  5. Like I Love You
  6. My Love
  7. TKO
  8. Summer Love
  9. LoveStoned
  10. Until the End of Time
  11. Holy Grail/Cry Me A River
  12. Only When I Walk Away
  13. Drink You Away
  14. Tunnel Vision
  15. Senorita
  16. Let the Groove Get In
  17. That Girl
  18. Heartbreak Hotel (Elvis Presley cover)
  19. Not a Bad Thing
  20. Human Nature (Michael Jackson cover)
  21. What Goes Around…Comes Around
  22. Cabaret
  23. Take Back the Night/Jungle Boogie (Kool & the Gang cover)
  24. Murder/Poison (Bell Biv Divoe)
  25. Suit & Tie
  26. SexyBack
  27. Mirrors
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Christina Perri on Tour!

It was just a little over a year ago that Christina Perri was just an aspiring singer-songwriter, working as a waitress in a cafe in Beverly Hills. Then her song “Jar of Hearts” was featured on So You Think You Can Dance in a contemporary routine choreographed by Stacey Tookey. This song that very few people had heard of before picked up interest and started charting on Billboard and selling on iTunes. Soon enough, Christina got asked to perform the song on SYTYCD, and found herself with a record deal. It’s a music industry Cinderella story that seems to rarely happen in this day and age.

Now one year later, Christina’s released her first album, lovestrong, and has just embarked on her first headlining tour after previously opening up for singer James Blunt.

Seeing success stories like Christina’s has increased my belief in the music industry. Upon reading about Christina’s Street Team and how they were looking for volunteers at all her tour stops, I decided to jump at the opportunity to help promote Christina and her music. Personally, I think there’s nothing like discovering new music and introducing new music to others, so helping out was a no brainer. In particular, I’m helping to promote the show in Toronto (Aug. 4, Opera House – Tickets still available on Ticketmaster!) but be sure to also check out her website: www.christinaperri.com for a complete list of tour dates.

 

SYTYCD Tour 2009 – Toronto

I wanted to do this in a timely manner, so I’m taking a break from homework lol. Never done a review for a concert or anything before so forgive me if it’s short. My typical reviews usually consist of the word “Awesome” or “Great” ahaha.

So anyways, went to the Toronto stop of the SYTYCD tour last night. This is the third time I’ve gone to the tour, only having missed the second season tour (which I’m still mad about). Before the show, my friend and I actually saw Courtney Galiano from Season 4 walk by to get her tickets. We weren’t sure if it was her at first, but then realized afterwards that it was her. Met her at last year’s tour though, and she was really sweet. Onto the actual show…

1.) Started with the usual video package clip of Nigel’s most memorable moments from the worst auditioners of the past season. It was funny that he included Adam Shankman’s “audition”. I just remember Katee, Joshua, Lauren, and Comfort coming on to “judge” him ahaha

2.) Opening Number: New Group Routine choreographed by Nappytabs. Opening Group Number

Very upbeat/fun and it was nice to see a new routine this year, since we didnt get a new one last year.

3.) Brandon & Janette’s DiscoP1040118

It seriously was just as fast as it was on TV. Except no stumble this time! I’m actually surprised I managed to get a decent shot, considering how fast it was.

4.) Jeanine & Phillip’s Hip Hop – “Mad”P1040121

 

5.) Randi & Evan – The Butt DanceP1040140

It was fun seeing this one live.

6.) Janette’s SoloP1040145

Girl was fierce….that’s all I have to say. I still think she should’ve made it to Top 4 but whatever.

7.) Kayla & Jason’s BroadwayP1040162

8.) Melissa & Ade’s Pas De DeuxP1040174

It was great to see Melissa in her style. I personally didn’t really enjoy the piece originally (maybe cuz I was a little jaded/bitter about people getting their own style that week in the competition) but it was well done on tour.

9.) Kupono’s SoloP1040176

10.) So this was the start of the ongoing gag, where Jeanine & Phillip would randomly come out in their Russian Folk dance costumes and attempt to perform the routine. Kinda reminded me of Gev’s ongoing gag on last year’s tour. P1040184

11.) Caitlin & Jason’s BollywoodP1040187

12.) Evan’s SoloP1040200

13.) Top 3 Girls Superhero DanceP1040210

14.) Ade’s SoloP1040226

Love watching Ade dance. He has such a joy about him that when he dances, you can tell how much he absolutely loves it.

15.) Kayla & Kupono – The Twilight-Inspired Vampire RoutineP1040229

16.) Caitlin’s SoloP1040244

Caitlin got her solo! I guess they found 30 seconds in the show to give her a solo lol. And as Brandon & Randi said when they came out afterwards…”Finally!”

17.) Janette & Ade’s Hip Hop – “Love Sex Magic”P1040260

I have a special place in my heart for this routine…it was a fun routine but I mean, NappyTabs used a Justin Timberlake song. I’m kinda partial to Justin Timberlake lol.

18.) Kayla’s SoloP1040276

19.) Melissa & Evan’s BroadwayP1040285

I didn’t really understand why they included this routine. I mean I guess both Melissa and Evan needed this to up their routine count for the tour, but I never really liked it. Although it was worth it just to hear Janette going off in Spanish on what she’d do if her groom to be was gonna be late for their wedding ahaha

20.) Jason’s SoloP1040291

21.) Jeanine & Brandon’s Paso DobleP1040299

Such an amazing routine by Louis Van Amstel. It’s too bad he’s back on DWTS this season, meaning we won’t be getting any of his awesome choreo for Season 6. But anyways, I think I loved seeing this routine on tv more. Maybe it was the fact that we got the initial impact of it all already. Not to say that it wasn’t great live on stage, but it was like there was a little something extra missing.

22.) Our Canadian Top 10 SYTYCDers came out on stage!P1040318

23.) CALLE OCHO!!P1040335

I love this routine, what can I say.

24.) *after intermission* Group Routine – “One”P1040354

25.) Janette & Brandon’s Jazz – “Ruby Blue”P1040365

LOVED the fact that they did this routine, but for some reason, it didn’t feel the same as watching it on TV. I think it was due to the fact that they didn’t have the levels, like with using the stairs and all.

26.) Kayla & Jason’s Hip Hop – “They’re Everywhere”P1040385

27.) Randi’s SoloP1040393

28.) Kayla & Brandon’s BroadwayP1040398

29.) Phillip’s SoloP1040410

I’m agreeing with a lot of people here when I say that I don’t think it was fair that Phillip clearly got a longer solo than everybody else. Especially when he’s considered a “special guest”. He got a standing ovation from the Toronto crowd.

30.) LOL @ the shameless plug for the SYTYCD Get Fit DVDs. Kupono was so hilarious. P1040424

31.) Top 3 Boys – Willa Wonka-themed routineP1040438

32.) Melissa’s SoloP1040445

33.) The end of the Russian Folk dance skit/gagP1040449

Everyone came out in the Russian Folk dance costumes and did a full routine. It was pretty funny. Then to top it off, at the end, once everyone left the stage, Jeanine and Phillip high-fived each other, signalling like some sort of success ahaha

34.) Brandon’s SoloP1040454

Just simply AMAZING! Got a standing ovation.

35.) Kayla & Kupono’s Contemporary “Addiction” PieceP1040471

Without a doubt one of the best routines of the season. It was just so amazing to be able to witness it live.

36.) Jeanine & Jason’s Contemporary – “If It Kills Me”P1040490

I’m actually kinda surprised they didn’t save this routine until the very end, cuz so many people loved it!

37.) Janette & Brandon’s Cha Cha – “Hush Hush”P1040493

38.) Jeanine’s SoloP1040513

America’s Favourite Dancer showing why she’s there.

39.) Melissa & Ade’s Breast Cancer routineP1040526

Absolutely gorgeous and incredible. Got another standing ovation from the crowd.

40.) Jeanine & Brandon’s Pop Jazz – “Battlefield”P1040534

41.) Last group routine – “Brand New Day”P1040549

My one and only thought upon seeing this: OMG! They broke the chain! The closing number isn’t “You Can’t Stop the Beat”! (That was a good thing btw…I was kinda getting tired of seeing You Can’t Stop the Beat lol)

And with that, was the end of another successful SYTYCD tour. I wanted to meet them after the show like the past 2 years, but they weren’t gonna come out until 12:30 and it also would’ve required us to wait out in the cold. I think pretty much all of the dancers are from warmer areas of the U.S., so I really don’t see why we were forcing them out into the cold for meet and greets, when the Air Canada Centre has a perfectly sizable lobby area. But despite the fact that I didn’t get to meet them (stupid work/school), I very much enjoyed myself. Hopefully you all get a chance to see them!