Anyone who knows me, or frequents this blog, knows that I’m a huge Janet Jackson fan. She is my favourite artist of all time. So when I heard her Up Close and Personal tour was coming to Toronto, I bought my tickets without even thinking about it. I’d only seen Janet in concert once before, in 2008 on the ill-fated Rock Wit You tour. I was convinced she’d never tour again, and I felt lucky that I got to see her live. But she is touring again, going all over the world, and her stop in Toronto was everything I wanted it to be.
The first time I saw Janet in concert, I cried when she came out on the stage. I’ve pretty much grown up watching her concert DVD’s, so to see her doing those songs live, doing the same dance moves that I spent hours learning, literally blew my mind. The same thing happened at the show on Saturday. By the end I was weeping. Yes, I’m a huge Janet fan.
This show was in a much smaller venue than her last one, and the crowd was a lot older and more mature. It was husbands and wives, older ladies, and people who looked to be in their late 20’s or early 30’s. It was the people who had grown up with Janet and love her old stuff. The smaller venue definitely made the show feel more intimate. There was no jumbo-tron with close up shots of her face, no big elaborate sets or props. It was just Janet, eight dancers and a full band and backup singers. All of the extras didn’t even matter, because at 44, Janet still performs like she did when she was in her 20’s.
In the show, she only did songs from her ‘Number Ones’ album, which was good because it was all her hits, I knew all of the songs. The downside to that was she didn’t do some of her songs that I love that weren’t number ones, like “Got Till It’s Gone”, “So Excited”, or “Someone to Call My Lover.” However, it was jam after jam, and I loved it. At some points it felt like a club, since everyone around us was dancing and singing at the top of their lungs, having the best time.
Before the show, I told friends that I’d start to boo if she changed some of her iconic, orignal choreography. I’m so happy to say that she kept EVERYTHING the same. She did the same crotch grab during “If”, the same breakdown in “All For You”, and the same movement in “I Get Lonely” and “That’s the Way Love Goes.” I was doing the choreography in my seat, not caring who I elbowed.
Janet looked gorgeous with her new short haircut, and effortlessly danced and sang like she did back in the day. The show was so emotional for me. Every time a new song would start, I’d literally clutch my forehead and put my head between my legs, no lie. It felt like I couldn’t handle everything I was feeling. I was so freaking happy to be there, and watch Janet perform the songs I love.
At the end of the show, she did “Scream”, “Make Me”, and the final song “Together Again”, that she sang as images of her and Michael flashed on the screen behind her. Everyone in the audience seemed to be touched. I could barely breathe. It was an incredible way to end the show.
I’ve been saying recently that Janet’s music has saved my life. Being a lonely, shy, awkward kid and teenager, it was her music and concert DVD’s that would keep me company. There was one summer when all I did was dance the “All For You” concert DVD. Her music has brought me so much joy, and helped me through some difficult times, so seeing her live is an emotional experience. I had the best time, and hopefully I’ll get to see her perform many more times in the future.