Janet Jackson performs at Riverbend. Photo by Michael Mitchell
By Mark Brown
It happens to be somewhat of a normal occurrence in the greater Cincinnati area– especially during the summer season, where the occasional storm knocks out power, and creates the inconvenience of that treasured commodity known as electricity.
Speaking of electricity, when entertainment icon Janet Jackson, Ms. Jackson, Janet or J² (for short) became a mother, many of her loyal fans thought that the now 52 year old Ms. Jackson would settle into motherhood, and not return to the concert stage–where her electrified performances often made her one of the most sought-after recording artists in music history. However brief it may have lingered, there was a slight concern that the electricity of a Janet Jackson concert might be lost forever.
But fear not J² fans, like most of the amazing Mom’s on this planet, Janet is proving she has adapted well to the juggling act that is motherhood and career life, as was apparent during her recent stop to Riverbend Music Center as part of her State Of The World Tour. And yes, Janet did what Janet does—restoring electricity in a matter of 5,4,3,2,1….
Armed with an extensive catalog of memorable hits that date-back to the mid-Eighties.
Janet kicked the night off dropping a subtle message about having proper “Knowledge” in this divisive, socially charged, society we live in. The message seemed quite timely for the ills of today, despite the fact the song hailed from her 1989 Rhythm Nation album…leaving one to ponder the adage “as some things change many things remain the same”.
With that as a starting point, along with an endless sea of adoring fans, the energy level was destine to only go higher—as Janet danced, glanced, moved, and soothed her way through a hefty montage of bouncy hits like “Nasty”, “Control”, “Miss You Much”, “What Have You Done for Me Lately”, “Alright”, and “Pleasure Principal.’’Pausing ever so slightly to slow the pace, J² made sure the electrified atmosphere would not blow a circuit— breaking in with the mid- tempo favorites, “All for You’’, “No Sleep”, “Love Will Never Do (Without You)”, and crowd pleaser, “That’s The Way Love Goes”. And for the lovers in the house? She covered that too– belting out sultry versions of “Anytime Anyplace”, “Wait Awhile”, and “Lonely”.
In epic fashion, J² and her crew of eight highly skilled dancers capped off the night restoring energy with club track “Throb”, and the duo “Scream””—done in tandem with video of brother Michael. In addition to Michael, she also took a personal moment to pay (video) tribute to her late father, Joe Jackson….patriarch of the Jackson dynasty.
A socially conscious Ms. Jackson ended the evening where she began addressing the issue of domestic violence during a riveting rendition of “What About”– which by applause was on-point and well received. But the evening would not have been complete without the classic countdown of 5,4,3,2,1….”Rhythm Nation” track ….which led into the tour title track “State of The World”.
Some 105 minutes, and twenty songs, later the state of our world may remain a question mark. But the state of Janet Jackson’s world? It seemed alive, restored, and “all-right” with everyone who attended….. ELECTRIC!