Janet Jackson brings the State Of The World to Vancouver

Janet Jackson – Rogers Arena – September 26, 2017

Janet Jackson brought her State Of The World concert tour to Rogers Arena in Vancouver this week.  Vancouver has a special connection with Miss Jackson, being the rehearsal spot the All For You Tour, and starting arena for her Rock Witchu and Unbreakable Tours.  An enthusiastic audience cheered the voice-over social commentary before the R&B legend made her appearance, followed by her troupe of dancers, to give us The Knowledge and State of the World to open the set.

From then on, it was two+ hours of hits, and memories, keeping most of the audience on their feet for the evening.  Just as her albums have shown an evolution and provided Miss Jackson with a platform to make her own statement on the state of the world, this tour performance was broken into segments that reflected the divas decades long career.  The new mom worked at a great clip powering through vocals and dancing mash-ups of her early hits including; Nasty, What Have You Done For Me Lately, Miss You Much, Alright, Control, Escapade, and more.  A costume change brought some of her softer ballads, and some slight sound issues, before kicking it back up for a crowd pleasing That’s The Way Love Goes and other legendary 90s hits before another costume change wraps up the show with If and Rhythm Nation.  Video vignettes showing career highlights as well as new imagery accented the stage set and served as a statement about the longevity of the Janet’s iconic career. 

The encore and final costume change saw a casually sexy Janet, fitted white shirt and jeans, come out to engage with the audience, introducing her band and dancers then leaving the audience satisfied but wanting the good times to continue. 

 

Janet Jackson’s State of the World Tour continues around North America for the remainder of 2017.

 

Chicago + Earth, Wind & Fire – Heart & Soul Tour 3.0

Chicago_EWF_img_9883Earlier this week, the windy city collided with the elements when Chicago + Earth, Wind & Fire played Rogers Arena.

The legendary bands are on their third leg of their co-headlining Heart & Soul Tour, and for the first time bringing their combined talents to Canadian stages.  Between the two bands, they’ve sold more than 200 million albums and amassed countless awards including 20 Grammy nominations.  Over the past 40 years, Chicago and Earth, Wind & Fire have performed live before millions of fans and added a few thousand more at Rogers Arena on Monday.

EWF_img_9935The co-headlining show is book-ended by both acts performing together with solo sets of their infinite-seeming catalogues of hits in between.  Earth, Wind & Fire took their turn first with a selection from throughout their 40 years of performing.  Megahits and fan favourites brought soul to the arena as fan got moving to the unmistakable Earth, Wind & Fire sound. With a dozen performers on stage the energy was incredible as the three remaining original members; Verdine White, Philip Bailey and Ralph Johnson, lead the charge.  Verdine is all over the stage with his trademark eccentricity, Philip’s massive vocal range was hampered by some audio distortion but he’s still a force at 65 years.  With the loss of founder Maurice White earlier this year, a reminder of the hands of time, the ‘younger’ members of the band, including Bailey’s son Philip Jr show that the band is in good hands for years to come.

Chicago_img_9948After a short intermission, Chicago returned to the stage with their hit-filled set.  The 2016 Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame inductees, haven’t let a little thing like time set them back. Original members; singer / keyboardist Robert Lamm, and Lee Loughnane, James Pankow, and Walter Parazaider the uber-energetic horn section players, are still front and centre while temporary lead singer Jeff Coffey (replacing Jason Scheff during a hiatus) ably fronts most tunes.  Throughout the set, filled with sing-along tracks, the feeling that these performers genuinely still enjoy the live experience. The horn section appears especially animated and energized by the live interaction and still look impressed by each other even after 49 years in the business.

And the audience was still suitably impressed as well, for both the solo sets and when the 21 performers regrouped for a closing set.  After years of friendship, camaraderie, and tours together the acts perfectly blend to make the combined efforts on closing hits; September, Sing A Song, Does Anybody Really Know What Time It Is, Shining Star and 25 or 6 to 4, seem like they were always written with these arrangements in mind.

The Heart & Soul 3.0 tour continues through mid-November and from the energy of the bands and audience, this doesn’t feel like it will be the last time we see these friends touring together. If you haven’t caught them before, go see the show!

The Jacksons bring Unity to The PNE

The Jacksons: Unity Tour – PNE Amphitheatre – August 18, 2013

On the eve of their 50th year performing together and nearly three decades since they last toured on The Victory Tour, The Jacksons have reunited for The Unity Tour. This marks the first tour they’ve done without late brother Michael and with youngest brother Randy sitting this tour out, the four oldest Jacksons kept the audience happy with a greatest hits setlist from their back catalogue.
In typical Jackson style, Jackie, Tito, Jermaine and Marlon arrived onstage in a flash of sequins and shimmer to kick off the show with “Can You Feel It”, followed by “Blame It On The Boogie”, two big retro hits that ignited the audience. A free show (included with PNE admission) for most of the audience, the fan zone reserved seating was ticketed and sold out, the PNE Amphitheatre was packed with a very diverse audience. The group kept the setlist to mainly their most well known hits to keep the audience on their feet the whole show. The presence of the King Of Pop was felt throughout the show as the brothers paid homage to late brother Michael in video and photo montages and when Jermaine covered Michael’s fitting “Gone Too Soon”. However, when they covered his other solo hits like “Rock Wit You”, “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough” and “Wanna Be Startin’ Somthing” it felt a bit like they were using his music to further their resurgence. While this tour was likely a success as a result of his death, I felt it a bit too soon to perform Micheal’s hits. In spite of my misgivings the audience ate up those solo hits but the biggest cheers of the night was for the “old stuff”, a classic Jackson 5 medley of “I Want You Back/ABC/The Love You Save/Never Can Say Goodbye” performed as they did on the Ed Sullivan Show decades ago. “I’ll Be There” and “Shake You Body (Down To The Ground)” were also fan favourites.


Even through their performances have been few and far between, decades of dedication and practice showed them to still be the ultimate showmen. While Michael’s falsetto and lead vocals were missed the quartet still harmonized well and Jermaine and Marlon took on the majority of the vocal and banter with the audience. The few sound issues were more likely an issue with the outdoor venue and background noise from the midway than the singers themselves. The tears from an audience member near me during the nostalgic montages shows the passion the people have for these singers, and Michael. That goodwill carries the group on a wave of applause long after the last note has been sung.

The Unity Tour has officially wrapped up but individual shows, like this Vancouver gig, continue to be added.
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The Package Tour – BoyzIIMen Gallery

Some images from Boyz II Men opening The Package Tour at Rogers Arena, July 10, 2013