Concert Review: Janet Jackson Brings Social Issues & Seduction To “State Of The World Tour”

Concert Review: Janet Jackson Brings Social Issues & Seduction To “State Of The World Tour”
Janet Jackson performs at Scope in Norfolk on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017

Janet Jackson performs at Scope in Norfolk on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017

Janet Jackson has proven that age isn’t a factor for her at 51 years old. Jackson had postponed the remaining dates of her “Unbreakable World Tour” last year as she announced that she was planning a family with her husband, Wissam Al Mana. Birthing her firstborn, Eissa in January, Jackson managed to lose 70 pounds prior to resuming her newly-titled “State of the World Tour” in September.

As the audience awaited the Queen of Pop, Jackson’s accompanying DJ attempted to distract the crowd as she was set to open at 8 p.m. Aside from spinning obscure tracks and remixes by Jackson, DJ Aktive also spun hits by her siblings, 90’s dance songs, and current hits. There was amusement within the audience as a man and a woman had a dance off at the center of the floor and there was a Michael Jackson impersonator.

As it was nearing 9 o’clock, the illumination in the Scope Arena dimmed. Jackson’s stage was obscured by three LCD screens with a montage denouncing white supremacy, domestic terrorism and police brutality. As the compelling images and sounds filled the stage, Jackson’s silhouette dramatically appeared behind a giant curtain, which lifted as she began with “The Knowledge” off her 1989 classic album “Rhythm Nation 1814.” While the concert was a remembrance of her timeless catalog, there were undertones of socially conscious messages.

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After a dance-heavy medley of hits such as “Nasty” and “Miss You Much,” Jackson tackled 1997 deep-cut “What About” with dancers acting out domestic violence scenarios. As the song intensified, the lighting of the stage altered from blue to red as Jackson sang angrily. Emotional throughout the song, Jackson proclaimed at the end, “This is me.” Fittingly, Jackson closed the concert with “Well Traveled” that pays tribute to the many roads she’s traveled since her breakthrough with “Control” in ’86. As Jackson deals with separation from her husband and raising her firstborn, she appeared ecstatic to be on stage and free.

Rating: 8/10