Alpha dogs don’t need new tricks

By Jenna Clarke
Updated April 18 2018 - 9:31pm, first published October 19 2011 - 3:58pm

If her late brother was the King of Pop, Janet Jackson inherited the crown, and at 45 she’s flaunting why she’s still the role model for social issues and sensuality.

Last night at her first Australian show for her Number Ones: Up Close & Personal tour there were no fireworks, no elaborate sets and no “wardrobe malfunctions” just memories replayed and songs about social injustice and sex accompanied by keyboards, percussion and choreography.

A wall of sexually charged sound came at the 2000 strong crowd at the Burswood Theatre after the number one single and accompanying film clip If was dedicated to the “beautiful people of Perth”.

The intimate venue was a stark change from the larger than life arena shows the pop star, actress and author is suited to but for this tour she wanted to see the faces in the audience, many of who would have purchased the majority of her 35 number one hits on cassette and CD throughout the ‘80s, ‘90s and Noughties.

Jackson, who is no longer surviving on a diet of tissue paper to combat her weight issues and yo-yo dieting, appeared on stage looking fit, healthy and happy in a white leather jacket with the trademark Jackson embellishment, black jeans (Levi’s is one of the tour sponsors), a simple black t-shirt and commando boots with flecks of glitter.

She opened the show with the electronica inspired 1986 hit The Pleasure Principle and before the keyboard created sound effects filled the auditorium she was already centre stage busting out the Paula Abdul-inspired dance moves many have tried to emulate over the years without pants on (you’re welcome Rihanna, Britney and Christina).

Those in the front row, who paid about $600 for the ‘so-close-you-could-touch-her’ opportunity welcomed the songstress back to Perth with hand-made “I Love You Janet” posters as the show continued with other favourites Nasty, What Have You Done For My Lately and Miss You Much. Sadly the lycra, lamé, permed hair and high top sneakers from the music videos didn’t make a cameo.

Intermission came with snippets from the best of her television and film career with scenes from Good Times, Diff’rent Strokes, the famous flirting scene with Tupac Shakur from Poetic Justice and the ‘smash everything in sight with a nine iron’ break up scene from last year’s critically acclaimed Why Did I Get Married Too?

“I’m not ashamed to tell you Perth I’ve really missed you,” she said making reference to her 16-year absence from Australian stages.

The crowd were then brought to their knees as she took a seat on stage to serenade them with Again.

The hits, gyrating and expertly executed dance moves continued with Rhythm Nation 1814, Escapade, All For You and That’s The Way Love Goes.

A Power Point presentation of a Michael Jackson photo album roused more cheers and chills as their record breaking music video for the duet Scream was beamed over the big screen.

After blowing kisses toward heaven, the crowd and an encore presentation of Together Again she took the opportunity to introduce and thank her band, dancers and creative director Gil Duldulao who has been with her on and off stage from the start of her career.

It was a rare show of unadulterated raw musical talent which felt like an evening spent with friends listening to Ms Jackson’s best work (minus the Walkman with foam headphones).

Number Ones: Up Close and Personal now heads to Adelaide before finishing up at the Sydney Opera House on November 8.

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