The Legends the of Summer feat. Justin Timberlake and Jay Z
“West Coast, are y'all ready for a legendary evening?!” exclaimed Justin Timberlake. “You all ready to party, Rose Bowl?” Jay Z asked to thunderous cheers.
Indeed they were.
For one night only, the self-anointed Legends of the Samsung, er Summer, took over the Rose Bowl in Pasadena. The show was every bit as exciting as 2013 has been for both performers.
Beginning with Timberlake's “Suit & Tie” back in February and more recently, Jay Z's “Holy Grail” the duo set the stage for what is easily the summer's most ambitious tour and easily, the biggest spectacle. Seeing how both of them are comfortably aware of their status in the pop music world, no one should have been all too surprised that they'd be taking on an undertaking like this tour to flex their muscles and showcase the best bromance of 2013.
Whether it's due to brand recognition, their fans' goodwill or whatever, both of their albums have been among the year's top sellers. When Timberlake and the svelte, leather Brooklyn Nets hat wearing (to the chagrin of this Knicks fan) Mr. Carter announced they were going to be hitting some of the largest stadiums, not arenas, in the country, some wondered if they'd be up to the task.
Hitting the gigantic red stage just before dusk, the two megastars shared the stage for much of the night. Their frequent collaborations on each other's songs not only made for memorable moments, but also showed how talented two very different artists are. Outside of two solo mini-sets, the two were on-stage together for about two-thirds of the night, which provided memorable collaborations that showed when two superstars can work together without their egos getting in the way (remember the Jay Z/R. Kelly tour anyone?), the result can be special.
Timberlake handled the Pharrell duties on “I Just Wanna Love U (Give It 2 Me)” and Jay helped on “Rock Your Body.” Timberlake frequently bounced between guitar and piano on other Jay Z songs, proving not only to be a great backing singer for Jay, but a multi-talented musician in his own right.
Watching them glide across the stage effortlessly, in Timberlake's case showing off his array of dance moves and Jay moving with a rugged swagger, the two didn't appear overwhelmed by the granddaddy of all stadiums on this tour. In fact, they seemed to welcome the spotlight.
Unlike other big ticket shows that are all about sizzle and lack substance, the foundation of the show wasn't built on lights nor huge projection screens though they were both prominently featured. Instead, the music was the centerpiece of the show. Jay Z played most of his hits (though the songs from Magna Carta, Holy Grail were pretty meh and were boring compared with everything else), he also threw in strong political moments during “Public Service Announcement” and like on the set closer “Young Forever” when they paid tribute to Trayvon Martin.
Taking into account Timberlake's long layoff to do film work, his show was even more impressive. Though I could have done without his rendition of Frank Sinatra's “New York, New York” before “Empire State of Mind,” Timberlake for the most part put on one of the most impressive performance that one guy can do in a single show. His voice was in peak form. He told fans before “Until the End of Time” to grab their lovers, gay or straight, which elicited a loud cheer and segued well into his first solo hit, “Cry Me a River.” On “Sexyback,” he even brought up old pal Timbaland on-stage as a special guest, calling the iconic producer his big brother.
The name Legends of the Summer meant that JT and Jay Z would have to do a lot to back up their billing. On this night, they reaffirmed showed that the rest of pop music has a lot to do if it plans on catching up to them.
Random Notebook Dump: Getting a wristband to get on the floor was handled in the worst possible way imaginable. Promoters should be very fortunate there wasn't a riot. Even Urkel was up in arms over how shitty the wristband handout was. Don't mess with him.