Last Night: Janet Jackson At RodeoHouston
More pics of Ms. Jackson can be found in our slideshow.
Keep your shirt on. Janet did.
Clad in a sleek silver catsuit so tight it was a miracle she could even breathe, let alone walk, let alone shimmy, let alone writhe on the stage during "Feedback," let alone pull of the kung-fu dance moves of "If" and "Rhythm Nation," Janet Jackson kicked whatever bad mojo lingered from her Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction straight out of the Reliant Stadium rodeo chute. Girl was smokin'.
And she did shove a backup dancer's face into her crotch during "If," so that was something.
Opening with a 25-minute barrage of robo-synth-funk - "Pleasure Principle," "Control," "What Have You Done For Me Lately," "Feedback," "You Want This," "Nasty Boys," Jackson proved two things Friday night.
One, that Jimmy Jam/Terry Lewis sound has held up like a bulwark in the 25 years since her debut Control was released. Also, a sound based in keyboard, bass and drums is much better suited to the Cavern on Kirby than one based in trebly guitars, though "Nasty Boys" did have a wicked rock-guitar edge.
Damn. And we thought Diana Ross was setting 'em up and knockin' 'em down earlier this week. Also, the Rodeo has got to get Prince in there next year.
Jackson couldn't help but downshift, and she did, into a suite of acoustic ballads highlighted by "Let's Wait a While" and "Again." Earlier it was a little hard to tell how much of the vocals were live and how much were canned, but she was definitely singing these, and singing them well.
She may not have the raw vocal power of Mary J. Blige, but she made this section as intimate as Ms. Mary did last year. Plus, they're such pretty songs. (Yes, we went to school for this.)