by Michael Mullenix
Janet Jackson is a music legend, along with her Jackson’s family and late brother Michael and has had (too many to count) epic hit songs since her first chart-topping ‘Nasty” in 1984. Her album Control was a game changer. She racked up numerous awards and 19 top singles.
Although Jackson had many fans waiting almost a year when she postponed her current tour due to her amazing pregnancy at age 50. The delay just made the show more meaningful, relevant and memorable. Jackson revived her concert tour in support for her 2015 album, Unbreakable, (now renamed the State Of The World Tour) and is reshaping the theme of the tour to include more socially conscious themes of inclusion, social injustice, and rising fascism. We applaud this.
With no opening act, Janet took center stage an hour and a half after doors opened to the song ‘The Knowledge’ and followed up with the spectacular ‘State Of The World’, both from her 1989 release Rhythm Nation 1814. These songs featured Janet in a large winter coat and brandishing a large staff as images of the current political landscape played in the background. Afterwards the setting changed and as well as Janet’s outfits, and Janet was now formally joined onstage by an ensemble of background dancers. Besides herself, the dancers, videos, set changes and wardrobe changes were the biggest highlights of the show.
Between medleys of her decades of hit songs such as ‘Control, What Have You Done For Me Lately, You Want This, and Feedback’, the flow of Janet’s show seemed to jump from one period of her career to the next. After the performance of ‘Love Will Never Do’, the stage was cleared while a video interlude played before Jackson retook the stage with a new outfit and went into her song, ‘Again’. In many respects, her performance resembled a musical-drama, with the same kind of flow, set changes, and even dramatic acting. During the song ‘What About’, the background dancers pushed and berated each other onstage, acting out dysfunctional and abusive relationships. This made us wonder about any personal life experiences that influence her music. At other times the dancers would gather in center of the stage, showing off their dance moves as if they were purely entertaining each other, almost oblivious to the crowd in front of them. After one final interlude Janet returned to the stage for a rather quick procession of the songs, ‘Black Eagle, New Agenda, Damn Baby, I Get Lonely, and Well Traveled’. An interesting choice ending the night on one of her more recent hits from the most recent album instead of one of her established staples, but a perfect sendoff for the night. We love her message of love and unity and using her voice in this crazy, political world we live in. This is a must-see tour that doesn’t disappoint. Check out the tour info and view the set list.