By Dashaun Simmons
It’s been seven years since the Super Bowl, which altered the trajectory of Janet Jackson’s music career. She’s gone from performing in arenas in front of over 10,000 fans, to Radio City Music Hall. While the hall is a prestigious venue, it’s a far cry from the huge arenas she’s toured in the past. After an almost 20-year career in music and acting you have to wonder if this is just the normal progression of an artist of her caliber, or the repercussions of showing a little too much to the public?
Janet’s arrival onstage was met with both applause and screams as she stood before the audience towering in high heels and a one piece showing enough cleavage to make Jermaine Dupri cry (at least you had em JD). Even the women in attendance had to take a deep breath as they along with their dates looked in awe. There was also a collective sense of worry in the air, as the heels limited Janet’s ability to dance. Thankfully that didn’t last very long. After the first act, Janet through on her dancing shoes and got down and dirty, even making her back up dancers look weak. Although she’s a little older, Janet still brings the goods to her performances. She took us through a musical journey from her days of rocking skintight Guess jeans with songs like “When I Think of You” and “Control” all the way up to current hits like “Feedback”. Watching Janet perform the dance routine from Rhythm Nation at age 44 you’re reminded why she’s lasted this long. Janet is a true performer. She’s always entertained with a mix of excellent dancing combined with a gentle voice and sex appeal to tie it all together, and this night was no different. The band backing Janet nailed everyone of her classics. They seemed enthused to play for her as they rode every song to its final note.
Several times in between songs a large screen above the stage showed images reaching back as far as Janet playing little Penny on Good Times and the lovely more mature Charlene on Different Strokes. But it was images of a young Michael and Janet together that brought tears to the fans of both icons. Her performance of “Scream” with her brother’s large image looming above was the emotional zenith of the evening. As fans we may miss the King of Pop, but Janet misses her big brother. This intimate evening proved that when it comes to the stage even if slightly smaller, Janet is still number one.