Sunday, October 19, 2008
All Hail the Queen (of Pop)
After nearly 20 years, my dream finally came to fruition this past Friday...I saw one of my favorite performers live in concert: the one and only Janet Damita Jo Jackson! I've bought every album she has made since the Control album. The reason why I like her so much is because I am also the youngest sibling in my family. So I know what it's like to try to blaze your path and step out of the shadows of older siblings to fully establish yourself. And what a path she has blazed for herself! Multi-platinum albums, numerous #1 hits, millions of albums sold worldwide, and the only artist to have 7 top 5 singles from one album (not even Michael has been able to do that). She has paved the way for just about every female artist in the 90s and 00s with her intricate choreography alone (can you really imagine artists like Ciara if there were no Janet?)
When I found out back in May that she was going to be touring again and making a stop at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, NJ, I signed up for the Janet Jackson Fan Club just so I can get the advanced tickets. Yes they were a bit pricey cause I ordered a floor ticket, but hey, this was a golden opportunity. And who knows if she'll be touring any time again in the future? After all, this was her first tour in seven years. I was gonna take advantage of and fully enjoy this opportunity.
She cancelled and postponed a few concerts before the NJ one because of vertigo, so I was a little concerned that this one would follow the same fate. So to say tha I was so excited when I got the Izod Center was an understatement. I couldn't wait to take my seat and see the woman of the hour live and in person. And my friend that I came to the concert with pointed this out as well, but Janet is one of the few artists who can transcend every race, nationality, ages, and sexuality. There were people from ALL backgrounds there, which is a true testament to her superstar status. The concert was supposed to start at 7:30 (with LL Cool J as the opening act), but it actually didn't start til around 8:20, with no LL in sight. And honestly, who needs him? Janet doesn't need an opening act! So I didn't care at all that he wasn't there.
*WARNING...IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE CONCERT AND STILL PLAN ON GOING, DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER!*
The lights dimmed, and a booming voice comes over the intercom system. And suddenly, two oversized letter J's move out of the way to reveal the woman we all paid money to see. The crowd went crazy. And she looks the same in person as she does on TV. She was short and petite, yet she had a commanding stage presence. She had her hair in a mohawk, and she was wearing a beige and black catsuit (as shown in the pic above). And she is so beautiful! A few seconds after the spotlight turned on, she went into her first song of the night: "The Pleasure Principle." She then segued into such songs as "Escapade" and "Feedback." I was so happy I got a floor seat, cause when she walked to the front of the stage, I was able to see a nice view of her. I was not happy that I didn't have a digital camera with me. The tickets said "no cameras or recorders," but as soon as she stepped to the front of the stage, the cameras and lights were flashing. I was so over all of them! LOL I had my little cell phone, but that shit did not even compare. Ugh....oh well. The memories will be etched in my mind. As she went through hit after hit, costume change after costume change (including a gorgeous red evening gown she wore during one part), I think I only sat down for a few minutes. (Of course, that also had to do with everybody else standing up in front of me lol.)
Janet then stops to talks, and she says that people have been asking her why she doesn't do certain songs on tour. Hmmm....I wonder what songs she's talking about, I said to myself. "This is for the true diehard fans," she says before going into three songs from her very first two albums (the self-titled one and Dream Street): "Young Love," "Say You Do," and "Don't Stand Another Chance." That was truly a welcome surprise, cause I haven't heard those songs in a looooooooooooong time.
Then came the part that Janet has been known for for a few years...bringing up a male concertgoer to do the really sexual part of the show. This year she decided to choose the song "Discipline," and the lucky dude was a white, pretty cute dude that was sitting in the front row (that bastard lol). The song has an S&M-type of feel, so it was fitting that the female dancers tied him up with leather straps and metal hooks and suspended him horizontally at one point, while Ms. Jackson lied on the floor right beneath him. The dude was then lowered right on top of her, and she showed just how nasty she can be by pressing his head right into her cleavage. Then he was lowered onto the floor, and she got on top of him and simulated the riding position, then a 69 position. Everybody went crazy! And I know that dude will NEVER forget that day!
After a few more songs and costume changes, the unfortunate time came for her to exit stage left. Dressed in all white, she graciously thanks NJ for coming to see the show, and bid us good night. This was around 11:30. We all slowly filed out of the building to get into our cars.
People can say what they want about Janet. No she's not the greatest singer (which is also why I'm glad I bought the floor ticket), and yes her album sales haven't been selling the way they used to. Hell, what artist do you know has a multi-platinum album every single time? None! But there's no denying that you get your money's worth from her concerts. She is one of the best live performers you will ever see. Why the hell it took me so long to see it with my own eyes I will never understand, but oh well. Better late than never. And I'm so glad it wasn't too late. Now I can die in peace lol.