October 18. 2009–There's no doubt about it, Justin Timberlake is one of those entertainers who comes along once every generation. I'm a golf writer and not a concert critic, but watching the last two Justin Timberlake and Friends concerts that coincide with the playing of Las Vegas' PGA Tour event, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, and you have to leave the building impressed. This year, Timberlake had another star-studded lineup that consisted of Taylor Swift, TLC, Alicia Keyes, Snoop Doog, Timbaland, and others, with the host keeping the show moving by performing with some of the other acts, and also playing a few of his hits. You only had to watch the energetic crowd to understand his impact as an entertainer.
From the PGA Tour golfers and wives in attendance–and there were many–to the others in the crowd, all were on their feet throughout, dancing, singing along, and just having a great time in general. Timberlake easily bounced back from host to performer duties, all done with such polish that it gave the appearance of a show that had been rehearsed many times, but with the varying acts on the bill, it's hard to believe that much of it could be planned. The evening was staged to raise funds for the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open, and started with a special video message from the organziation, but then Timberlake hit the stage to warm the crowd briefly and let them know what was about to happen.
"I brought 'em out tonight," Timberlake told the large crowd at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. "You won't forget this show for the rest of your lives!" With that he brought up London recording artist Jay Sean, who currently has, as he told the crowd, the number one song in America, "Down." Following Jay Sean, Timberlake brought out Taylor Swift, but only before assuring the crowd that he had security lining the stage so nobody would interrupt her performance. A few weeks ago, Swift's acceptance speech at the MTV Video Awards was stopped when Kanye West grabbed the microphone from her to air his displeasure that Swift had won and not Beyonce. The Timberlake and Friends crowd laughed at the reference. Swift sang her hits, including beginning her set with "You belong to me."
Alicia Keyes, who Timberlake called "One of the greatest musicians alive" then hit the stage for a brief set where she played the piano and sang several of her hits, including a brief rendition of "Empire state of mind", an anthem about her native New York that she created in conjunction with Jay Z. The highlights of the evening, at least judging the crowd reaction, was when Ciara and Timberlake teamed to perform their hit "Love, Sex, Magic", and when Snoop Dogg hit the stage with no introduction. Snoop Dogg wore a black overcoat and sunglasses, and performed a few songs, including "Who Am I (What's My Name)".
The evening ended with Timberlake singing several songs plus performing with the noted producer Timbaland, who he has worked with in the past. Timbaland also was the host of the official after party at the Mandalay Beach Nightclub. Timberlake was scheduled to be out at Las Vegas golf course TPC Summerlin on Sunday to watch the final round of the golf and present the trophy to the eventual champion. Several golfers with strong ties to Las Vegas were challenging for the title.