Two weeks after throwing an unexpected cover of “Friends in Low Places” into the middle of his set at the Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, Justin Timberlake tackled the song again during last weekend’s performance in Nashville — this time with help from Garth Brooks himself.
The song arrived just after intermission, halfway through Timberlake’s sold-out show at the Bridgestone Arena on Friday night. “This is the country music capital of the world, right?” Timberlake asked the crowd by way of introduction, before strumming the song’s unmistakable intro on an acoustic guitar. As though to answer his question, the entire audience launched into the verse, singing along with Timberlake and his super-sized backup band — the so-called Tennessee Kids, whose horn section alone could dwarf the size of most bands playing the Bridgestone — all the way until the end of the first chorus.
Then, with a mix of good-natured showbiz schmaltz and genuine excitement, Timberlake halted the song and introduced Brooks, who walked onstage wearing his best “just got back from Trader Joe’s” clothes. Together, the two spent the next six minutes trading lyrics during an extended version of the song, which — due to Timberlake’s insistence — also included the bonus “third verse,” where Brooks invites his former love interest to kiss his ass. [Watch the performance above.]
Timberlake’s 20/20 Experience World Tour, which launched in November 2013 and comes to a close just after New Year’s, has included its share of cover songs, from Elvis Presley’s “Heartbreak Hotel” — which doubles as a tribute to Timberlake’s roots in Memphis — to Michael Jackson’s “Human Nature.” One of the most popular tours of 2014, the 20/20 Experience has racked in more than $200 million over the past 13 months.