Concert Review: by Matt Bauer
Janet Jackson “State of the World” Tour:
Wonderful Things Come to Those Who Wait.
The Janet Jackson “State of the World” Tour:Wonderful Things Come to Those Who Wait. That proved especially true when Janet Jackson brought her “The State Of The World” tour to the Key Bank Center last Saturday night. The birth of Miss Jackson's first baby led to a 2016 postponement but given the state of world and domestic affairs, the socially conscious performance seemed especially pertinent now.
Clad in black and spinning a cane ,with video images of Africa, Syria and inner city turmoil, not to mention names like Eric Garner in the background, Jackson opened the show with the one-two punch of “The Knowledge” and “State Of The World” (both from the 1989 landmark “Rhythm Nation 1814” album). Indeed, she continues to “stay woke” and her music's transformative power in times of upheaval eschewed any sense of nostalgia and proved to be the overall theme of the evening. And at 51, she's still one of the most exciting performers to ever grace a stage.
Accompanied by nine dancers—including Buffalo's Allison Buczkowski- ---and backed by a nine piece band, Jackson was breathtaking as classics like “Miss You Much,” “The Pleasure Principle,” “Love Will Never Do (Without You),” “Escapade” and, most poignantly given the number of legends lost in the past two years, “Together Again,” were delivered with fantastic showmanship that rendered them timeless while also serving as potent reminders of her astonishing breadth of influence.
A few surprises abounded as well, most notably the harrowing “What About” (from 1997's “The Velvet Rope”) where the dancers acted out substance and domestic abuse into a performance piece that transcended music into pure, visceral drama highlighting Jackson's most emotional vocals of the night.
“Rhythm Nation” was the fitting climax, a still devastating slice of thunderous, Sly-Stone influenced funk and a musical call to consciousness and unity as relevant as it was almost three decades ago with militantly sharp choreography to match.
Nearly 40 years into her recording career, Janet Jackson remains one of the most iconic and significant musical artists. If this current tour is any indication, she'll be ruling as the true queen of pop for many years to come.