Justin Timberlake clowns his Minneapolis press conference (Photo by Jerry Holt, Star Tribune)
Justin Timberlake, in his dark stocking cap and raspberry crewneck sweater, and Jessica Biel, in her dark beret and multi-color sweater coat, were rocking their bodies in unison to “Let’s Go Crazy.”
It was supposed to be Timberlake’s party, a listening session for his new album “Man of the Woods” streaming live on various social media late Thursday night from Prince’s Paisley Park studio in Chanhassen. But after 500 or so guests of American Express heard the album, they got to experience live music by the Revolution, Prince’s “Purple Rain” era band.
Timberlake looked like he was having the time of his life, wiggling to “Mountains,” singing along to “When Doves Cry” and testifying during “Purple Rain.” Biel, his Minnesota-born movie star wife, was partying with him for most of the hour-long set by the Revolution.
No, JT didn’t join the Revolution on Paisley's soundstage, though they’d talked about it before showtime. He was exhausted from rehearsing for Sunday’s Super Bowl halftime, Revolution drummer Bobby Z explained in an interview. "He's a cool guy."
Timberlake was thrilled to be at Paisley Park. “This place has the best speakers in the world,” he announced before spinning his 16-track album. “I just had a birthday yesterday. This is my birthday present. I can’t believe this is happening at the world famous Paisley Park. I love you Prince.”
To be honest, many of the partiers seemed to ignore JT’s new album. There were too many other distractions such as trying to shake his hand. Plus there were stations for Mexican food and make-your-s’mores and a booth pressing vinyl 45s of Timberlake’s single “Filthy” in real time on renovated 1940s machines and a booth silk-screening “Man of the Woods” T-shirts for which partiers could customize with a choice of several designs. Moreover, there was a photo booth in front of a woodsy cabin set. (Per Paisley rules, no cellphones were allowed in the party; JT's people took the photos.)
And, oh yeah, there were open bars – the first time booze was served at Paisley Park. The building, which operates as a museum, had to get a special liquor license for this Super Bowl weekend.
Some of partiers purchased tickets for $80 through American Express, the event’s sponsor, and others were invited. Celebs from the music world included Roots drummer Questlove and R&B star Ciara, who was with her husband, Russell Wilson, quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. Other big names from football included Tony Gonzalez, Terrell Owens and Kirk Herbstreit; Minnesota’s own baseball hero Joe Mauer was there.
Unlike a Prince event at Paisley Park, this one ended relatively early – 1:15 a.m. Timberlake stayed until the very end as did some fans who’d had too much to drink – two unfamiliar sights in the Purple kingdom.