Wednesday 21 February 2018

Justin Timberlake brings sexy back to Dublin

The Irish Independent's Caitlin McBride and Vicki Notaro will be attending all the major music events in Ireland this summer. In the first of their summer festival series, is all you need to know about the Trousersnake's concert at the Phoenix Park last night.

Justin Timberlake in concert in Phoenix Park, Dublin
Justin Timberlake in concert in Phoenix Park, Dublin

Caitlin McBride and Vicki Notaro

JUSTIN brought Sexy Back to Dublin last night.

And how.

I've seen him perform twice before in Ireland (back before he was cool and collaborating with Jay-Z), and both were sensational concerts.

However, last night's gig in the Phoenix Park outdid both of those.

Some 40,000 fans packed the Phoenix Park last night for JT's first gig since 2007.

With a montage of his earlier music from albums Justified and Future Sex/Love Sounds incorporated with more contemporary hits like Mirrors and the infamous Tunnel Vision - J.Timberlake is a born showman.

Having already seen him perform, I thought I had seen it all, but he pulled it out of the bag last night. I attended with my colleague and "festival friend" Vicki, a diehard Justin fan. One whose trivia of Timberlake could rival any 16-year-old girl He knows how to work a crowd. Between comments about how "sexy" and "incredible" we all were, every fan's ego was sufficiently boosted. His trademark cheeky grin melting the hearts of every woman - and many of the men - in the audience.

Timberlake started with a lively version of his debut solo track, 'Love You Like I Love You' and it was followed by a rendition of 'My Love' accompanied by a full jazz band.

That flowed into 'Cry Me A River', one of his best-selling songs.

Timberlake thanked his fans with: "It's been far too long since I've seen all of you. I can't tell you all how thrilled I am to be back in Ireland.

Vicki Notaro and Caitlin McBride at last night's Justin Timberlake gig
Vicki Notaro and Caitlin McBride at last night's Justin Timberlake gig

"Some of the best energy, music and one of the best beers have come out of here. I love you guys, I can't thank you enough for coming out tonight to Phoenix Park."

It's one of the few gigs I can remember attending where I worked up a genuine sweat from dancing all night. Amazing moves, of course.

But the thing about Justin is that he genuinely seems nice - or perhaps it's that southern charm.

Ever the consummate professional, the newly-married Justin "everyone who put this concert together", rather than solely bathing in the adoration of his audience, as so many others do.

His wife, actress Jessica Biel, was in the Phoenix Park crowd last night, so perhaps that explains why Justin was sweet-mannered last night.

While the sunny weather and subsequent air conditioning may be doing wonders for our social lives, it's wreaking havoc for others. Support act Jessie J pulled out at the last minute due to illness - blaming air-con - and at one stage, Justin said that he and been unwell prior to coming on stage too.

There was no mention of the missing Jessie J and while the stellar support acts - The Coronas and James Arthur - put in a great set, this night was all about the main man. Halfway through his set, I was too. I've been converted. And I'm not going back to my pre-Justin life.

His fan base was as eclectic as expected, with plenty of young girls filling out the audience. But I was surprised at how many young men made their way there - without the tug of their girlfriend - to see him live. Many have followed him from his N*Sync days, but a large proportion of the crowd consisted of teenage girls (as expected) who wouldn't know who Lance Bass was if I asked them.

In the first of the major concert sets lined up for the Phoenix Park this week, crowd control was strict and a zero tolerance policy was implemented by organisers. Trouble was minimal, with only the usual rowdiness big crowds attract, and even the slightest out-of-control move warranted a visit from a security professional.

There was a heavy Garda presence, bars closed at 10pm on the button and bags were searched twice upon arrival. Expect more of the same if you're heading to Mumford & Sons and The Killers this weekend.

I will be, so I'll see you there!

Follow Caitlin and Vicki on Twitter for more concert updates this summer.

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