Janet Jackson Tour Set To Launch (Almost)

Jackson rehearsing with 10 dancers in Vancouver for Thursday opener.

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — It was on the eve of Janet Jackson's last U.S. tour, her Velvet Rope outing, that she told MTV News that tour might very well be her last. But now, almost two-and-a-half years later, she's on the verge of launching yet another globe-spanning extravaganza, All for You, which gets underway Thursday night here in Vancouver. So, what changed her mind?

Janet told MTV News Monday at rehearsals at Vancouver's GM Place that dancers

Shawnette Heard and Gil Duldulao convinced her she had at least one more tour

in her — and this one is the biggest one yet. Sixteen trucks and 110 people

make up the All for You caravan. Many of those trucks are needed to transport

a massive stage set designed by Mark Fisher, who, besides working on previous

Janet tours, has also designed sets for U2 and the Rolling Stones, charter members

of the "size matters" club. Only one problem here at T-minus three days and

counting: part of that stage set has yet to arrive in Vancouver, and that

will necessitate some last minute scrambling.

Otherwise, spirits seem high among Janet and her 10 mostly new dancers

(three were with her on the Velvet Rope tour), who've already been in Canada three

weeks, rehearsing 10-12 hour days, with Shawnette Heard as chief

choreographer, taking over for Janet's longtime dance captain, Tina Landon.

Another figure conspicuously absent from tour preparations is, of course, Janet's

ex-husband Rene Elizondo, from whom Janet is still going through a litigious

split. When asked if his absence was felt in the days leading up to the

launch, Janet replied, "Not really."

What can fans expect from the show that is unveiled Thursday night? Most

details are being kept tightly under wraps, but look for a "brighter" show

than the last tour, reflecting the more upbeat mood of the All for You

album. A 26-song setlist — of which eight are songs from the new CD —

includes "Would You Mind," without a doubt Janet's most explicitly erotic

song ever. Seeing that one alone being performed live should be worth the

price of admission.