Monday, July 29, 2013

Jay Z and Justin Timberlake Bring Their Legend to Candlestick Park, 7/26/13

Posted By on Mon, Jul 29, 2013 at 9:06 AM

click to enlarge Jay Z and Justin Timberlake at Candlestick Park on Friday. All photos by Gil Riego Jr. - GIL RIEGO, JR.
  • Gil Riego, Jr.
  • Jay Z and Justin Timberlake at Candlestick Park on Friday. All photos by Gil Riego Jr.

Jay-Z and Justin Timberlake

Friday, July 26, 2013

Candlestick Park

Better than: The (actually very fun) Uber ride I shared with four middle-aged drunk ladies when none of us could handle the thousand-person line for the bus to Candlestick from the Glen Park BART Station.

There was a moment Friday night, midway through Jay-Z's ferocious execution of "99 Problems," when Justin Timberlake -- light on his feet to the point of seeming skittish, blond tresses glinting in the night -- hopped to the mic and screwed his face into a smirk to drawl the song's perfect asshole-cop lines: "Son, do you know why I'm stopping you for?"

All eyes were on JT, and this weird display of pop-culture camp ("He's playing the part of the ignorant white guy! Wait a minute") for about 15 seconds, then boomeranged back to the other side of the stage, where Hova, in a backwards Nets cap, continued to pace, spitting lyrics with a dark, even-handed confidence. There would be no hopping around, and very little smiling.

That kind of theatrical foil relationship played out -- sometimes thrillingly, sometimes awkwardly -- for a little over two hours. It was visible even through expertly timed choreography, audible despite stadium acoustics and a seriously powerful 14-piece band, in a nearly-full stadium featuring a disproportionate number of screaming girls, on what was likely Candlestick's last stage. (Incidentally, an Internet search for "last show at Candlestick" will turn up a plethora of videos about the Beatles' last show at Candlestick, if you want to talk about legends and screaming girls.)

click to enlarge GIL RIEGO JR.
  • Gil Riego Jr.

In any event, 2013's Legends of Summer, as the pair decided to brand themselves this month, went big in every possible sense of the word. This was a spectacle, and it was an impressive one. They opened together, with "Holy Grail," their collaboration on Jay-Z's barely three-week-old Magna Carta, and then stayed together longer than one might expect, performing well over half the 35-song set side by side. This resulted in some sweet surprises: Having JT and the band do a verse or two of the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" before sliding into Jay-Z's "Izzo" sounded 10 times better than the sample on that song usually does. And a fedora-clad Timberlake, alone in a spotlight, doing a Sinatra-style "New York, New York" intro and outro for Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind" almost made up for the canned Alicia Keys vocals.

For the most part, though, they took turns playing their respective singles, with Timberlake grooving through "Rock Your Body," "SexyBack, "LoveStoned," "Cry Me A River" and an especially searing "What Goes Around Comes Around." "Take Back the Night," off the new The 20/20 Experience, is A) the JT song that most takes advantage of having a great live band; B) apparently, unfortunately, not at all about preventing rape on college campuses; and C) the most blatant Michael Jackson rip-off -- sorry, "tribute" -- he's made to date.

click to enlarge GIL RIEGO JR.
  • Gil Riego Jr.

It's not that Timberlake's not a great entertainer, because he is. He's charming and adorable and very skilled at all of the things he does, including (at this show) playing respectable acoustic guitar and piano. It's just that no matter how much "soul" he tries to project, there's always a wink about it ("I am performing the act of being a performer!") and more often than not it comes off like he's playing to the judges on America's Next Top Something. Or, um, like he's trapped in the body of a former Mickey Mouse Club member?

click to enlarge GIL RIEGO JR.
  • Gil Riego Jr.

The juxtaposition with Jay-Z didn't help there, because even at his least impressive -- like on "Tom Ford," where even he sounds bored by the end -- Jay-Z sure doesn't have anything to prove, and he knows it. He's still imposing, still quietly solid and aggressive without trying too hard. He can still get away with lines like "I check cheddar like a food inspector" in a way that somehow makes you take him seriously. "Dirt Off Your Shoulder" followed by "Niggas in Paris" was a highlight.

They closed as big as they opened, descending a staircase side-by-side, champagne flutes in hand, for "Suit &Tie," followed by Jay-Z asking for lighters -- "iPhones, whatever" -- in the air before dedicating "Young Forever" to Trayvon Martin, because of course he did. At which point, a glance around the stadium as fans obliged was actually weirdly breathtaking. Legendary is a strong word, but as farewell shows go, Candlestick got a solid one.

click to enlarge GIL RIEGO JR.
  • Gil Riego Jr.

Critic's Notebook:

-- Would probably pay a good amount of money just to see this backing band. Four backup vocalists, four-piece horn section, super talented electric guitarists.

-- Attempts to make this stop on the tour Bay Area-specific included Jay-Z performing half of Too $hort's "Blow the Whistle," and JT at one point saying "Bay Areaaa."

-- Images projected, seizure-inducing screensaver-style, onto the vaguely space-age wings of the stage: Roman statues, giant snakes, George W. Bush on a TV set, fire.

-- @EmmaRuthless

  • Pin It

Tags: , , ,

About The Author

Emma Silvers


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

  • Arcade Fire at Shoreline
    Arcade Fire opened their US tour at Shoreline Amphitheater to a full house who was there in support of their album "Reflector," which was released last fall. Dan Deacon opened the show to a happily surprised early audience and got the crowd actively dancing and warmed up. DEVO was originally on the bill to support Arcade Fire but a kayak accident last week had sidelined lead singer Mark Mothersbaugh and the duration of the west coast leg of the tour. Win Butler did a homage to DEVO by performing Uncontrollable Urge.