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Let Janet entertain you

photo
[Times photo: Michael Rondou]
Pop superstar Janet Jackson brings her much anticipated tour to the Ice Palace in Tampa.

By GINA VIVINETTO

© St. Petersburg Times,
published October 27, 2001


Music review
TAMPA -- This year's two most ballyhooed concert tours -- Madonna's and Janet Jackson's -- share only one attribute: tiny, scantily clad dancing divas with six-pack abs. Beyond that, both megastars have taken wildly different paths.

Madonna's Drowned World tour was all concept -- breathtaking stage design, jaw-dropping theatrics and choreography -- and some fans were put off by the former Material Girl's aloofness. Her lengthy show contained precious few hits. Madonna was out to share her most recent artistic vision, whether or not you liked it.

Janet Jackson is out to entertain you.

On her All For You tour, Jackson, 35, sweats and shimmies and dishes out every hit she's had over a 15-year career that's bursting with them. Jackson even bunches several together in medleys so you don't go home feeling cheated. Say, for instance, all that dancing makes Jackson's voice peeter out? That's okay; prerecorded vocals play beneath her.

Friday's nearly two-hour concert at the Ice Palace attracted an almost sell-out crowd only too happy to give back the love. Though Jackson's high-energy show is all about pleasing fans, it doesn't lack in theatrics -- or costume changes. (More than half a dozen; Jackson owns a lot of midriffs.)

The singer emerged on a sky-high platform resembling a large screw. She treated fans to Runaway, Miss You Much, When I Think Of You, Escapade, What Have You Done For Me Lately, Control and Nasty.

Fans also cheered for the newer hits, including Son Of A Gun, which features a clever Carly Simon sample of You're So Vain.

The highlight of the show -- for one fan, at least -- was the segment where Jackson had a male audience member strapped to a rotating S&M-style gurney. The singer straddled him, rubbing her body over his, all the while cooing the erotic Would You Mind.

The night's most tender moment was when Jackson stood alone onstage, trying to address the crowd, which screamed its adoration for a full minute. Jackson's radiant "aw, shucks" smile showed how much she relished it. After all, she spent her childhood growing up in the shadow of the Jackson 5 and big brother Michael. It must feel awfully good to have had all that patience pay off.

The show closed with a buoyant Together Again that found Jackson grinning, surrounded by dancers moving in refreshing, unscripted merriment. Jackson, from one of the nation's most famous celebrity families, knows about pleasing fans. She may not share Madonna's commitment to art, but she sure can entertain.

-- To contact Gina Vivinetto, e-mail gina@sptimes.com.

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