Monday, March 28, 2011

"You might think I'm crazy, but I'm serious."

If I look that good in a skin-tight bodysuit when I'm 44, life will be grand.

It's been a while since I've done any sort of writeup for a show. In fact, it appears that the last show I blogged about was when I saw The Ravonettes in October of 2009. Rest assured, there have been shows in the interim - Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings, Yeasayer, Beach House, Lady Gaga, Crystal Castles, Hall and Oates, and probably a few others that I can't recall at the moment. This is all to say that I've been a bad music blogger. So I'm here to remedy with a report on this weekend's Janet Jackson show at the Borgata in Atlantic City.

The Borgata Events Center is shockingly small. I expected an intimate venue, but we're talking about 2,000 seats, maybe less. That being the case, I imagine that there wasn't a bad seat in the house, but the 14th row was still a good place to be (albeit not in the center section). In reality, it could have been General Admission on the floor, but I digress.

At each show on this tour, Janet dedicates a song to that city. This seems to me a simple way of giving something distinctive to each performance, though I wonder what real value the gesture has. What this amounted to was being teased with the video for "The Pleasure Principle" just prior to Janet taking the stage.

Then the band launched into their live rendition of the track, one of my favorites from 1986's Control LP.

After that, it was pretty much hit after hit, which was to be expected given that the tour is promoting her Number Ones collection (I pointed out the punctuation error while we waited for the show to start). I can't find a full setlist but they were pretty much all there - "Control," "Miss You Much," "If," "That's the Way Love Goes," "What Have You Done for Me Lately," "Nasty," "Rhythm Nation," "Escapade," "Together Again," ""You Want This," "Alright," "Love Will Never Do (Without You)," and more that I can't remember. There was even a bit of "Scream." Good stuff. There was also a nice little segment of ballads including "Come Back to Me," "Let's Wait Awhile" and "Again," the latter of which never fails to remind me of eighth grade dances. The only jams I really wanted to hear but were absent were "Black Cat" and "Go Deep." Alas and alack (though they have popped up on other dates).

At these pop shows, I'm always critical of lip syncing. It was one of the things that most bothered me about the Lady Gaga show, though it was expected. I watched and listened closely to Miss Jackson ('cause I'm nasty), and had a difficult time distinguishing whether or not she was singing live. These leads me to believe that either a) she was singing live or b) is adept at masking the fact that she's lip syncing. My guess is that ultimately, it was a mix of both.

While some of her dancing duties were relegated to the troupe of backup dancers she had on stage, Janet really brought it at key moments with the iconic moves from her signature videos ("Miss You Much," "Rhythm Nation," "If," for example). I was a little saddened that "Miss You Much" was done sans chair routine, though.

In short, it was a great show, well worth the ticket and the trip.

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