Justin Timberlake and Jay Z love Boston, and Boston loves them back

Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z were amazing this weekend! Now, please stop using the word "amazing" in your songs.   (Credit: Lester Cohen/WireImage)
Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z were amazing this weekend! Now, please stop using the word “amazing” in your songs.
Credit: Lester Cohen/WireImage

With their Legends of the Summer tour, Justin Timberlake and Jay Z brought more local love to Fenway Park than any other tour in recent memory.

Normally a performer will give a “What’s up, Boston?” or wear some sort of sports team paraphernalia — the worst offense in recent memory was Wolfgang Van Halen putting a red sock on the headstock of his bass guitar— and Jay Z and JT did express their love for Boston in these ways, (Jay Z began the proceedings by announcing, “Boston’s ready to party, tonight, I see!”) but they continued to lay it on thick throughout the evening.

In most instances it worked, and it showed a dedication to making each city special on the tour. During Timberlake’s “Lovestoned,” the singer amended his lyrics from “She looks like a model, except she’s got a little more ass” (a great line, by the way) to “except she’s got that Boston ass.” During Jay Z’s “99 Problems,” the DJ worked in a sample of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way.”

In the “a bit much” category, Timberlake gave a few too many 617 area code shout-outs (a friend in his contact list must still have a Boston phone number?) and more than one of his leather guitar straps had “Boston Strong” imprinted on it.

Together, they tastefully dedicated the final song of the evening, Jay Z’s “Young Forever,” to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings. The only irony of all of this is that Jay Z let his “Heart of the City (Ain’t No Love)” pass without commentary. Or is it just obscure knowledge that alleged bomber Dzhokar Tsarnaev quoted that track in a tweet on the day of the bombings? Or heck, maybe he was quoting the song that Jay Z sampled: Bobby Bland’s “Ain’t No Love in the Heart of the City.”

But this city-specific love was just a backdrop to what was undoubtedly the show of the summer. For the most part, these two disparate performers overcame the biggest obstacles of a show like this: pacing and integrating types of music that don’t always work with each other. The only instance where it didn’t quite work was during a seven-song stretch where Jay Z left the stage (does it really take that long to change into another Novum Praecepta T-shirt?) During this time, JT totally owned the stage, his million-piece band giving him plenty of room to showcase his dance moves. Sonically, the band have a lot in common with Prince’s New Power Generation. But the tangent meant a shock to the system when Jay Z returned to the stage for “Dirt Off Your Shoulder.” Jay Z’s absence was probably felt because JT often stayed on the stage and made himself useful during Jay Z’s solo material.

But for the most part, the pair played well together, JT often singing the vocal lines that would have otherwise been samples during Jay Z’s songs, and Jay Z rapping on Timberlake’s hits. As JT sings in the brilliant show opener, Jay Z’s “Holy Grail,” “It’s amazing I’m in this maze with you.” He could have well been singing that to Jay Z. Because it really is amazing that this all works. (Sidenote: Dear all contemporary pop singers, please stop using the word “amazing.” It worked for Bruno Mars, but that adjective has an expiration date.)

Other show highlights included a rock version of JT’s “Sexy Back” and Jay Z’s “Run This Town,” the latter of which could have proved to be the defining anthem for the pair’s two-night stint in Boston.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor announces public housing improvements

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke at the Lincoln Houses in East Harlem on Wednesday, calling for the scaffolding to come down at NYCHA complexes across…

National

Peter Theo Curtis: American released by Syrian militants…

An American writer freed this week from two years in the captivity of insurgents in Syria spoke briefly outside his family's Cambridge home Wednesday of…

Local

Bratton defends 'broken windows' work as NYPD support…

Sixty percent of those polled said they support the "broken windows" theory approach popularized by Commissioner Bratton since his first term in the 1990s.

Local

Transit changes for Labor Day weekend

The MTA is adding additional service Friday for New Yorkers getting out of the city for the long weekend. On Friday, Aug. 29, 27 additional…

Going Out

Things to do this week in NYC, Aug.…

MUSIC The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees…

Going Out

5 things to do this weekend in NYC

The Electric Zoo Festival Aug. 29-31, 1 p.m. Randall’s Island Park $99-$369, www.electriczoofestival.com The electronic music celebration returns for a fifth year, with 150,000 attendees expected. David Guetta,…

Television

'Full House' might be relaunched with some of…

A new "Full House" might be in the works.

Movies

Review: 'The Congress' is a crazy, unwieldy sci-fi…

Robin Wright is the center of gravity in "The Congress," which turns from a live-action Hollywood satire into an animated spectacular on a downer future.

NFL

Source: Stephen Hill 'faces a battle' to make…

A team source says Stephen Hill, who has battled injuries and poor performances during his first two years, is no lock to make the Jets’ final roster.

Sports

Serena Williams leaving legacy of talented American women…

It seems only a matter of when, not if, Serena Williams will win her 18th career grand slam championship.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…

Sex

The 10 types of people you meet online

Does it ever seem like online dating profiles tend to get a little repetitive? It turns out you are not the only one to have…

Home

Labor Day essentials

Whether you’re soaking up the sun on the beach or barbecuing in the park here are some must-haves for your end-of-summer bash.

Education

Does the school day start too early?

As thousands of high schoolers get ready to head back to class, health experts say it may be time to push back the start of…