At all-star show, Justin Timberlake spells it out, and so do we

Justin Timberlake & Friends featuring Sir Elton John, Diddy and Dirty Money, Christina Aguilera, Salt-n-Pepa, T-Pain, Lady Antebellum, Selena Gomez and Free Sol at Theater for the Performing Arts in Planet Hollywood on Oct. 23, 2010.
Photo: Tom Donoghue/Picture Group

He bounded all over the stage Saturday night, romping with the band Free Sol, rapping with DJ Freestyle Steve, summoning each act (especially Christina Aguilera and Sir Elton John) with palpable zeal.

He even ably strummed an acoustic guitar and sang with ease and confidence of a guy just 29, but who has spent two decades entertaining people.

2010 Justin Timberlake & Friends

Justin Timberlake, he was the man of the hour. All 4 hours, in fact. You can't say he was a mere caddy at his own Justin Timberlake & Friends concert at Planet Hollywood's Theater for the Performing Arts, that's for certain.

The show was linked to the golf tournament finishing today at TPC Summerlin, the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. Like a Masters' champion, Timberlake displayed impressive course management, teeing off the event at just past 8 p.m. and swinging through each break as acts broke down and set up.

That name — Timberlake — was everywhere, reflected in the titles of the tourney and show itself. It was fortunate that the ever-engaging Timberlake kept the moment moving at this all-star concert, which surpassed even David Foster's own friend-a-thon at Mandalay Bay Events Center last weekend. It helped to have J.T. goosing the crowd from time to time just to keep folks in high gear until Elton showed up to close the night.

As a tribute, because without question he deserves whatever accolade comes his way for fronting a PGA Tour event and all-star concert to benefit the peerless Shriners foundation, we list the night's highlights in J.T.'s full name:

J: For John, as in Elton, who fired off jam-infused versions of "Saturday Night's Alright (for Fighting)," "Levon," "Tiny Dancer," "Rocket Man," "Benny & the Jets" and "The Bitch Is Back."

U: For "under," which is where the score of the Giants-Phillies Game 6 of the National League Championship Series landed (the final was 3-2 S.F.; the total closed at 7). I mention this because quite a few fans waited until the game was finished before meandering into the TPA.

S: For "Shoop," which could be our state song as far as I'm concerned. Sung by Salt-N-Pepa, and I'd long forgotten — maybe 20 years ago — how I love Salt-N-Pepa. Great set, if a set can be judged by an audience standing and roaring, "Saaaaaalt! Pepaaaaah!" They still rock it, music-wise, vocal-wise, wardrobe-wise, all of it.

T: For, T-Pain, who scrambled around the stage as if in apparent pain, or maybe mild discomfort, while wearing a long, loopy necklace that looked like it had been dipped in a diamond batter.

I: For "impromptu," which Timberlake's take on "Rock Your Body" with DJ Freestyle Steve seemed to be.

N For "Nirvana," which Freestyle Steve-a-Lot (which I would call myself if I were a DJ named Steve) played during one of the breaks in the show. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" was the oddly selected tune.

T For "twelve," which is approximately how many recreational golfers of the 7,000 or so in the audience would have made their 7 a.m. tee time this morning after a concert that finished about 12:30 a.m.

I: For "impeccable," which is how you'd best term Aguilera's set. "Not Myself Tonight, "Ain't No Other Man," "Beautiful" and "Fighter" in the mix. It was one of her first appearances since splitting with music exec husband Jordan Bratman in recent weeks, and she clearly referenced him before "Man" and "Beautiful." I'd not seen her before but had been told she just blasts the vocals. Her voice more than filled the cavernous TPA, and there is a reason Timberlake introduced her by saying, "No contest, the best vocalist of my generation." And that counts Britney Spears ...

M: For "Mickey," as in The Mickey Mouse Club, where Timberlake and Aguilera first met when both were 10.

B: For "B-B-B-B-B-B-B-Benny and the Jets"! Try not to sing along when Elton is hammering out that song on the crimson Yamaha.

E: For "energy," or as Timberlake said of T-Pain, "He has more energy than a 10-year-old!"

R: For "Richard," as in Dawn Richard, who is the vaguely recognizable former member of Danity Kane who backs Diddy's latest artistic venture Diddy-Dirty Money. He also wears a diamond-rope necklace; she sports a Beatles haircut. The third member of Diddy-Dirty Money is Kalenna Harper; known nearly universally as Kalenna. Gotta say, I admire Diddy more as an actor and fashion designer than as a live act.

L: For "Lady," as in Lady Antebellum. No wonder they've won a ton of country music awards. Vocally they are outstanding. Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott are strong enough to front their own bands, and gosh I wonder if that concept has ever occurred to them. Give credit to Lady Antebellum, too, as the third act to take the stage but first to say anything about the great cause being served.

A: For "ambitious," which was Lady Antebellum's selection of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight," which could have sent audience members scratching their heads, but thanks to a thunderous percussion section, it worked.

K: For "knockout," which is what crossed my mind when I saw Mike Tyson walking toward the TPA. Tyson is 44 and has lived every grueling round.

E:: For "empty," which is where everyone's gas tank registered by the time Timberlake thanked everyone for raising millions for the Shriners. After 4-plus hours, it was no mas. An 'N Sync reunion might have wiped us all out.

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