Photos: Janet Jackson hits and misses at Wells Fargo Theatre - Reverb

Live review: Janet Jackson @ Wells Fargo Theatre

Janet Jackson was effervescent and spritely at her Wells Fargo Theatre concert on Wednesday night — though her big greatest-hits show was hardly the stunner some had expected.

Jackson is a pop goddess, yes. But she’s also a mortal — a 44-year-old woman who still moves better, smoother, sexier than the rest of us. She’s a star, a pop culture figure since she was a tween. But that bright a spotlight, that intense glare, has its adverse effects, too.

Her show on Wednesday was a strange mix of hit-packed medleys and awkward, drawn-out photo/video montages. Right as Jackson would break a sweat and find her step she would exit the stage in favor of blaring
clips reels on the big screens. Clips of her acting in “Diff’rent Strokes” and later “Poetic Justice.” Clips of her publicity photos for “Control” and “Rhythm Nation” and “Janet.”

The concert started strong — though 55 minutes after its advertised start time of 8 p.m. — with a “The Pleasure Principle”-“Control”-“What Have You Done For Me Lately”-“Feedback” medley. And while the clunky, jerky presentation wasn’t befitting of such mammoth, era-defining hits, Jackson made good by working the crowd and playing off her back-up dancers.

But then Janet never got her groove back.

She yelled, “Denver, do you want more?” after only four songs. Her second medley started out in a lull with “You Want This,” but quickly got the blood moving with “Alright,” “Miss You Much” and “Nasty.” And then a break for her acting reel. Another medley followed — this time the ballads, a “Nothing”-“Come Back to Me”-“Let’s Wait Awhile”-“Again” whopper. And then a another break for another photo montage.

The best part of the ballads? Jackson was actually singing them. During her up-tempo numbers, she was clearly lip-syncing — and that’s unfortunately the way it goes at dance-heavy show like this. (Just ask Britney.) But during the ballads, Jackson’s true voice came out and showed her fans that, yes, she still has it.

And that’s not the only reason the concert was full of nostalgia. Janet is one of our few ties to her brother, Michael, and you could see their relation — and his influence — in her gentle movements, her distinctive
dance style, her effeminate blown kisses. Jackson’s concert might have been unconventional — arrhythmic, even. Still, Jackson remains an icon.

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Ricardo Baca is the founder and co-editor of Reverb and an award-winning critic and journalist at The Denver Post.

John Leyba is a Denver Post photojournalist and regular contributor to Reverb.

  • JanStan

    who are writing these articles in Nebraska. First off, the show starts at 9, doors open at 8 to allow everyone to get there. Second, the show was excellent!!! She said herself it would be a more scaled down show.

  • Maria Z

    No comment whatsoever about the person imitating Michael in the audience? Not even in the picture captions? Weird.

  • Smith-ton

    I thought Janet was amazing. Were we watching the same concert?

  • Bonnehou58

    Nice to see she dressed up for us. Was this a rehearsal? Or a PR appearance.nI want my money’s worth.

  • Ricardo Baca

    We tweeted his picture and wrote about him on Twitter last night. But yeah, we’d rather write about the actual music here. nIt was creepy, though. Bad taste.

  • Josh

    I thought the show was great, yes it was very different from the spectacles she has done on her previous tours but as it was known, she was going for a more initmate show, and you say she lipped synced her whole show aside from the ballads which was not true… I was 3 rows away and aside from Rhythm Nation, she sang live

  • RealTalk

    Can you just imagine being on stage and some a**hole is dressed up as your DEAD brother. Honestly human beings never fail to amaze me. Janet however is the consumate perfomer despite that HUGE distraction – the show must go on.

  • jnqw9

    Something was wrong with the show there should have been cosutme changes thats what the video clips were for.Look at ckips of her show on youtube

  • Benbraxton75

    Very cheap review. The person who wrote this must not have been at Janets concert, and it appears they did not have enough storage on their camera to take pics of all four costume changes. People you cannot believe these reporters. They do what they need to keep their job interesting. I have read nothing but awesome reviews, and I have friends who were not Janet fans, who attended the concert and they are now fans. This reporter need to stay off the meds when attending a concert.

  • Martine

    And I don’t think you were at the Denver show… there were no costume changes. She came on stage an hour late, and probably didn’t perform for more than 60 minutes in total. I think this reporter was actually being generous!

  • Wastedmoney

    Worst show ever. The videos were awful and a waste of time. All the songs were medleys.nAn hour late for an hour and fifteen show. The sounds was terrible. Her dancing was tired and the she clearly did not connect with the audience. Waste of money!

  • Mario

    Janet is amazing …. some of the earlier comments are disturbing. Janet is a LEGEND. Point, blank, period.

  • Still Luv U J

    I LOVE me some Janet but this show was crap!  Thank goodness this wasn’t my first Janet concert or should I say scaled down rehearsal…can’t even call it a dress rehearsal without any costumes.  Janet you got me this time but you won’t next time!!! You said this tour was for the fans but clearly it was only for you to make some quick money. As fans we know this tour wasn’t for us. If it was for us we would have gotten a true Janet Jackson show with costumes, full songs and a longer show. The favoritism you show to different venues shows how much you “love” your fans.  Cutting songs and costumes for select cites is just plain WRONG and selfish!  A dollar is a dollar and show should be a show! Saying each night would be different was clearly a ploy to enable you to pick and choose when you felt like performing all out or just show up to collect the check like you did in Denver. I understand at 44 (now 45) it’s harder to perform the way you used to however, you should adjust your dates so that everyone gets the best Janet and not an exhausted Janet!!!

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