Considering that this is Janet Jackson’s first set of live performances in 3 years and a whopping 16 years since she has set foot in Singapore, fans definitely came out in full force for her Number Ones: Up Close and Personal world tour which hits our shores fresh from its opening night in Manila.
After all, Singapore had been selected among 35 countries as a result of frantic fan votes online and Singapore came in second in terms of the city with the highest demand for the pop diva.
Jackson, who has sold more than 100 million albums worldwide, performed in celebration of her best hits from second compilation album, Number Ones.
The concert was even attended by celebrities, Malaysian singer, Siti Nurhaliza, and US country superstar, Taylor Swift, who also kicked off her Speak Now World Tour 2011 at the Singapore Indoor Stadium last night.
It was a mass family-affair-slash-date night and the crowd, consisting of large family groups and couples, took their time filling up the seats in the Singapore Indoor Stadium. They were more than supportive even despite an hour’s wait, riddled with screenings of Jackson’s videos such as the music video of her song, “If”, while her video dedication of “Someone to Call My Lover” to Singapore promised the most intimate show possible.
Jackson burst out in a futuristic metallic grey skin-tight suit, running through an energetic medley of songs including “The Pleasure Principle”, “Feedback”, “Miss You Much” and “Nasty”, showing off her short cropped hair and dance moves that could silence even the most fervent of her haters.
The choreography was impeccable and made for an amazingly riveting stage performance, aided by her bevy of dancers, band and backup singers. Her voice was, of course, in top form as well – an amazing feat coupled with her punishing dance routines, straight out from some of her music videos. The stage never ever left Jackson’s control; and the absence of all special effects kept the focus on her and the few dancers flanking her.
In between 2 breaks for costume changes, video montages transported fans back to the days where she first dazzled us on screen in her 1970s debut on TV sitcom, Good Times while the photos captured the Jackson’s transformational journey and evolution from sweet sixteen to sexy diva today.
When Janet reemerged in a salmon pink gown with sparkly sequined shoulder pads and heels, it was with soaring ballads like “Come Back To Me” “Let’s Wait Awhile” and “Again”, which the mostly older crowd swayed their way through.
Numbers like “Escapade”, “All For You”, “Doesn’t Really Matter” and “All For You” got the entire stadium on their feet again, and they remained standing right through to the last part of the night, which brought out Janet’s more rock-tinged songs like “Black Cat”, “Rhythm Nation” and “Scream”. One letdown was how brief some of the songs were – such is the dilemma of a diva such a Janet Jackson, with a repertoire of 35 number one songs to choose from.
She closed the show with “Together Again” from 1996 album, The Velvet Rope. It was a rather bittersweet moment, as Janet, who had spent her whole career asserting herself as an artist separate from Michael Jackson, flashed childhood photos of themselves in a tribute to her elder brother and departed King of Pop.
The whole stadium sang along to the lyrics “I know we’ll be together again because/ Everywhere I go/ Every smile I see/ I know you are there/ Smiling back at me”.
It was truly a night catered to her fans, devoid of pyrotechnics or any special effects, but nobody present would have been able to dispute that Ms Jackson still has it.
Photos are courtesy of Nur MD from Offshore Entertainment Production