Janet Jackson's Number Ones Tour one of the most memorable
Janet Jackson @ Rod Laver Arena, Nov 3
Review by Jordana Borensztajn
Janet Jackson’s long-awaited Melbourne gig ended with such huge emotion that any faults or flaws shown throughout her performance were forgotten and forgiven by the end of her 75-minute set.
Jackson was originally supposed to play three small and intimate Number Ones – Up Close and Personal showsfor Melbourne fans. But last week she rescheduled her concerts to fly back to the States to support her family as MJ's painful manslaughter trial came to a close.
While Jackson’s gig wasn’t up close and personal at Rod Laver Arena, she did deliver on her #1s promise. In fact, it was so hard to squeeze in her massive catalogue of hits that most tracks were sang in medleys.
Jackson’s gig was a time warp – right back to the 80s and 90s. Hits like “That’s The Way Love Goes”, “Escapade”, “Miss You Much” and “Rhythm Nation” were obvious stand-outs.
But it wasn’t just the music that turned back the clock. Her back-up dancers, her style, the way she delivered her songs, the small band she performed with, and her minimalist (and seemingly low-budget) production looked like something she could have easily performed two decades ago.
When comparing Jackson’s gig to the massive spectacles by today’s pop icons like Lady Gaga and Katy Perry, it didn’t compare. But in a way, that’s what added to its charm. Jackson didn’t modernise her routine at all.
Hitting the stage in black boots, black jeans, a white jacket with shoulder studs, a big diamante skull belt and diamonte braces, Jackson’s stylist should be fired. It wasn’t a flattering look.
Granted, she’s 45, and no doubt experiencing emotional hardships, Jackson looked tired. Further, she appeared to have lost some of the groove, style and sass that used to come so naturally to her in her heyday.
But these elements became only minor drawbacks once she started to show the crowd real emotion.
Jackson thanked her Melbourne fans, acknowledging their patience and understanding. “I want thank you for allowing us to come back,” she said. “Thank you for all of your love and support through the years -- not just for me but my entire family. Thank you so much. It means so much to me.”
As much as Jackson has attempted to distance herself from Michael’s career over the years, the real highlights last night involved tributes to the King of Pop.
Deafening roars filled the arena when a huge image of Michael was displayed on screen through a performance of “Scream” -- the only collaboration the siblings ever worked on together.
But the hardest-hitting and most bittersweet treat came in her closing track. As Jackson ripped into her 1997 smash and arguably one of her best hits “Together Again”, childhood photos of Janet and Michael were displayed on massive screens behind her.
With lyrics like "Everywhere I go/ every smile I see/ I know you are there/ smilin’ back at me…Dancin' in moonlight/ I know you are free/ Cuz' I can see your star/ Shinin' down on me" this poignant performance gave the whole audience goosebumps.
Despite not putting on a flashy show or an entirely impressive performance, Jackson’s gig was one of the most memorable. The weight she carries as a pop icon is undeniable and witnessing her deliver the greatest tracks of her career, through such a difficult period of her life, was privilege and an honour.