Janet Jackson smacks down the Moody Theater
By Raoul Hernandez,
1:25PM, Tue. Apr. 5, 2011
Stadium shows at the Moody Theater have become breathtaking already, and in the outsize case of Janet Jackson there this past Sunday, ear-bleeding. And that was before the tiny dancer's hour-long street musical to near-capacity hysteria.
Granted, dance music of the 1980s and 1990s suffers from the same metallic brightness as any other genre riding the advent of compact discs, but when Jackson's sonic smack down of stainless steel post-R&B out shreds last night's Rotting Christ assault in Emo's front room, someone needs to turn down and it's not the metallurgic Greeks.
Volume trauma aside, Jackson's performance registered inversely proportional to her petite size and voice. Though there's nothing small to the singer's 33 Number Ones on her 2009 double-disc, nor her sitcom, film, and MTV career – photo montages here broken up by clips reeling through Different Strokes, Poetic Justice, and the Austin tour stop dedication of 1986 breakout video “Control,” respectively – Jackson's kittenish growl still managed to make itself heard above a fivepiece band with three keyboards and a trio of singers. Her head mic and dance regime for herself and her black-clad East Side Story crew didn't leave much oxygen for singing, but the treadmill hits, audience adulation, and Madonna-like stage workout did all the vocalizing necessary.
Beginning with “The Pleasure Principle” and marching through “What Have You Done for Me Lately,” “Feedback,” “Miss You Much,” and “Nasty” one after the other in her black tank-top, booty-hugging black jeans, and black work boots, the 44-year-old baby of the Jackson clan kept the regime churning to the moves of her hot-stepping chorus. When she sat down to deliver intimate fare – “Again,” “Love Will Never Do (Without You”) – her voice was still blurred by acoustics, but at least a sweet slice of her purr made it through the din. A little analog cushioning would do Jackson a world of good.
“Escapade,” “That's The Way Love Goes,” and “Scream” mashed up behind a Theater-rocking “Rhythm Nation,” and in encore “Diamonds” cascaded white light into Jackson's succeeding tribute to her brother Michael, whose profile in pictures matches his sister's only to a point (his). Michael might be King, but Janet Jackson now crowns the family business.