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July 18th, 2013
In the midst of a heat alert in the city, 40,000 of the most devoted Justin Timberlake and Jay Z fans voluntarily filed into the enclosed Skydome to watch two of music’s biggest names kick off one of the season’s biggest tours. With the venue feeling like one big sauna, these were definitely some loyal and eager fans, and thankfully the pair delivered a show worthy of every bullet of sweat that shot out of our bodies.
After the success of Timberlake’s comeback single, Suit & Tie, featuring the veteran rapper, it came as no surprise that the two would tour together, utilizing each other’s strengths to weave together a setlist worthy of the hefty price tags on the tickets. Furthermore, Jay Z’s latest release, Magna Carta Holy Grail includes another collaboration between the two stars, which was incidentally what the show started with last night. That’s just where the intertwining performances began, though.
Slicing up and mashing together songs from their respective catalogues, it was clear that Timberlake and Jay Z had carefully crafted their two and a half hour set. Transitions from songs like I Just Wanna Love You (Give It to Me) into Rock Your Body were interesting to see, but with this being their first stop of the tour, it’s clear that kinks still need to be smoothed out. We can only imagine how flawless transitions will get with time, but we’ll forgive them for now. After all, we were also trying to smooth out all the sweat off our foreheads between songs.
The set was clearly heavy on the Timberlake material, which we honestly didn’t mind, but we did want a bit more balance between the two. The two were at their best when they took centre stage solo. The more hectic the stage was – with a 14-piece band and four back-up singers already up there with them – the more things felt too crowded, but that’s not to say Suit & Tie and even stadium hit, Empire State of Mind (featuring Timberlake flexing his best Frank Sinatra croon) didn’t blow audiences away.
All that aside, though, what mattered most was that the show was a fun affair jammed with hits. Good times were had by both the concertgoers and the artists and through the haze of heat, everyone abandoned all inhibitions and just made the most out of an extraordinary experience (the venue, the big pop stars, the thousands of fans who whipped out their phones as lighters during closing number, Forever Young). This is a show that’s just getting started and we can’t wait to see what it develops and grows into. As it is right now, their show last night was ‘legend’…but, we’re still waiting for the ‘dary’.
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