By Mark Tepsic
Justin Timberlake returned to Nashville, TN to perform to a sold-out crowd at Bridgestone Arena. The audience gave a very warm and enthusiastic welcome to one of their favourite residents.
Kicking off the evening was the breakout pop band The Shadowboxers. This group was discovered by Justin Timberlake and is signed to one of his labels. The trio sounded really great, and their dance/music style really provided a great warm up for the main act.
Typical for arena shows, I was only able to shoot the first three songs. The images from the show you see here come from the performances of "Filthy, Midnight Summer Jam, and LoveStoned". The stage extended from the traditional setup from the main floor of the arena all way to the very back. Justin and many accompanying dancers travelled back and forth along the stage to make sure everyone had a great view of the performance.
There were three different sets throughout the show; The Opening Set, Campfire Set, and Closing Set. During the opening set, some of Justin's most popular songs such as "SexyBack, My Love, Cry Me a River, and Mirrors (one of my favorite JT songs) were performed.
During the campfire set, Justin and accompanying vocalists from the band performed a few covers that were well-received by the crowd, including Dreams by Fleetwood Mac, Ex-Factor by Lauryn Hill, Come Together by The Beatles, and "Thank God I’m A Country Boy" by John Denver.
The closing set featured some other hits such as an acoustic version of "What Goes Around… Comes Around, Rock Your Body, Like I Love You".
The Bridgestone crowd was really pumped up for Justin, but with chants of “Smashville!” and “Let’s Go Preds”, you knew it was still playoff season for the NHL, and the Nashville Predators would face the Winnipeg Jets in a series-deciding Game 7 contest the next evening in the same building. At one point Justin revealed a yellow Predators towel and waved it to the audience asking, “Can we get this win tomorrow night??”. (Unfortunately, the Predators lost that game and have been eliminated from playoffs).
One of the surprise highlights of the night happened when local country superstar Chris Stapleton came out on stage and sang a couple of songs with Justin. They began with Justin’s song Say Something, which Chris Stapleton is featured on the recorded track, but as Justin admitted he couldn’t let the crowd leave without playing another song, this time a Chris Stapleton song, entitled "Tennessee Whiskey" which they have performed together on stage in the past.
Justin’s incredible dancing and energy carried through the entire night, which ended appropriately with: "Can’t Stop the Feeling!"