Janet Jackson Reminded Toronto Why She's an Icon

Budweiser Stage, May 23

With Ludacris

Photo: Kim Jay

BY Vernon AyikuPublished May 26, 2023

Signalling the official start of summer in Toronto, Janet Jackson christened the city's Budweiser Stage on Tuesday night with a massive 40-song set list.

Hitting the road for the first time in nearly 40 years, the pop icon, 56, announced her 33-city North American tour — Appropriately titled the "Together Again Tour" after her 1997 hit — on Instagram last year after a successful Las Vegas residency in 2019. Jackson gave an electrified Toronto crowd an almost two hour show, filled with highly tailored singing and dancing as she ran through as many of her hits as possible. 
The show — which started precisely as scheduled, 7:45 PM on the dot, was opened by Hip-Hop heavyweight and new Hollywood Walk of Fame resident Ludacris. Also returning to the road, the Atlanta rapper-turned-movie star brought as many Hollywood props as possible as he pulled out his famous "big-ass" white Nike Air Force 1s to perform his 2003 hit "Stand-Up," his giant prosthetic arms for his performance of "Get Back" and finally his massive Fast X co-star Vin Diesel helped him do his verse on DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win," as they celebrated being number one at the box office.  
Staying on schedule, Jackson graced the stage at 8:50 PM sharp, dressed in a velvet robe flanked by four male backup dancers as she sang "Damita Jo." From there, she took off on a wave of rising hype, as she sang pop hits like "All For You," dance tracks like "Feedback" and love ballads like "Any Time, Any Place," all while commanding and using the stage at a level only seen by another performer with the last name Jackson.   
With four outfit changes in total, the show was a textbook example of showmanship, capping off with two of her biggest hits, "Scream" and "Rhythm Nation." 

As an encore she performed the titular "Together Again" to an emotional crowd that probably could have watched her perform for another 30 minutes. Starting the song backstage in front of her make-up mirror, a big screen showed Jackson slowly returning to the stage, as the excitement built for a final time that night. As the chorus hit, the crowd sang along with tears in their eyes, as Janet herself — visibly emotional — took a moment to deservedly celebrate herself.
Feeling more like a great Broadway show than your typical pop concert, Jackson's performance left the Toronto crowd with a sensation akin to the warm feeling in your heart after watching your favourite movie for the 100th time. From her professionalism to her commanding presence to her one-of-a-kind music catalogue, Janet Jackson is reminding the world precisely why she's an icon.

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