Monday, October 17, 2016

Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids Review

I have been to a lot of concerts and at many of them, no matter how much I love the artist performing, I find myself really wanting to go home towards the end of the show. Rather than find it invigorating, something about the environment and the crowds makes me feel drained as the set list winds down and the masses are chanting for an inevitable encore. The vast majority are eating it up and soaking in the moment, while I am hoping for an abbreviated return before the lights finally brighten and the people stream out to go their separate ways.

I haven't seen Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids perform live, so perhaps the same set of internal triggers would wear me down had I been in the room, but from the perspective of witnessing the final show of the 20/20 Experience World Tour from my couch I could not get enough. I wanted more. After 90 minutes I found myself disappointed it was over, and the craziest thing is it had so little to do with the music. The atmosphere captured by director Jonathan Demme (The Silence of the Lambs, Stop Making Sense, Philadelphia, Rachel Getting Married) is remarkable, featuring frame after frame of perfectly lit joy as every single person on the stage pours their heart and soul into their craft and it shows.

I like the music of Justin Timberlake enough to leave certain songs on the radio rather than change the station, but I have never loved his work enough to invest much time into it. I will likely watch the 90 minutes of spectacle that is Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids again. And then again. And again after that. I couldn't stop smiling and I deeply admire that the production design and imaginative nature of the show goes above and beyond to entertain those that pay a lot of good money to see it live.

To many it probably doesn't sound like too tall of an order, filming a concert. No script to flesh out and no story to tell, yet it feels like that is exactly what is done when the opening minutes of the film is dedicated to introducing all of The Tennessee Kids, the vital pieces of their two year tour that get far less fanfare than Timberlake. It's brief but it shows how necessary everyone is to putting on the best show, and then Demme spends the remaining 80 some odd minutes demonstrating this by giving us shots from many different essential angles that put those whose names we just learned and likely won't remember front and center. They all deserve the spotlight.

I was a pessimist when I pressed play, I admit it. Thought I would be bored halfway through. Figured this would be the perfect concert for me since finally I could just stop the show whenever I wanted and call it a night.

Thrilled to be proven wrong. Watch it on Netflix and have a blast.


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