As Timberlake had expressed in a press conference earlier in the day, he was in disbelief of being at Paisley Park, let alone getting to play his album in its hallowed halls. Upon entering the room — which was lined with fake trees and video screens showing footage of woodsy landscapes similar to those in Man of the Woods teasers — in a fuzzy red sweater and black stocking cap, Timberlake was all smiles as he told eventgoers that he wasn’t going to spend much time talking about the album and instead was going to let the music speak for itself.
“I’m just gonna play the album from top to bottom, because I hate over describing things,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll play it loud… I take it this place has a good sound system.”
Indeed it did, as upbeat tracks like “Midnight Summer Jam” and more heartfelt, slower songs like “The Hard Stuff” resonated in the same way, as testament to the magic touch Timberlake and his legendary production partners Timbaland, Danja and The Neptunes brought on Man of the Woods. Timberlake’s occasional bouncing to the beats showed his obvious pride in what he created, and was reiterated by stars like Ciara, who attended the event with husband (and NFL superstar) Russell Wilson and danced with Timberlake to “Supplies” as they shared some laughs together.
Those who weren’t in the VIP section with Timberlake may not have had a chance to actually tell the singer what they thought about the album, but were certainly still treated like royalty as they listened. While enjoying a free-flowing open bar and munching on vegan eats (including a mac and cheese bar and s’mores station), guests were able to design their own Man of the Woods long-sleeved shirt, create a custom nature-inspired scent, pick up a special “Filthy” vinyl, and pose in the cabin-themed photo booth. And once the album finished, Prince’s iconic band The Revolution treated everyone to a performance of the Purple One’s greatest hits from “1999” to the set-closing “Purple Rain” — including Timberlake and his wife Jessica Biel, who grooved along while chatting and kissing.
Although the biggest event of the weekend is yet to come, Timberlake has already had one hell of a pre-game. Thanking event sponsors American Express and his label RCA Records for helping him host such a special night, he made it clear that celebrating an album at Paisley Park is going to be right up there with the Super Bowl performance in his long list of career highlights.
“It’s like Disney World but better,” he gushed. "This is the best birthday present ever."
Listen to Man of the Woods below.