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on November 25, 2007
Whenever one of these young superstars comes shooting to the skies almost from one day to the next, one must inevitably ask oneself whether it's just all hype, or they are actually worth the fuzz. I have myself had a casual acquiantance with Justin Timberlake's music for the last couple of years - after all, anybody who does watch MTV just once every year will have stumbled into hits like Rock Your Body, Cry Me A River, Sexyback or What Goes Around (Comes Around) - and so, when Justin stopped by Copenhagen this year, to play for a whooping 54.000 people, I decided to give it a try, just to see what it was all about. And I must admit that back then, I was quite blown away. Not that everything was perfect on that occasion, but he just delivered a show that left no doubt that this was a power to reckon with, in showbiz and in music.

Therefore, when this DVD was announced, I decided to give it ago - to relive what was a great night of fun and music, and to see whether it could stand the test of return to subject. And I must say that overall, this does stand very well the test of time, at least so far. Again, it's not perfect, but it's pretty damn good, and more important, it's a very honest release.

The DVD opens with an interview section with Justin and band, which seagues into opening sequence and title track FutureSex/LoveSounds off latest CD - which also happened to be one of the strongest moments on the CD, and I must say that here perhaps the show falls slightly flat. I will emphasize and give credit to the fact that the songs are not just reproductions of the album tracks, they are fully interpreted in terms of being played live, and this quite stripped down version of the track perhaps falls somewhat short on the vocal part. I would like more presence of Timberlake in the song - large parts are delivered only by the multi-member back-up team, which is a bit of a shame. The same is true for second cut Like I Love You, and although both performances have all the groove one would expect of cuts as solid as these, the DVD does not come off on the best footing in my oppinion.

From third cut, My Love, Justin starts to step more into character, but I'll say his voice really starts to shine from Señorita and Sexy Ladies and onwards. It is evident that Timberlake doesn't have the strongest voice in the bussiness - one could argue that his voice is capable, but nothing more than that - but I will say that he does get the best of what he has got, which is sometimes as important as being talented when it comes down to showmanship. The vocal arrangement leans heavily on the backing section, but Timberlake does more than just lip-synch, and I appreciate the fact that whenever he sings, he sings genuinely live, and once he's started does that better than what I would have expected - and he certainly proves that his smooth falsetto is not just a studio-infused feature. Also one should add that he does a lot of movement on stage - dancing, and running (more about this later!), which naturally takes focus away from the vocal - not necessarily a good trade-off in my oppinion, but I guess that's part of the show, take it or leave it.

The tempo is decreased with the unset of ballad Until The End Of The World from the resent album - not my favorite cut of the record, but Justin does a blistering performance here, which is probably why this track has also been released as live video to promote the DVD release on music TV stations. Next up, however, is major smash hit What Goes Around (Comes Around), which clocks in at a whooping 10 minutes and is one of the absolute highlights of the concert. This is one of the great examples of how they rework the songs in the live setting: The song opens with a beautiful piano intro (the man himself at work here), and I must emphasize here the great sound on this release, which retains the full dynamic range of the music as it was played: The piano section opens quietly, and then halfway through drums, keyboard and guitar sets in to form a roaring crescendo. Amazing, and the song has not even kicked in yet. The song proper is pretty faithful to the album version, which is not a bad thing at all, but also adds a much rougher edge with more dominant guitars, and I must admit that this particular track really wow's me. The final cut before the intermission is the funky Chop Me Up, where Justin is joined on stage by name-sake Timbaland, producer, songwriter et al.

Blissfully cut out from this feature is the overly long and self-indulgant Timbaland-tribute-DJ-section featured in the interlude. This was both overly long and bordering on embarrasing, so I whole-heartedly support its omision. Instead we get a short interview with the two Timbers, before going into the opener of second set, Rock Your Body. I should mention here ther generally very well-structured set, which is a deffinite pro of this concert: Ballance is very well retained between old hits, new hits, and new unknown tracks, and the music flows very well, sometimes uninterrupted, from one track to the next.

The major weakness of this tour, however, is also displayed in this next part: With only two albums in his catalogue, Timberlake has only a limited number of songs to pick between, the next handful of tracks therefore moves far into what I consider banalities: The acoustic medley featuring a couple of N-Sync songs (Gone, Take It From Here, Last Night) is downright boring, whereas the dull Damn Girl from the new album is presented in an overly long version, complete with semi-naked girls which does nothing for Timberlakes musical credibility.

Things turn better, however, with the groovy ballad Summer Love and the almost gospel-like Losing My Way - one of my odd favorites from the recent album, here delivered as a sing-along over playback choir which I think is a wise choice, as the gospel singers form an important back-droping to Justin's fragile voice here. Speaking of back-droppings, I should also mention the ingenious scene-design here: Scene is placed in-the-round, i.e. audience is all around the stage. To solve this problem, semi-transparent fabrics are lowered at different parts around the stage, and works at the same time as giant screens for those who cannot see the man (because of distance, or simply because he's on the other side of stage!) and at the same time as emphasize of the light show. In this particular track, Justin is surrounded on all sides by images of the gospel singers, thus hiding him almost completely from the audience, and vice-versa, making a nice reference to the song catch line "Is anybody out there?". I should also say that Justin does an admirable job in moving around the stage, getting out to all parts of the audience, something which is not a small feat in a venue of this size with a 4-sided stage.

The final part of the set consist of a safe pick of major hits, and nothing to complain about here: Firstly, a surprisingly gritty delivery of Cry Me A River (no mention of Britney here!), this seagues into the funky Lovestoned / I Think That She Knows, which again seagues into a surprisingly gritty, at times almost sonically dirty version of Sexyback. Again I must compliment the man for his courage to rework his own songs, even if they are still true to the album versions, the live versions deffinitely has a character of their own, making this release worth having not only for the visiuals. Indeed, I'm somewhat surprised the package does not come with a CD with selected cuts, like similar releases from other artist (I will take the liberty to recommend Kylie's Fever Tour CD/DVD release and Madonna's Confessions Tour CD/DVD releases, both excellent releases).

A bit surprising for me, when I saw the show in Copenhagen, was the choice for encore, (Another Song) All Over Again. This song never did much for me on the album, but the intimate setting here, with Justin sitting alone at the piano, was amazingly strong, forming a nice contrast to the loud inferno of Sexyback. And the boy sings his heart out here! Since the concert here, this songs stands especially strong for me, and I must say it's a surprise highlight of the DVD, and brings the concert to a worthy conclusion.

OVERALL RATING 8/10

Final Comments:

Considering that the man only has two CDs in his bag, this offers both a very satisfactory overview of his career and a surprisingly robust selection of tracks - even though some of them could have been left out, had one had more material to pick from (Sexy Ladies, Damn Girl, and the acoustic medley comes to mind).

Technically, this is a pleasing release. Sound is perfect, and picture is great - and the editing is not too jumpy, as is often the case in concert movies. I could have gone without the cut-ins of interview snippets or comments a couple of places, but overall nothing really compromising.

On the bottom line, I must say that with this, Justin seems to emphasize that he is indeed a name to be taken seriously in the music bussiness. He might not be the worlds best singer, but as an entertainer, he's on the top.
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on November 21, 2007
I saw this on HBO one day when I was bored and couldn't find anything else to watch.
NOT a Justin Timberlake fan(in fact, I really didn't know who he was!), I expected to be amused, maybe.....instead, I was totally impressed- by an incredible production on the scale of a major Broadway musical: the staging; the choreography....and yes, the songs. This is an extraordinary performance, by an extraordinary talent. It took my breath away. I no longer "laugh" at Justin Timberlke.
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on February 1, 2011
I LOVE Justin Timberlake and I LOVE this concert - I've watched the HBO special on tv many times. You can understand my disappointment upon receiving the DVD of the HBO special and finding that it had been edited!!! Well...all except for ONE SONG. Perhaps the editing team took a bathroom break during Cry Me A River. Ridculous. Nowhere did it say ANYTHING about this being an edited version. had I known, I would NOT have spent the money on it. I would never in a million years expect that a DVD of an HBO show would be edited.
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on February 26, 2016
This is Justin Timberlake at his best!!! Saw the concert originally on HBO in 2007, and this DVD is exactly as I saw it back then, contrary to some of the reviews. It's a double disk set, with LOTS of behind the scenes clips before, during and after the concert. Love it so much, I purchased a copy for my daughter and best friend who are JT fanatics! Believe me, you won't be disappointed.
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on December 8, 2007
first of all i'm very impressed with how fast my dvd was shipped. it was in perfect shape with all original art work. i bought justin's dvd from the justified tour and this one was so much better. tons of songs and a terrific show. watch it on a big screen with surround sound and its almost as good as being in the garden with him. the bonus dvd was a great add. this concert is well worth the money i spent on it. a must have for any true justin timberlake fan. love it!!
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on April 8, 2008
I think people dont give him enough credit for doing this show at the madison square garden and on live tv. reminds me of a michael jackson with his performance. clearly the best performer in the game right now after seeing this. show has lots of energy, the bluray of it makes it look incredible. if anything great gift for a girl or to have for other people to see.
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on November 27, 2010
I wasn't that big of a JT fan until I'd seen this show. He has to be one of the most talented entertainers in the world. Everything in this show was nothing short of perfect--the dancers were tight, the vocals were incredible (especially considering his dancing at the same time), the entire band was top-notch, the general theme of the show was original, and the crowd loved it. It's on the top shelf of my collection, and remains one of my most-watched DVDs I own.

THEN, I finally put together a 5.1 surround system. I was excited to finally listen to the surround mode instead of the normal stereo mode. WHAT A DISAPPOINTMENT. Two words: subwoofer channel. The " .1" in 5.1 is GROSSLY insufficient. The first song is "Futuresex Lovesounds", and has that cool synth riff to start it off. I expected the room to be vibrating. To my surprise, it didn't sound right at all. I thought something got messed up--maybe my receiver was set in the wrong mode, or the subwoofer got turned off, or a cable got disconnected or something. I must have restarted the song 4 or 5 times changing settings trying to figure out what was going on, and eventually let it play through. EVENTUALLY, I FINALLY heard a wimpy little kick-drum come through the sub, alone. That's it. My sub ROCKS my house for other DVDs (Transformers was incredible), but is barely used for this show.

I DO love sub, but understand when the experts tone it down a little so that it doesn't distract from the rest of the show...but this is not rock 'n roll, it's not country--IT'S POP. It's SUPPOSED to have synthetic sounds and is SUPPOSED to sound "fake" sometimes. Sometimes I wish that some of the "experts" would retire with their Yanni and let someone else do their job.

More recently, I purchased the Blu-ray edition of this show, hoping it would have a resolution--no luck. I will continue to play it in stereo-mode and let my receiver split up the frequencies. To me, it sounds a lot better.
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on December 19, 2007
The show was fun and exciting, but the dvd offers a whole different insight into JT's personality and the group he performs with. It's great to watch the show all over again (and again, and again) but the interviews and showbiz insights are even more worth the money.
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on July 22, 2015
I went to this show when it came to my city and it was INCREDIBLE! I literally can NOT listen to the cd-versions of ANY of these songs after hearing and watching the rock-star performances by JT! My only complaint is the dvd sound is off by about a second and it cane be kinda distacting as the song is progressing and the dance moves are slightly off beat due to the sound not being properly synced.
Doesnt change the fact this concert was OUTSTANDING!!
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on March 25, 2013
no one talks about how much goes into putting on a successful performance on stage. we demand and expect so much from stars, that we forget to thank them for all their hard work, when they do meet our impossible criteria. showing footage behind the senes helpled show the human side of everyone on stage. you enjoy watching the show more because you go beyond the visuals and straight to the heart of the matter.
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