Story and Photos by Phil BonyataJanet Jackson has officially emerged from the rather large shadow of her infamous brother, Michael. This was Janet's make-up show at the Bradley Center Tuesday night. As many fans might remember, almost three months ago, she abruptly canceled her performance the day of the show after she chipped her tooth in rehearsals.
Jackson knows how to put on the Vegas flair with a true dancer's aplomb. As the curtains lifted Jackson sported a white fedora, skin-tight pants that highlighted her beautifully sculpted body and stood motionless on a 20 feet high pedestal. As the platform descended towards the stage another column followed her down with eight dancers in tow as the band broke into "Come on Get Up," a bouncy pop number from her hit album All For You. This set the tone for the rest of the show. In a much needed shot in the arm of escapism that many people need in light of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Janet played the friendly doctor. We obviously can't hide from the hard questions that we all have to find the heart to answer, but we also need diversions to help keep our sanity. Janet strutted with her dancers in perfect choreographed unison. Almost robotic in it's perfection. She also has one peculiar tendency like her brother and likes to grab her crotch a lot. A little can go a long way. Some things should be left for the privacy of the bedroom.
On the rusty R&B flavored "Trust a Try" to the funky and flirty "Rhythm Nation" Jackson created what many performers aren't always capable of doing and that's creating a fluid connection with the audience.
The set changed fast and often, from performers playing with huge toys in quirky bug costumes to the crew wearing ugly and deformed masks that didn't emphasize Janet's alienation as much as it took your eyes and attention away from the ever gyrating new Queen of Pop. Her 110 volt smile lit up the first few rows as she let her hips go in overdrive to the rhythmic beats of "That's the Way Love Goes." A most willing member of the audience got brought up to the stage by security guards and tied to a bondage rack as the wickedly sexy Jackson writhed in a circle around her "victim" like a black-widow spider eying her next satisfying meal.
Janet's final encore "Together Again" was appropriately fast and furious accompanied with enough swirling color to make Vincent Van Gogh turn green with envy.
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