Justin Timberlake Comes out of the Woods in Oakland

in SF Concert Reviews by

Fans had been waiting a long time for Justin Timberlake’s rescheduled Man of the Woods tour. The singer had to postpone his initial performance back in November of last year because of some bruised vocal cords, so tonight needed to be extra special.

And surely it was. JT came back in full force at the Oracle Arena in Oakland and put on a spectacular performance from beginning to end. No detail was spared; from the elaborate and unconventional snake shaped stage to his larger than life singing/dancing crew that he calls “The Tenessee Kids,” the show was over-the-top fantastic.

The first half showcased mostly material from Timberlake’s latest album with an unforgettable funky rendition of “Midnight Summer Jam,” that could have literally set the stage on fire with all the dancing that was going on. Peppered into the mix to appease the longtime fans in attendance, he added “Suit & Tie,” “SexyBack” and “Señorita” as well as the MTV mega-hit “Cry Me a River.”

The second half of the show introduced JT’s talent on the six-string as he performed a string of songs in a camp-like setting, complete with a burning fire and red flannel blankets. It was truly something unique and a setup that I’d never seen before. When the audience pulled out their cell phone lights it added a starry sky to an already intimate scene.

A disappointment of the evening included no sign of any NSYNC songs. I was expecting at the very least a taste of “Bye, Bye, Bye,” but no dice. Who knows, maybe he’s saving it for a full-fledged reunion of the boy band at this point. It wouldn’t come as a surprise considering that he is getting older and the relevancy factor is bound to come into play at some point. It happens to even the best of them.

The show closed with the JT’s hit “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” and for many of us leaving the arena, that feeling was glee, and it was hard to shake off.

Photos by Louis Raphael

An avid drummer whose discography includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After many years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for Examiner.com and AXS.com, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.

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