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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 2, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 35
Tamer Janet Jackson still a crowd-pleaser
Arts & Entertainment
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Tamer Janet Jackson still a crowd-pleaser

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Janet Jackson
August 29
McCaw Hall


If you're Janet Jackson and have a trunk load of hits stretching over four decades, the only way to squeeze them all into one show is to run them together. The R&B-pop diva's '#1s Tour' touched down at McCaw Hall on Wednesday night, yet it felt more like a 'medleys tour' with some of her biggest singles compacted into 10-minute segments.

The show began with a video snippet of 'Nasty,' followed by the band taking the stage dressed fully in white. Then Jackson appeared on an elevated platform, and the crowd went absolutely wild. She opened with 'The Pleasure Principle,' off 1986's chart-topping Control, but about two minutes into the song she wove it into the next number, the album's title track. 'What Have You Done For Me Lately' and 'Feedback' were also built into this first medley.

Wearing black pants, black boots, a white jacket, and with long, frizzy hair, the international star was in excellent physical form - and she needed to be to nail a series of crisp, choreographed moves throughout the concert. Seven young dancers surrounded Jackson for almost the duration of the performance, displaying sharp, intricate moves themselves.

'Seattle, do you want more?' yelled Jackson out to the audience, and the response was as loud as thunder. She then said, 'You want this!' and went right into the song 'You Want This,' clumped together with 'Alright,' 'Miss You Much,' and 'Nasty.' She did extend 'Miss You Much' to its standard length and all around the theater, from the orchestra pit to the boxed seats, people were definitely getting their groove on. A woman in front of me danced up a storm as her teenage daughter looked on with amazement and amusement.

While Jackson took a breather, clips of her TV and film appearances - including roles in Good Times, Different Strokes, and Poetic Justice - were shown on a large screen.

'Nothing,' 'Come Back to Me,' 'Let's Wait Awhile,' and 'Again' were assembled in a ballads medley, as Jackson was seated on a stool at the foot of the stage. At moments, her voice was so soft that it sounded like a whisper. When she paused between notes or verses, girly screams - from women and men - could be heard around the venue.

A slideshow of album covers, posters, and magazine inserts preceded 'Escapade,' 'Love Will Never Do (Without You),' 'When I Think of You,' and a full-length rendition of 'All for You.' Another number played in its entirety was 'That's the Way Love Goes,' although her vocals were too hushed.

'If' was fiery and sounded awesome in the mid-sized theater. 'Scream,' a collaboration with brother Michael, was a nice surprise on the set list, and footage of the actual video was displayed on screen. Jackson closed out the main portion of the show with 'Rhythm Nation,' which featured impeccable, harmonious footwork from everyone on stage.

'Together Again' was the lone entry played during the encore. The audience, who'd been on their feet from the beginning, were clapping and going frantic at the same time. Jackson thanked everyone for their support and acknowledged that night as Michael's birthday - he would've been 53.

This was a good show - there was nothing bad about it - but impressive it was not. Given that Janet Jackson is an icon, a legend in her own right, and a woman who revolutionized music as both a recording and video artist, this concert didn't represent the caliber of a performer she really is. The girl can move - by golly, she's still got tremendous precision when it comes to choreography - yet Wednesday's show was not the maverick performance of an actual maverick.

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