NEW YORK — Often imitated, never duplicated, Janet Jackson’s outbursts of meticulous choreography, sassy exclamations and smoldering gazes into the audience kept them on their feet for the entire two-hour set of her greatest hits at Radio City Music Hall. Monday night marked the last of three sold-out shows at the historic venue on her monumental Number Ones: Up Close and Personal Tour .
Up-and-coming boy band Mindless Behavior opened the show with songs including “#1 Girl,” “Future” and their debut single, “My Girl.” With their Usher-esque dance moves and shouts like “Where the ladies at?” the boys brought the tween girls out of hiding, judging by the shrill screams escaping various corner of the music hall.
At 9:00 sharp, the lights went down and Janet’s fans were on the edge of their seats, watching music videos for “The Best Things in Life Are Free” and “Rhythm Nation” projected on big screens across the venue. A small shadow drifted toward center stage, and when the colorful lights came up, Jackson, wrapped in a shoulder-padded catsuit, complete with slick short hair, blasted into “The Pleasure Principle,” dancing as hard and intensely choreographed as she did when the song first came out in the 1980s.
With barely a spare second between songs, Janet dazzled her way through her biggest hits, including “Miss You Much,” “All for You” and “Nasty,” and more recent hits like 2008′s “Feedback.”
Videos displayed during Jackson’s costume changes included vintage clips from “Diff’rent Strokes,” a funny scene from “Poetic Justice” where Jackson slyly rejects the advances of Tupac Shakur’s character, and a rather heavy scene, as Jackson’s character in “Why Did I Get Married” destroys her husband’s house with a golf club, screaming hysterically.
Considering the tough couple of years the Jackson family has faced, the dark moments in the video seemed fitting, and everyone was beside themselves with bittersweet joy when Michael Jackson’s face popped up on the big screen and she performed their hit single “Scream.”
Janet emerged for her encore in a tight white one-piece disco suit, and performed “Diamonds,” “Make Me” and “Together Again,” which appeared to be the biggest hit of the evening. As Jackson graciously bowed out, her straight face transitioned into a smirk, suggesting that despite the hard times she has experienced recently, we can expect to see this singing and dancing pop legend shine far into the future.
“Its amazing!” Janet fan Elena Mercantini gleamed afterward. “It’s like she’s still 20 years old!”
“She’s hot, she’s amazing and she’s still got it after all these years” added Alison Klinger of Long Island. “Best concert I’ve ever been to!”