Justin Timberlake – FutureSex/LoveSounds in Edmonton

Around this time last night I was at Rexall Place to see Justin Timberlake. I was so excited for the concert! Jane, Megan and I got tickets the moment they went on sale months ago, which was good because it sold out almost immediately. We ended up selling two, and Jane’s friend Sarah came so there was four of us in all. That’s right, three gals and one guy. Fairly representative of the audience I’d say – there were far more women than men. Age was much more distributed though.

The place was absolutely packed! And keep in mind this was a concert-in-the-round, which means all 16,000+ seats were filled. Ours were really good, and Jane’s camera worked pretty well in the dark, so here’s a decent shot that she snapped:

This is probably the biggest concert I’ve ever been to, and it was nothing if not a spectacle. Velvet Revolver was quite the show as well, but even it was nothing compared to JT. The lights, stage, screens, smoke, dancers, instruments, everything, it was just awesome. I was really impressed. The one thing that surprised me was how adult-oriented the show was. I remember seeing a few younger kids with their parents, and I’m sure the parents weren’t thrilled with the mostly naked dancers or the heavy gyrating and sexually suggestive dancing.

I think one of the reasons the concert was so good was the venue. As hockey fans will know, Rexall Place is fairly unique. Justin remarked that Edmonton was the loudest crowd of the tour, and even if he was just saying that at first, the resulting noise would have made it true. It was LOUD! Seeing thousands of cameras flash at once was pretty neat, as was seeing thousands of cell phones swaying for the ballad. I really can’t imagine a new hockey arena being any better than Rexall Place…anyway, back to the concert.

I would have been happy if Justin had only sung “What Goes Around…” and called it a night, but fortunately he sang quite a few songs. I particularly liked his rendition of “LoveStoned”. And for the “intermission” there was a special guest – Timbaland! I had heard he wasn’t going to be there, so it was definitely a surprise to see him join JT on stage. He did a number of popular songs like Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” and a few Nelly Furtado songs, and he did the obligatory Aaliyah tribute. He also performed his popular single, “The Way I Are”.

One of the songs Timbaland used in his mix was Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” and it really stuck out for me. I think it’s because Justin incorporates a lot of what made MJ successful into his show. Lots of dancing? Check. Fancy footwork? Check. Distinct fashion? Check. Fedora hat? Check. Falsetto? Check. Crotch grab? Check. One needs to be careful when making comparisons to Michael Jackson, and I’m not saying that JT is the new MJ, but I do think he’s smart for adopting some of the trademark aspects of Jackson’s performances.

Justin came back to perform “(Another Song) All Over Again” for the encore, and as he was finishing, a young woman appeared out of nowhere on stage. The security guard looked like he was going to tackle her (how did she sneak by in the first place?) but Justin stuck up his hand, and proceeded to handle the situation extremely well. He got her to help finish the song, but also took the opportunity to call her crazy and tell her “you scared the shit out of me, you know that right?” Heh.

All the dancers, musicians, and backup singers joined JT on stage at the very end for a big group bow which I thought was kinda cool. Then left alone on stage, Justin ran from side to side and waved to the crowd. Much better than some shows I’ve been to, where the performer just disappears.

I had a great time, and I’d wouldn’t hesitate if I got the chance to see JT in concert again!

UPDATE: For those of you with Facebook, this video that Jane uploaded of JT dancing during “My Love” is pretty wicked.

REVIEW: Good Girl Gone Bad – Rihanna

Post ImageCan you believe it has only been two years since Rihanna released her first album? It was August 2005 when Music of the Sun hit store shelves. I reviewed that album, and wasn’t incredibly impressed. In April 2006 she released her second album, A Girl Like Me. I didn’t review it, but I did like it much better than the first. It spawned more singles than the first album too, such as the incredibly catchy track SOS.

Now Rihanna is back with a third album. Released on June 5th, Good Girl Gone Bad (wikipedia) has already reached #1 in Canada and #2 in the United States. Most reviews have been positive, as they should be – the album kicks ass!

You may recall that I was “completely addicted” to Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds last year (still am, looking forward to the concert in August too). I shouldn’t be surprised then that I love Rihanna’s new album, as Timbaland produced three of the songs, and Timberlake co-wrote and provided backing vocals on one of them. Other collaborators include Jay-Z and Ne-Yo.

To say that the album is different from her previous efforts would be a big understatement! It is more up-tempo, fun, and memorable. The first single is also the first track on the disc, Umbrella. It “features” Jay-Z though he really only has a short rap at the beginning. I think my favorite song on the album would be the fourth track, Breakin’ Dishes. The second single, Shut Up and Drive, is also really catchy. The Timbaland-produced Sell Me Candy is also a great song, but it’s too short at only 2 minutes, 45 seconds.

I wouldn’t be surprised if there are four or five singles released from this album – I think it’s that good. That’s probably a good thing for Rihanna, considering she probably will want to take a break after three albums in two years! I definitely recommend Good Girl Gone Bad.

Read: Rihanna

Nelly Furtado wants to be Britney!

Post ImageTo be more specific, she wants to be like the old Britney. Sounds kind of crazy right? I can make a pretty good case for it though! Look at her new single and its video, “Promiscuous”, for example. It’s chalk full of sexually suggestive lyrics and dancing, scantily clad club-goers, selective lighting, and that kind of singing voice that Britney made famous (you know, the really sensual one where she almost sounds out of breath). Nelly herself sports a bare midriff and tight dresses throughout the video as she gyrates next to Timbaland. And here’s the kicker – Justin Timberlake makes an appearance for some reason at the end of the video!

As some of you might know, I loved the old Britney, before she went crazy. Anyway, Nelly Furtado is not, and cannot be, Britney Spears. Britney always had the bare midriff, while Nelly seems to have forgotten that she used to be against that sort of thing! Here’s what she said a few years ago, about an FHM magazine:

There I am with a shirt that has actually been digitally altered to go to just below my chest, with a stomach that I don’t recognize. I don’t like being misrepresented to my fans. You work hard to represent a certain thing and have a certain image, and somebody can take it all away with the cover of a magazine.

Or Nelly, you can destroy it yourself with one music video. What a load of crap your appearance on MuchMusic’s “Too Hot or Not?” show must have been. I’m more than happy to say that if you’ve got it, and you want to flaunt it, more power to you, but not when you were so against the same thing only a few years prior!

As I said before, I really like the new song, and I’m looking forward to the new album. I for one am glad that Nelly has abandoned her old musical style for something much more commercially-viable, because I found her tendency to sound very nasal annoying. That said however, I am a little put off by her blatant “Britney” rip-off.