It seems as if singer and actress Janet Jackson been around in some capacity or another for ages, and that's largely true in a way. Her career as a vocalist dates back to the early '80s and her acting goes back even further into the '70s with her role as Penny on Good Times
As a performer, Jackson's songs run the gamut from high energy pop numbers to romantic ballads to defiant and inspiring anthems to even the most sultry quiet storm tunes. She brought all of those to last night's State of the World show at Quicken Loans Arena.
The tour takes its name from a track on Jackson's Rhythm Nation album and is actually a continuation of her last tour, Unbreakable, which she postponed due to her pregnancy.
Before the show got started, screens around the arena featured social media posts with the hashtag #ClevelandLovesJanet. Three large panels on the stage would serve as projection screens during various intervals of the show.
As the lights went down, news excerpts read off the names of unarmed black men who have been killed by police officers and also explained the threat of white supremacy before Ms. Jackson emerged onto the stage. She was greeted with a huge applause from the crowd.
The early portion of the show was filled with Jackson's hits from the '80s and early '90s, including "Nasty," "Miss You Much," "Alright," "Control," What Have You Done For Me Lately" and "Pleasure Principle."
The transitions between songs were virtually seamless and the light show did an excellent job of showcasing both Jackson and her dancers as well.
After a very brief intermission and wardrobe change, Jackson re-emerged and sat alone on a stool performing "Twenty Foreplay." Along with the aforementioned "Where Are You Now," "Come Back to Me" and "Spending Time With You" all fit well into this love ballad portion of the show.
When the pace picked back up, the dancers returned for "No Sleeep" as well as "That's The Way Love Goes," "Got 'til Its Gone" and "Someone To Call My Lover."
She asked the crowd to help her sing "Together Again" and yelled "I miss you, Mike" as the song concluded. Before going into "What About?," Jackson reminded the audience members to never let anyone control, manipulate or abuse them. Two of her dancers acted out the lyrics of the song as she sang.
Perhaps the best performances of the evening were "If" (which featured a long guitar introduction) and "Rhythm Nation."
The arena went pitch black once more before people started lighting it back up with their cellphones. Jackson returned to perform a few more songs including "Black Eagle," "Dammn Baby" and "New Agenda." After a snippet of "I Get Lonely." The show concluded with "Well Traveled." Jackson's closing words were: "It's all about love, we need more love."
And Cleveland loves Janet indeed.