The Saratoga Performing Arts Center or SPAC, just 35 miles north of Albany, is a venue where I’ve seen dozens of concerts. But none recently until I saw Janet Jackson last month with my friend Mary from church.
Janet is the youngest of the musical Jackson clan who I used to watch as Penny during the latter days of of the TV show Good Times. The Times Union reviewer is correct, that she “is one of the most important and successful artists ever.”
I’ll admit that I was much more familiar with the early work of Janet Jackson, the Control (1986) and especially the Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989) albums. Fortunately, she performed generous chunks from each.
It was clear that she wanted to both address the State of the World, the title of the opening video as well as the name of the tour, and to have her fans have a dance party. At 52, she has a LOT of energy, as did her eight dancers, along with a four-piece band and a DJ.
The Troy Record reviewer noted: “Toward the end of the night Jackson showed photos of her father Joe Jackson, who passed away just last month, during her 1997 hit Together Again. Michael Jackson, Janet’s brother, also showed up on the stage’s big screen during Scream, a song they released together in 1995.
We were glad to have gone. As Mary noted, “Fun show, great music, amazing dancing.” We were REALLY glad that it didn’t rain, because we had lawn seats and did not want to be sitting in a sea of mud. That’s something the younger selves could have endured. My thanks to my ticket benefactor, so the only expenditure was the $10 parking charge.
Listen to Janet Jackson:
It’s odd that I haven’t been to SPAC in a while. I saw Joni Mitchell there in 1974 (Miles of Aisles tour), Talking Heads in 1984 (Stop Making Sense), Bobby McFerrin in 1999 with the Philadelphia Orchestra, other orchestra and ballet performances, at least a half dozen Jazz Festivals, and the 1998 folk festival with Lyle Lovett, Joan Baez and many others.
We gotta get out more.