Justin Timberlake last night (March 16) played an intimate Myspace Secret Show to close this year’s South By South West festival in Austin, Texas.
The third in a series of shows presented by the relaunched social network, in which Timberlake is an investor, the performance was one of the most anticipated of the festival. Fans loitered outside from early in the morning, despite the 10pm doors. Soon before the show started, the venue was so full that the local Fire Marshall declared it closed. Flaming Lips man Wayne Coyne was among those left waiting outside but, he told a passer by, “the universe rewards the persistent”.
The singer, actor and mogul took to the stage with his army-sized band members at 10 past midnight, and was greeted by feverish screams and the raising of hundreds of camera phones. The set began with ‘Like I Love You’ and soon included another ‘Justified’ track, ‘Cry Me A River’.
“Can I do some new shit?” asked the singer, before playing ‘Pusher Love Girl’, the opening track of new album ‘The 20:20 Experience’. Another new album track – lead single ‘Suit & Tie’ – received the best response of the night, though a much-rumoured guest appearance by Jay-Z did not happen. Ironically, Timberlake was wearing not a suit and tie but a suit and novelty T-shirt which had tux lapels and tie printed on it.
Timberlake continued to play ‘Señorita’, a seated version of ‘What Goes Around Comes Around’ and a cover of INXS’s ‘Need You Tonight’, and told a strange anecdote about a trip to a local ice cream parlour. The set ended with ‘Sexyback’ – to which Timberlake changed the lyrics to say “bringing motherfuckin’ sexy back”.
After the show, Coyne – whose persistence paid off – explained to NME that Timberlake had previously declared himself a fan of The Flaming Lips, and once appeared on stage with them dressed in a dolphin costume. Of Timberlake’s show, he said, “We’re on a different trip but he put on a great show.”