Janet Jackson at the Santa Barbara Bowl

Pop Icon Delivers Short but Sweet Set on Saturday, April 9

For hardcore fans and fascinated attendees alike, Janet Jackson’s Saturday-night set proved to be well worth its hype, though not without its flaws. Yes, the evening’s still-unknown openers were a no-show, leaving fans twiddling their thumbs (and milling around the beer lines) for more than an hour after the concert’s original start time. And yes, Miss Jackson did close things down nearly 20 minutes before the Bowl’s often pushed-to-its-limits 10-o’clock curfew. But in between late starts and early finishes, fans got the goods—lots of ’em.

As promised, Jackson spent her time on stage playing just the hits, including (but certainly not limited to) ’80s classics “The Pleasure Principle,” “Nasty,” and “Rhythm Nation”; bass-heavy highlights “That’s the Way Love Goes” and “If”; and slow groovers “Let’s Wait Awhile” and “Again.” She also proved to be back to tip-top–performance shape, keeping pace with all six of her young backup dancers without a hitch. And like a good pop diva, Jackson took plenty of opportunities to let her legacy speak for itself, darting out on several occasions to give the stage over to photo montages, clips from her films and television performances, and music videos.

Not surprisingly, the night’s highlight came by way of “Scream,” which she video-synch dueted with her late brother Michael, and “Together Again,” which she silently and poignantly dedicated to him as pictures of the pair flashed across the stage. In short, the night was a perfect intermixing of crash course and fan thank-you, chock-full of everything we love about the youngest Jackson, sans filler.

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