Monday, November 29, 2010

Janet Jackson Announces 2011 World Tour - Deciphering Janet's Message

Janet Jackson has announced that she will be going on her largest ever world tour in 2011, to celebrate her 35 number ones. She promised that this tour will be different from her past tours, in that she will perform music exclusively from her Number Ones album, and she will perform in only 35 cities, determined by the fans.

Janet also added that whenever possible, she will perform in venues that will allow her to be up close and personal to the fans, in a much more intimate setting. She will also dedicate one song to each of the 35 cities. Besides, she will recognise 20 young people whose lives and work have enriched their communities in a major way.

So let me break down what she said and what she meant...

1) Largest ever world tour
Largest - in terms of attendance, gross, number of concerts or number of cities visited? This will be Janet's sixth tour, so it is useful to judge it against her past five tours.

Rhythm Nation World Tour (1990)
- Number of concerts: 117
- Number of cities visited: 67
- Number of countries visited: 8 (4 continents)
- Attendance: 2 million (estimated)
- Gross: $45 million

janet. World Tour (1993 - 1995)
- Number of concerts: 123
- Number of cities visited: 93
- Number of countries visited: 17 (4 continents)
- Attendance: 2.306 million (estimated)
- Gross: $60 million

The Velvet Rope World Tour (1998 - 1999)
- Number of concerts: 120
- Number of cities visited: 101
- Number of countries visited: 17 (5 continents)
- Attendance: 1.4 million (estimated)
- Gross: $70 million

All For You World Tour (2001 - 2002)*
- Number of concerts: 72
- Number of cities visited: 59
- Number of countries visited: 3 (2 continents)
- Attendance: 885,000 (estimated)
- Gross: $55 million
* The tour was cut short due to 9/11. All the 23 European dates were cancelled.

Rock Witchu Tour (2008)
- Number of concerts: 16
- Number of cities visited: 16
- Number of countries visited: 1 (North America only)
- Attendance: 130,000 (estimated)
- Gross: $13 million

The only way the upcoming tour can qualify to be her "largest ever world tour" is in the number of countries visited category. Janet will have to visit 18 countries or more, breaking the current record for the janet. and The Velvet Rope tours at 17 countries each.

What this implies is that it will be a more international tour, as opposed to having more domestic dates. I'm guessing she will only do a handful of major US cities like New York, LA, Chicago, Las Vegas and Washington, but maybe perform 2 nights at each city.

Indeed, if you look at the list of cities available for voting on, you'll see that there are 52 cities listed, out of which 35 will eventually be chosen. And there are a large number of international cities, with not many US cities. And there are even first-timers like Hong Kong, Shanghai, Taipei and Dubai - cities which have never hosted a Janet Jackson concert before. It's a smart move because the curiosity factor will help boost ticket sales. And also because these Asian cities have grown in affluence over the past decade.

However, the biggest surprise is that Australia and Japan are not included in the list. For Japan, maybe Janet is being cautious as the Japan leg of her Rock Witchu Tour was cancelled last time round due to the "subprime mortgage crisis". She might be playing it safe, but I do feel that she still has a substantial fanbase in Japan, as evidenced by her brother Michael's huge popularity there.

Australian fans must be feeling super depressed because the last time Janet visited their shores was in 1998 - 12 years ago. Their only hope is if Janet decides to pick Singapore, and they can fly over to watch her, with Singapore being their nearest option. Hopefully this will increase the chances of Singapore being picked!

Janet has also said that she's only visiting 35 cities this time, so it's unlikely she can break her attendance record, where she will have to stage an average of 3.5 shows per city. And she suggested she might perform at smaller venues, so there's no way the tour can be her highest grossing ever. Thus, she will have to perform in 18 countries or more in order to live up to the claim of the "largest ever world tour".

2) Setlist
To me, part of the fun of attending a concert is not knowing the setlist beforehand, so that I can be surprised and not expect anything. However, for the upcoming tour, Janet has said that she will be performing songs exclusively from her Number Ones album. So you won't get non-Number One singles like Throb, You or Rock With U.

But this also means that she will be performing songs that she has never performed at her concerts before - Scream (duet with MJ), What's It Gonna Be?! (with Busta Rhymes) and Diamonds (with Herb Albert), Make Me (new song from the Number Ones album) and Nothing (apparently her latest number one - the only chart it topped was the iTunes video chart, as part of her performance on the American Idol finale).

No word yet on whether she will be using the American tracklist or International tracklist of the Number Ones album. In the latter, Whoops Now replaced All Nite (Don't Stop). I love the choreography in All Nite, but I really like Whoops Now too. Erm, can we keep both and replace Diamonds instead? :)

The order of the songs, is of course, up in the air. I would love it if she opens with If, and ends with Together Again. And don't do medleys of the 80s songs!

3) Capacity / Venue
Saying that she would like to perform in intimate venues is a nicer way of saying that she would like to play safe and keep the venues small. She would rather sell out the shows and add more shows later on, than have a big venue that is only half-filled each night. The downside is that she will possibly have to perform more times at each city. But it might be good too because she will cut down on travelling time between cities and have more time to rest at each city.

Whatever it is, I hope the smaller venue does not equate to less elaborate production. I want the full works! Fireworks, pyrotechnics, giant LEDs, sets, everything! Don't shortchange me, Janet! :)

I also hope that she goes all out in her performance and doesn't go too all too "intimate" on me. I still want to see the dance routines and not just mostly stripped-down versions of songs. You can do an Unplugged Tour next, but not this time. I want my first Janet concert to be perfect!

After the 35 cities have been selected, the next step will be to announce the tour dates. There is no indication yet on when they might be, but I think it's gonna be sooner rather than later, to keep the momentum going. So it might come as early as February or March next year.

But seeing that all the other concerts in February and March have already been announced and gone on sale already, Janet better hurry up and get in the act too. Times are good, but there's only so many concerts one can afford to go to.

Of course, I hope Janet will come to Singapore, but if not, I'm hoping Hong Kong, Taipei or Shanghai get it. Surely one of these Asian cities will be picked. I don't believe Janet will be so cruel to leave out Asia altogether, especially since she's already omitted Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

Alright, shall wait for more updates from Miss Jackson!

Labels: ,

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Concerts Galore!

2011 is going to be a great year for live music as there will be tons of international artists dropping by our shores for concerts in the first three months of the year. Here's a snapshot of the upcoming shows lined up so far:

8 Jan
AKON Live In Singapore
Singapore Indoor Stadium
$88, $108, $128, $148, $158

29 Jan
St. Jerome's Laneway Festival
Lineup: !!!, Beach House, Deerhunter, Foals, Holy F***, Lady Hawke, The Temper Trap, Warpaint, Yeasayer
Fort Canning Park

9 Feb
Taylor Swift Live In Singapore
Singapore Indoor Stadium
$90, $105, $125, $150, $175

14 Feb
Eric Clapton Live In Singapore
Singapore Indoor Stadium
$99, $199, $299, $399

15 Feb
Iron Maiden The Final Frontier World Tour Singapore 2011
Singapore Indoor Stadium
$98, $128, $148, $178

16 Feb
Deftones Diamond Eyes Tour Singapore 2011
Fort Canning Park
$88 (early bird, till 31 Dec), $98 (standard), $110 (showday)

22 Feb
Faithless with special guests Friendly Fires Live In Singapore
Fort Canning Park
$98 (early bird, till 30 Nov), $115 (standard), $140 (showday)

23 Feb
Eagles Long Road Out Of Eden Live In Singapore
Singapore Indoor Stadium
$98, $168, $268, $368, $499

9 Mar
Michael Buble Crazy Love Tour Live In Singapore
Singapore Indoor Stadium
$98, $128, $188, $228, $288

Taylor Swift's concert is almost sold out - only single seats left for the $175 category. Michael Buble's concert should also sell out very quickly. Eagles and Eric Clapton are two of the most credible artists but their tickets are rather pricey. Iron Maiden is another vintage act and this will be their first concert here, so they should expect a healthy turnout.

I think there will be more concerts to be announced soon, so the fight for concertgoers' dollars is going to be intense. Hope every artist will do well, but I'm currently most crazy about Michael Buble's show! Should be a very entertaining one.

Friday, November 19, 2010

What's Rocking My World Lately

Apologies for the super long lag between posts. Here's just a quick shout out on the tunes that are rocking my world lately...

Cee Lo Green - Fuck You
Yet another cheeky song titled Fuck You (the last one was by Lily Allen last year), this song by Cee Lo Green reminds me a lot of Outkast's Hey Ya! Even the music video shares the same retro look and feel. The snappy lyrics and Cee Lo's vocal delivery make this a standout hit.

My Chemical Romance - Na Na Na
I was never a HUGE My Chemical Romance fan, but I think this song and their new album is about to make me a convert. Totally riotous, bold, fun and refreshing. The video is superb too. We need more ground-breakers like this.

Travie McCoy - Need You
If you thought Billionaire was a one-off hit, this follow-up single from Travie's solo album Lazarus will prove you wrong. I like the fact that he uses a real band and instruments, not like 99% of the generic, programmed stuff that's topping the charts all over right now. The video is a little weird though.

Katy Perry - Firework
I liked California Gurls and Teenage Dream, but now I like this the best among them all. Such a great chorus that lifts you up and makes you sing out loud. I like the strings part in the build up to the chorus. The opening line "Do you ever feel like a plastic bag?" is quite hilarious, but somehow it works.

Bruno Mars - Grenade
Bruno Mars is surely the most outstanding new artist of the year. He has a tremendous voice, and is a true triple threat - singer, songwriter, producer. He has already scored hits guesting on Billionaire with Travie McCoy, Nothin' On You with B.o.B, and he also co-wrote and produced Cee Lo's Fuck You. This is one artist I'm very looking forward to watching perform live.

Josh Groban - Hidden Away
I think the reason why Josh Groban has been so successful is because he appeals to a wide demographic. He is young, good looking, has a good sense of humour, talented and most importantly, has a great voice that is powerful yet not too stuffy. This song takes a few listens to get to you, but I guarantee you'll love it after 5 spins. The intro reminds me a little of Bridge Over Troubled Water.

Robbie Williams & Gary Barlow - Shame
Robbie recently reunited with Take That, and this track is from Robbie's latest greatest hits album, not from the Take That album. It's a nice duet and I think their voices complement each other well. Love the melody and harmony vocals.

One more song that is high on my list is Keep Your Head Up by Michael Jackson, which is from the upcoming Michael album. But the song has not been officially released yet (it's been leaked), so I shall not post it here for now. But it's a really good song with meaningful lyrics and a great vocal performance by Michael. His voice was as pure as ever. So happy to hear that.

Alright, I shall attempt to post more before I embark on my Sydney trip in December to watch Linkin Park, U2 and Bon Jovi in concert. I'll post pics of these!