Review: Janet Jackson still a trend-setter, diva, and marvelous performer

In the fad-hungry world of pop music, seven years is a lifetime.

Many who make it to the tops of the charts one year will be nothing but a frothy memory seven years after their career climax.

But Janet Jackson – who launched her first tour in seven years Wednesday night with a high-voltage performance at GM Place – has a secure place in the pop world. The soft-spoken diva has a fan base and track record that allow her the rare privilege of hiding from the spotlight for years at a time before breaking out again.

When she decides it's time for a tour, Janet Jackson makes sure it's done right.

But when she decides it’s time for a tour, Ms. Jackson makes sure it’s done right. And when she promises fans the show is going to be packed with hits, costumes and dancers, she doesn’t disappoint.

Within the first 10 minutes of the show, Jackson powered through four hits, covering material that spanned an impressive 22 year range. The opening set made it abundantly clear that Jackson has weathered many different musical trends and eras, but has always remained an individual.

Blasting off with The Pleasure Principle, off her 1986 breakthrough album, Control, Jackson quickly set the tone for a show that had a serious celebratory party vibe. The 42-year-old danced and sang her way through What Have You Done for Me Lately and onto Feedback, the lead single off her most recent album, Discipline.

With an ear-piercing blast of pyrotechnics, a fog of thick cloud and dancers that popped up out of the stage and runway, Jackson proved within the first few minutes that she didn’t choose the low-budget route for her Rock Witchu Tour.

The costume changes came fast and furious, ranging from futuristic space wear to a sailor-inspired number that included a curious corset to a long red sequined gown – which she wore for her slowed-down set of four ballads (including Come Back to Me, Let’s Wait Awhile and Again). Nine dancers did their best to keep up with her on stage, a video screen behind showed graphics and images to enhance the mood, moveable staircases created layered interest, and a band worked away off to the side.

The crowd – which didn’t quite fill the stadium – was on the quiet side to begin with, but exploded with high-pitched cheers for mega-hits like Nasty, Miss You Much and Together Again.

But it was after that last tune – Janet’s eighth No. 1 hit on the Billboard charts – that the audience went wild.

For what seemed like minutes, Jackson stood alone, at the end of the runway, gesturing gratitude with her hands and allowing a few tears to roll down her cheeks. Judging from the screams, that kind of emotional display from Ms. Janet  was worth more to the 11,000 or so fans than all the dance moves in her repertoire.

But while Jackson can be endearingly sweet and tender, she can play nasty just as well, if not better.

Toward the end of the more than two-hour show, Jackson put on an S&M display that would have either made you blush with embarrassment or flushed with lust, depending on your range of sexual fantasies.

For one enthusiastic male fan, it might have actually been a fantasy come true as he was hoisted up on stage, walked towards a torture-like device, and hoisted into various compromising positions as Ms. Janet and her dancers had their way with him. But it was probably a good thing there were barely any young kids in the crowd.

Rhythm Nation, one of Jackson’s signature classics, was one of the last songs of the night and was presented with so many deafening fireworks explosions, I briefly felt we were under attack.

And, in a sense, we were. Janet Jackson’s latest choreographed concert spectacle is an aggressive reminder to the world that she is a woman who has risen above fads and scandal (who can forget the famous Superbowl wardrobe malfunction?). It is a reminder that she is a trend-setter in her own right, a true diva, and a marvelous performer.


Thanks to Amy O’Brian, Vancouver Sun


The tour kicks off!

Janet Jackson kicked off her new Rock With U tour in Vancouver on Wednesday to amazing reviews!

“It is a reminder that she is a trend-setter in her own right, a true diva, and a marvelous performer,” says the critic for the Vancouver Sun.

The show lasted a whopping 2.5 hours, featured around 10 dancers and just as many costume changes for Miz Jackson.

Here is the amazing (final) set list for the concert:

Pleasure Principle
What Have You Done For Me Lately
You Want This
Miss You Much
Rhythm Nation – Interlude
Never Letchu Go
Come Back To Me
Let’s Wait Awhile
So Excited
So Much Betta
All Nite (Don’t Stop)
Rock With U
Together Again
Young Love
Say You Do
Don’t Stand Another Chance
Doesn’t Really Matter
Love Will Never Do (Without You)
When I Think Of You
All For You
Got ‘Til It’s Gone
Call On Me
That’s The Way Love Goes
I Get Lonely
Funny How Time Flies (When You’re Having Fun)
Any Time, Any Place
Black Cat
Rhythm Nation


Janet gets emotional honoring big bros at the BMI Urban Awards

All of the Jackson brothers except Michael and Jermaine showed up to the BMI Urban Awards ceremony Thursday night, where the singing brothers were honored with the prestigious Icon award.


       Although T-Pain’s was the big winner during the 8th annual ceremony, which took place at the Wilshire Theatre in Beverly Hills, headlines from the evening were focused on Michael Jackson’s big no-show.   


      Parents Katherine and Joseph Jackson were on hand, as were sisters LaToya, Rebbie and Janet, who got choked up while introducing her brothers Tito, Randy, Jackie and Marlon as they received their Icon award.


       “Family is the most important commodity that all of us have,” she said. “I am so proud to be able to salute my brothers.”      

Janet Jackson and her brothers (minus Michael) at 2008 BMI Urban Awards

        According to People magazine, Janet called off the names of each brother and said, “I salute you for your talent and your musical gifts you’ve given the world. I tell you that every time we speak. I’m so excited to salute you!”        

       While Michael didn’t make it to the event, his brothers offered their support for him and his upcoming album. “We haven’t heard it, but we’ve heard about it,” Randy told reporters. “It’s going to be great.”       

       Earlier in the evening, T-Pain earned the coveted Songwriter of the Year crown and shared the Producer of the Year trophy with crossover king Jonathan “J.R.” Rotem and hip-hop star Kanye West. Song of the Year honors went to Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable,” co-written by Ne-Yo, Amund Bjøerklund and Espen Lind, while Universal Music Publishing Group secured the Publisher of the Year title.            

       Throughout the ceremony, the audience also enjoyed live performances of many of the award-winning songs by music’s biggest stars including Rick Ross, T-Pain, Lil’ Wayne, Ray J, Lloyd, Mario, JoJo, Keri Hilson and Yung Berg.


LL Cool J Joins Janet Jackson On The Rock Witchu Tour!

Attention Fans! LL Cool J is joining Janet Jackson on the ROCK WITCHU TOUR heading to a city near you soon! Check out the dates below for more information on when and where they’ll be performing together.

Thu9/25/  Chicago, IL  AllState  Arena
  Sat9/27/  Detroit, MI  The Palace of  Auburn Hills  
  Sun9/28/  Toronto  Air  Canada  Centre 
  Mon9/29/  Montreal  Bell  Centre   
  Wed10/1/  Boston, MA  TD Banknorth  Garden 
  Thu10/2/  Philadelphia, PA  Wachovia Center 
  Sat10/4/  Greensboro, NC  Greensboro  Coliseum 
  Sun10/5/  Atlanta, GA  Philips  Arena   
  Tue10/7/  Ft.  Lauderdale, FL  BankAtlantic Center  
  Sat10/11/  Uncasville, CT  Mohegan Sun  Casino 
  Wed10/15/  Washington, DC  Verizon Center 
  Thu10/16  New  York, NY  Madison Square Garden
  Fri10/17/  East Rutherford, NJ  Izod Center
  Tue10/21/  Houston, TX  Toyota Center