Vector Arena was treated to some impressive southern hospitality last night, with Tennessee kid Justin Timberlake playing his first show of three.
The new king of pop had a deceptively simple, classic stage set-up which had his 15-piece band rising up like a small castle of instruments behind hexagonal band stands, echoing the entertainers of old - except for the mega-wide, beehive-inspired black-and-white backdrop screen.
This made Vector feel more intimate than usual, and kept attention firmly where it belonged - on JT and his crew.
From the lush orchestrated opening of Pusher Love Girl, Timberlake's vocal performance was smooth and snappy, his a capella phrases leaving no doubt about his prowess with a microphone.
The band did an impressive job of delivering his complex arrangements, the guitarists deserving a special mention for their many prodigious solos, and the backing vocalists and horns for their party-starting dance skills during Senorita, which saw JT showing off on the Rhodes piano.
The man can play his instruments - he even took on the finger-picking in the opening of What Goes Around.
A Timberlake show is just as much about those signature dance moves, though, and his precise yet casual approach, replicated by his six dancers, is truly distinctive.
The shoulder shrugs, finger snaps, leg flicks, hat tips - they're a charming combination. The synchronicity between sound and movement in Suit & Tie and SexyBack was a sensory joy, and Mirrors was the perfect anthem to finish the show.
Gallery: Justin Timberlake's Auckland concert
He opted for a shorter set-list than he played in Australia, but the show still ran to nearly two hours, and while it's the new tunes that really highlight his experimental pop abilities, the older ones are clearly still beloved by the crowds.
There were no jokes from the man who's become known for his comedic stylings on shows like SNL and Jimmy Fallon, but he did jump down to the crowd to give one lucky girl a JT selfie for her 21st birthday.
The consummate showman is no longer the curly blond baby-face boy-band graduate or simply the guy who brought sexy back, but a timeless performer who's already created quite a legacy in his 33 years. Let's hope it's not seven years before this master of class returns to New Zealand.
* Justin Timberlake performs in the same venue tonight and Wednesday.
Where: Vector Arena, Auckland
When: Sunday, October 12
* What did you think of the show? Post your comments below ...