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!

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