Getting to see Janet Jackson live in concert last night was like watching my whole life flash before my eyes. As the night went on, I was basically reminded of every single phase I've gone through since childhood. Her music has quite literally been in the background of my life since elementary school. Unlike other artists in the pop genre who have had their fleeting moment in the spotlight and then faded away into oblivion, Janet has withstood the test of time. She's remained an individual and a trail blazer in an increasingly saturated industry, filled with wannabes and copycats. Janet is the real deal.
Kristina, Deanna and I arrived at GM Place early to find our seats in the upper bowl. Tickets prices were steep, so we all agreed that since we go to so many shows, we'd better start opting for cheaper tickets to some of them. Our seats upstairs were great though, and we were pleased as punch- that is, until we discovered that (despite rumours running rampant on the radio all day long) LL Cool J would not be opening the show. Rather, a DJ would take the stage and basically play The Beat's regular rotation of bullshit for an hour before the show started. Yawn fest 2008.
After a brief intermission, the lights went off again and it was time for the show to start. I could feel my heart pounding with excitement as the music for The Pleasure Principle began. When she came out on stage, Janet's look reminded me of the video for Control. She was thicker than she typically is for a tour and her hair was big and poofy. I liked how it reminded me of 1986. (On a side note, I secretly enjoy the fact that Janet struggles with her weight like the rest of us normal girls- and let me just say, her body looked hot, and dang, can she move it- no matter what size she is!)
In the first 10 minutes, Janet powered through four hits, covering material from her vast musical catalogue. It was at this point that I noticed Kristina was no longer beside me. I looked up to see that she was running toward us with three tickets for the lower bowl in her hand and a huge smile on her face. Turns out, due to the crazy ticket prices, the show hadn't sold out, so they were offering upgrades to those seated in our section. SCORE! We ran as fast as we could down the stairs and quickly settled into our new seats in row 19 (which FYI, were $160 at face value). We were pumped!
The show was absolutely incredible, from start to finish. A true entertainer, Janet Jackson did not disappoint. She did oh so many hits (including If, the video for which I wrote a whole report about back in grade six for my class "Music: An Articulation.) At one time, I knew all the choreography from that video too (oh, who am I kidding? I could still bust out some moves.) Her set list contained more memories than I have room to share here. I loved every single song that she performed and she performed every single song that I love.
Random Highlights and Notes from the Night:
- The zillions of costume changes kept things interesting. I must admit, I definitely didn't love them all (or any of them), but the frequency at which they happened was certainly fun. Her first costume (which she happens to be wearing in every photo that the papers and gossip sites have chosen to publish) was by far the least flattering.
- I was completely in awe of the energy oozing from the 42 year-old singer as she pulled some of the most incredible dance moves capable of by the human body. Clearly channelling her brother Michael at some moments, it was obvious that performing is second nature to this babe. She does it flawlessly.
- The threesome- two girls and a guy-who were in the row in front of us were absolutely adorable and quite entertaining in their own right. They danced their asses off like I've never seen before and sang every single word. They were shakin' their booties with as much ambition as the nine dancers trying to keep up with Janet on stage. Notable quotes heard coming from their group included: "I think I have heartburn!" and "Show us your boob! We want a wardrobe malfunction!"
- The "finger point" seems to be the signature dance move for the classic "Janet Fan." There were fingers pointing everywhere in that place last night. I'm lucky that I didn't lose an eye.
- Janet was openly sobbing on stage at one special moment. (I'm sure it won't surprise any you that I almost cried too.) It was clear how blown away she was by the response from the fans as we cheered and screamed and really just radiated love for her.
The stage, costumes and special effects were all remarkable and elaborate, but despite being so extreme, they didn't show her up. The soft spoken Miss Jackson was not so soft spoken on stage. She held the crowd in the palm of her hand from the moment that she emerged on stage. Her presence absolutely blew me away. I could not be more thankful that I finally got to see this truly fine performer do her thing live.
Now, if you'll please excuse me, I have to go practice my dance moves. Gimme a beat!