Janet Jackson Rogers Arena, Vancouver BC, September 26

Janet Jackson Rogers Arena, Vancouver BC, September 26
Photo: Kim Jay

The audience at Rogers Arena got a solid dose of '90s nostalgia last night (September 26) as R&B legend Janet Jackson made the Vancouver stop on her "State of the World" Tour. She didn't disappoint die-hard fans, who spanned generations and gave Jackson so much love that the 51-year-old got emotional. "You mean a great deal to me," Jackson said at one point, recounting the tours she had started in Vancouver and all the appreciation she had received over the years as adoring concertgoers threw gifts onto the stage.
The R&B icon made her entrance onstage gracefully, dressed in a long black coat, spinning a cane and spitting out the words to "The Knowledge." Nowadays it's commonplace for touring singers to dip into politics, but Jackson didn't linger on it — throughout the evening, snippets of old music videos and artsy shots of Jackson complemented songs like "Twenty Foreplay," "That's the Way Love Goes" and "If."
The beginning was a little slow, but Jackson and her backup dancers quickly reached peak energy, popping and locking around the stage in sneakers and boots. The backups spanned body type and age — two teen dancers really killed it during "Escapade" and "Dammn Baby" — not to mention race and gender. Due to the sheer volume of Jackson's discography, the hit-maker favoured medleys, linking together tracks like "Nasty," "What Have You Done For Me Lately" and "All For You," to name a few.
"What About" was the poignant high point in the evening, and featured some theatrical, contemporary dance in which dancers acted out various domestic and drug abuse situations as Jackson led them through an empowering routine. Jackson was rarely not moving, which was fitting, as she's known as much for her dancing as for her catchy tunes and understated voice. At times, that voice was overpowered by the music, but this is commonplace in her recordings too.
On the whole, Jackson was lovely and grateful, and her strong but adorable stage persona (she giggled girlishly on more than one occasion) charmed the audience. After having spent nearly her entire life in show business, Jackson is in excellent physical condition and has stayed true to her style — including on "Rhythm Nation," which got a massive reaction from the crowd and featured the original iconic dance routine.
The encore featured the likes of "Runaway" and "Someone to Call My Lover." All in all, the "State of the World" Tour celebrated the long career of a woman who — having initially postponed it to have a child — shows a continued dedication to performance. The love for her is strong, and that fantastic Jackson showmanship is still prominent.