Saturday 16 December 2017

Justified: Timberlake lives up to the hype at Phoenix Park

Justin Timberlake at the Phoenix Park
Justin Timberlake at the Phoenix Park
Independent correspondents at Justin Timberlake (from left): Laura Butler, Vicki Notaro and Caitlin McBride
Justin Timberlake in concert in Phoenix Park
Justin Timberlake in concert in Phoenix Park
Justin Timberlake in concert in Phoenix Park
Laura Butler

Laura Butler

Justin Timberlake impressed some 40,000 revellers who travelled from all over the country to enjoy the first of three headline acts at the venue over the coming days.

Timberlake walked out to greet his avid Irish followers at 9pm with an acoustic guitar in hand. There was no dramatic entrance, but there was an enthusiastic reception from the waiting crowds.

Wearing a dapper black and white shirt and bowler hat, he opened with a mix of his big hits.

He 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 Timberlake's best selling records.

Timberlake's wife, Hollywood actress Jessica Biel, arrived at the Phoenix Park from the Four Seasons Hotel later in the evening.

Biel was driven by her own bodyguards in a car with blacked out windows.

The 'Total Recall' star watched her other half entertain the masses from the VIP section at the side of the stage.

Diehard Timeberlake fans queued as early as 3pm to be first through the gates of the park.

Arriving in shorts and flip flops, several ticket holders made it a family occasion.

Amy Martin (19), got the train from Cork city yesterday morning to get the chance to see "JT" in action.

"I'm so excited, my parents wouldn't let me go to see him last time he was here because I was too young. I wanted to make sure to get here early enough to get the perfect spot right in front of him," she said.

There were also a number of VIP guests in attendance, including model Gail Kaneswaran and RTE presenter Mairead Farrell.

It was the first time 32-year-old Timberlake performed on Irish shores since 2007.

There was one change to the event line-up last night, with British support act Jessie J forced to cancel her performance due to illness.

The Coronas stepped up to fill the slot, alongside ‘X Factor’ winner James Arthur.

Eager to avoid any reoccurrence of the violence at a Swedish House Mafia gig in July 2012, organisers went to great lengths to ensure the event went off without a hitch.

There was a strong garda presence, with over 200 officers as well as 150 stewards patrolling the area to confiscate any alcohol or drugs.

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