On October 23, 2013, I purchased two tickets to the Justin Timberlake show in Chicago. And on February 17, 2014, I sat in the front row of the third tier and hollered and danced for three solid hours to what was by far one of the top three shows I’ve ever been to.
But let me back up. Here’s a run down of the trip. First, I went to visit a friend in the dead of winter in Chicago in one of the worst winters in recent years. There was so. much. snow.
Seriously, in one day, we got over 10 inches–on top of the 1-2 feet that were already on the ground. It was kind of fun and whimsical for a few hours, but after that, well, let’s just say that I could see how the midwest and north are more than a little over the magic of snow this year. For example, this picture was taken about two hours into the eightish-hour snowstorm.
For example, we walked through the park, during which my chin and lower lip went completely numb. No lie.
And we thawed in a beautiful (and gloriously humid!) conservatory.
We ate amazing food, including these fancies from Vanille Patisserie. These were so delicious, we didn’t feel the least bit guilty about ruining our dinner.
I went to my first Bikram yoga class (perhaps more on that at a later date). Afterward, we hit up Chicago’s Dog House for these (veggie on the left, beef on the right). Pickles are a food group, in my opinion, so I was thrilled.
Side note: I was much more a fan of the Chicago-style hot dog than I was a few years ago when trying Chicago-style pizza. Say it with me: Pizza should not be a casserole!
Oh, and we went to see Justin Timberlake. You know, no biggie.
Here’s how it all went down. After a quick dinner, we headed to the United Center just as the snow was letting up and dropped in the bar to grab a drink before finding our seats. They had JT’s tequila in house for the show, so, perhaps against better judgement, we tried that. First tequila shot for me in years, and they didn’t have salt, but I down-the-hatched it, savoring that lime a little longer than any real tequila drinker would. Then we had a beer–much more my normal speed.
Seats found, and preshow DJ already jamming, we took a few photos and proceeded to enjoy throwback hip-hop tunes while the arena filled up.
After a bit, we joined the rest of the folks up out of their seats dancing as we waited for the main event. It is fair to say that most of these people were in tiers below ours, but like grown-ass thirty-somethings, we owned it. We also became a little concerned that everyone in our section was sitting with crossed arms (Ahem. People behind us in photo below). After a split second of thinking maybe we should sit down too (say what?!), we decided that we paid good money for this, and as far as we were concerned “this” included the DJ spinning Usher and Jay Z beforehand. So we danced and took silly pictures. At times, the excitement nearly overwhelmed.
Pretty soon, it was time for the show, and for the next 2-2.5 hours, we sang, danced, and hollered in an arena-large dance party. It was fantastic!
Eventually the guy and girl to our left joined us for the dancing during the second half of the show (did I mention there was an intermission?). The three women to our right who just sat all judgy in their chairs all night made us sad but definitely didn’t hamper our enthusiasm.
Side note: These tickets weren’t cheap. Why in the world would you buy expensive tickets to a pop show by someone known as much for his dancing as for his songs that make people dance if all you plan to do is sit in your chair? You know you’re gonna dance, right?!
JT closed the show with Mirrors, which isn’t one of my favorites, but I’ll admit that in that packed place, it was a great closer. It was seriously the most fun I’ve had at a show in a long time. A dance party all night long, evidenced by my sore legs and throat the next day.
That tequila shot raring its head late in the night had us briefly trying to sneak backstage, but the moment quickly passed (not to mention that the place had security tighter than the Pentagon), and we headed out to catch a ride home, during which we made snow angels. I think it’s important that, in addition to admiring the snow-angel making, you take note of the amount of snow still on the street behind after thousands of cars and buses had traveled down it for the show. Again, so. much. snow.
Also, JT thanked us personally. Well, I mean, sort of.
Two plane rides the next day, and I was back home in Mississippi and back to work and real life. A whirlwind of a trip, a fun visit with a grad-school friend, and an unforgettable show–if only I had the money to go Round 2 with JT.
Final side note: The other two shows in my top-three list for best big concerts: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and Bon Jovi. You laugh. I hear you laughing, but Bon Jovi put on a fantastic show. Also, now that I think about it, both have something in common with the Timberlake show: Tom Petty was also at the United Center and Bon Jovi was also during a snowstorm (but in Ohio).