Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia, welcomed an icon when Janet Jackson's Together Again tour made a stop on Saturday, May 6th. For as long as I can remember, Janet has been a bucket list artist for me to see live. So naturally, when tickets went on sale, I had to acquire them.
Before opener Ludacris took the stage, his DJ warmed up the crowd by playing Hip Hop, and R&B hits in an energetic mix that included songs from the likes of New Edition, Bobby Brown, and Montell Jordan. The audience was beyond lit, and the crowd's vivacity increased even higher when E.U.'s "Da Butt" emerged from the speakers.
Shortly after that, Ludacris took the stage for a tight twenty-five-minute set. Chris Lova Lova kicked things off with his verse from Jermaine Dupri's "Welcome To Atlanta" before a flawless transition into "Act A Fool" and "Area Codes." Throughout his set, Luda kept the crowd on their feet with his songs such as "Stand Up," "Move," and my personal favorite, "Pimpin All Over The World." Luda also found time to perform his verses from his collaborations with Usher, Fergie, and DJ Khaled.
To my surprise, Luda didn't perform "Runaway Love" Saturday (Oooh! Ooooh!)," or "Rollout (My Business)," all of which were hits in the DMV. Furthermore, quiet as it's kept, Ludacris did a year of high school at the nearby Centerville High School, which I thought he would namedrop. Nevertheless, when Luda closed out his set with his debut single "What's Your Fantasy," the DMV more than got their money's worth.
After a short intermission, it was time for Ms. Jackson to take the stage! A short montage of clips from Janet's childhood acting days preceded her stage appearance. The anticipation was palpable as a curtain dropped, revealing only Janet Jackson! She appeared center stage, wearing a majestic purple cloak. The audience erupted in cheers as she shed her cloak, showcasing her stunning figure in an incredible body suit. A troupe of male dancers surrounded Jackson as the celebration of "Fifty years of me" began!
The show was split into five acts, with Janet opening with "Damita Jo," the title track from her eighth album. She then performed a variety of popular and lesser-known songs, including a DJ Premier remix of "Together Again," "Feedback," and "If." Act I ended with a well-received medley of "No Sleeep," "Got 'Til It's Gone," "That's the Way Love Goes," and "Enjoy." I was ecstatic when Janet performed "Enjoy" from her "20 Y.O." album, which held special meaning for me during my Air Force deployment to the Middle East. Hearing it performed live made my night complete.
Janet Jackson created an electrifying live show, performing twenty-eight songs across the remaining four acts. The audience was utterly captivated as they sang along and danced to her hit tracks like "What Have You Done for Me Lately," "Control," "Again," "Miss You Much," "Black Cat," and "Rhythm Nation." The show was elevated to a new level thanks to its dynamic choreography, numerous costume changes, cutting-edge video production, and infectious energy permeating the venue.
My favorite part of the show was the ballad and slow jams, where Janet personally serenaded every male in attendance. The medley included "Come Back to Me" / "Let's Wait Awhile" and the remix of "Funny How Time Flies (When You're Having Fun)." Following an emotional performance of "Again," Ms. Jackson got nasty (but classy) with a sensual rendition of "I Get Lonely."
Janet Jackson's performance was a testament to her iconic status, showcasing her undeniable talent and leaving an unforgettable impression. While some may not recognize her exceptional singing ability, her prowess as a performer is undeniable.
Final Grade A-
The tour runs until June 21st with the final date taking place in Seattle.