The Emirati capital, Abu Dhabi, welcomed Justin Timberlake back after 7 long years.
Friday night, on the 69th date of his 20/20 Experience World Tour, Justin Timberlake faced a 20,000 fan packed Yas Island venue, du Arena. The show started at 9pm, but throngs of fans were lined up throughout the day. When the doors finally opened at 7pm, they did so to the tune of cheering concert-goers.
Timberlake began the show by descending a staircase dressed in a lightning-print shirt and long shorts over a strange pair of leggings and bright red Nike high-tops. It was a change from his usual wear for the tour, designed by Tom Ford. One could speculate that the severely hot weather could have led to the necessary wardrobe change.
Although Justin sang several of his own songs, both new and old, he also took time during the concert to pay tribute to the pop kings that came before him. Timberlake moonwalked as he performed some of Michael Jackson’s tracks. He also did an acoustic-guitar rendition of Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel.”
Justin Timberlake may have paid tribute to a couple of greats, but he had his own style while doing so. His back-up band, The Tennesse Kids, was huge. The band included of a dozen members including a horn section and four back-up singers.
As he clapped along with the crowd he assured Abu Dhabi that, on his only Middle East stop, he was there to party.
At one point during the show, Justin reminisced about his first concert at the Emirates Palace in 2007.
“We are very excited to be back in the UAE. I see some familiar faces. You all look a bit older — in a good way. I’m old-er,” he said.
After the concert, some fans spoke to the media about their love for the pop star.
“I’ve liked Justin Timberlake since I was about 14, I think,” said Shashank Sridharan, 22, from India. “His music is great — he’s got great music sense.”
“I was so excited to see him,” said 13-year-old Melis, from Turkey. “I’ve liked him for five years. His songs are amazing. I really love them. This is the first time I’ve seen him. I have not heard his new songs, but the old ones are amazing.”
Timberlake isn’t the only big name to play Abu Dhabi this year. In February, The Rolling Stones played at the same venue and, in September, Lady Gaga will be there as well.
[ Image courtesy of Abdul Rahman/Gulf News ]