To those South by Southwest patrons who wagered in favor of Justin Timberlake bringing out Jay-Z to assist with “Suit & Tie” for the final MySpace Secret Show, here’s hoping those bets won’t break the bank. Without Hov, the five-time “Saturday Night Live” host more than held his own in front of the 700-plus fans packed into Coppertank Events Center.
Timberlake, who has become something of a pop-culture polymath during his seven-year hiatus between his second and third solo albums, took the stage just after midnight. Backup band the Tennessee Kids toned down their Rat Pack swagger for the night, wearing sports apparel and sneakers instead of tuxedos. But before they rocked out, Roots drummer ?uestlove put in work on the 1’s and 2’s, working the vinyl records and mixer with the precision of a brain surgeon.
An expert turntablist, Quest played a medley of crowd-pleasing songs that set the tone for the evening, like Baauer’s “Harlem Shake,” Michael Jackson’s “PYT,” Kanye West’s “Power” and Lil Wayne’s “A Milli,” all while blending current hits with the original song sampled by the artists. For the uninitiated, that means when the veteran disc jockey played Scarface’s “Guess Who’s Back,” he first cued up “Sunrise” by the Originals, then blended in verses by the Geto Boy frontman and Jigga.
After the Philadelphia native satiated fans with an appetizing mix of hits, MySpace’s most famous investor took the stage dressed in a black tuxedo print T-shirt, jeans, blazer and fedora cradling his guitar and launched into the Neptunes-produced “Like I Love You” from 2002’sJustified, which got both the ladies and gentlemen in the crowd pumped up.