Number Ones: Up Close and Personal Tour
Fillmore Miami Beach
December 5, 2011
Better Than: You could imagine.
All throughout Art Basel Miami Beach week, musicians of varying talent levels strummed, sang, banged, and twiddled with knobs, impressing us at times, disappointing at others. The thing is, none of them made us feel the way that Janet Jackson did last night at the Fillmore Miami Beach.
In a word, she was fantastic. It was like going to your first concert all over again. Like eating your favorite ice cream at the beach. Like seeing Janet Jackson live!
Her show was a pleasure to watch, vacillating between performances and videos. It was a concert that held the crowd's attention the whole time.
Closing out the American leg of her world tour Number Ones: Up Close and Personal, Ms. Jackson's energy, charisma, and skills filled the Fillmore with glee.
At 45, she still looks fabulous, keeping up with her much younger dancers. But for a few songs where she sat in front of the audience, Jackson danced like a woman half her age, doing yoga-like moves and bending over at the waist, singing the whole time.
She also brought a whole live band and three backup sirens. It was a real show of Janet's goods, complete with endless dance moves that involved the diva rejecting male dancers eager to show her how awesome they were. Classic Janet.
The King of Pop's little sister even satisfied fans' nostalgic desires with her biggest hits and best acting clips.
A video of "Together Again" kicked off the night. It seemed to say that the song was dedicated to her late brother Michael. Then Janet started strong with the flirty and fun "Pleasure Principle."
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With her short hair in curls and wearing a shimmery white jean jacket, Ms. Jackson's outfit was as nostalgic as her songs. She was basically dressed in the same getup that she wore in 1987's "Pleasure Principle" video.
Her first set of songs included the oldies, if you will, like "Control," "Nasty," and "Miss You Much." During that last one, she yelled out, "I'm not ashamed to tell the world, I missed you so much!" She even asked us what her name was, and we all said, "Ms. Jackson!," excited at the opportunity.
The next few minutes were dedicated to Janet Jackson the actress. First, there was a clip of her getting abused by her TV mom in Good Times, then making out with Willis in Diff'rent Strokes. We got some Tupac action with Poetic Justice, and then Janet going nuts and smashing glass tables in Tyler Perry's Why did I Get Married Too? The crowd loved that one.
After screening her little clip reel, Janet came out, sat down, and sang some slow songs, asking us to sing along at "Wait." There were a few other breaks from her performances. As images of Janet floated across the screen, the backup singers belted out a short medley of her hits.
We even got to see a few mini-crotch grabs à la MJ. She was sexy, but not dirty. Janet jumped around with pleasure and she didn't even look like she was breaking a sweat. And that giggle! We got to hear Janet giggle live! It's like she laughs fairy dust.
We were asked not to film Jackson's performance, and so we didn't. But there were certainly a few people with what looked like VHS video recording gear, totally going nuts. The crowd was mostly over the age of 30 and dressed to impress. In front of us, moms jammed out with their young daughters, bringing Janet worship to the next generation.
At the end of the show, she introduced us to "the kids," as she put it. That was everyone onstage. Each dancer took the time to strut their stuff. She said last night was special because she kicked off her Rhythm Nation tour in Miami. And now she was ending this one in the same spot. She thanked the fans, lulling us into a blissful state with "All For You."
All those who hate can continue to do so. Sure, she's not so young anymore. But Janet is spectacular. She does something many don't know how to do -- be the performer in the room. She did all the work for us, and we just basked in her glow.
Seen in the Crowd: Guy with great big spiky hair, jamming out like he was at home alone.
Personal Bias: Wanted to hear Janet sing "Any Time, Any Place."
Janet Jackson's Setlist
-"What Have You Done for me Lately"
-"You Want This"
-"Miss You Much"
-"Come Back to Me"
-"Let's Wait Awhile"
-"Any Time, Any Place"
-"Got Till It's Gone"
-"What's It Gonna Be"
-"Doesn't Really Matter"
-"Love Will Never Do"
-"When I Think of You"
-"That's the Way Love Goes"
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-"All For You"