Jake’s Take’s Concert Reviews: Janet Jackson at Barclays Center

Janet Jackson State of the World Tour

(Poster property of Live Nation Entertainment)

By: Jacob Elyachar, jakes-take.com

I have waited two years to see Janet Jackson perform live!

Halfway through her Unbreakable World Tour, Janet hit the pause button to start a family with her then-husband, Wissam Al Mana.  The “If” singer vowed that she would be back as soon as she gave birth to her son, Eissa.  Now, Ms. Jackson is near the home stretch of her new tour: The State of the World Tour.

Around 7:00 PM, thousands of fans began to descend on Brooklyn’s Barclays Center for the opportunity to watch the music icon perform.  Before the “Rhythm Nation” superstar entered the area, Philadelphia-based DJ AKTIVE, got the audience energized. His playlist included numerous hits from Janet’s songbook such as “Doesn’t Really Matter,” “If,” and “Because of Love.” The Jackson heavy playlist also included the late King of Pop’s “Remember the Time” and “Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough,” plus the Jacksons’ “Shake Your Body Down to the Ground” and the Jackson Five classic “ABC.”

Ms. Jackson’s fans were delighted to be there as her fans ranged from fans who were about to experience Janet Jackson for the very first time to veterans who have seen her very first tour: Rhythm Nation World Tour 1990. Several fans showed their devotion to the pop star by wearing various tour merchandise including t-shirts from Ms. Jackson’s multiple tours. A concertgoer in a shirt from The Velvet Rope Tour told me before the show stated that the Velvet Rope Tour was his very first concert ever. Also, I also saw a fan dancing on the floor with a long sleeve black shirt that had all of Janet’s album titles on sprinkled on it.

Around 8:45 PM, the show started as Janet Jackson made her fantastic entrance. In a mere five minutes, Ms. Jackson denounced white supremacy, right-wing extremism, and domestic terrorism, while honoring the unarmed black men who were killed by police officers: Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Jonathan Ferrell.  “The Knowledge,” Janet’s track from Rhythm Nation 1814, also accompanied the video.

Ms. Jackson tore through her songbook throughout the evening. Several tracks that she performed included the tour’s title track, “BURNITUP,” (which featured rapper Missy Elliott on the video screen), a plethora of medleys that weaved some of her top songs together, “That’s the Way Love Goes,” and “No Sleeep” (which featured rapper J. Cole on the video screen).

The absolute highlights of the night were the powerful one-two punches of “Together Again” and the intense “What About” that featured two pairings of Janet’s dancers portraying couples dealing with domestic abuse and addiction.  Barclays Center erupted with delight when Michael Jackson appeared on the video screen for “Scream,” I got chills seeing perform the only collaboration that she had with her brother.  She ended the night with spectacular performances of “If” and “Rhythm Nation” that had the crowd on its feet.

The only complaints that I had of the concert was that Janet sang too many medleys.  Ms. Jackson could have easily taken out “Twenty Foreplay” and “Island Life” for full-length versions of “Escapade,” “When I Think of You,” and “All for You.”   Also, I was disappointed with the exclusion of “Black Cat” and that the beautiful and haunting “Again” was reduced to a video piece.

Final thoughts & grade: Despite lacking several signature songs and too many medleys, Janet Jackson’s State of the World Tour is probably one of the best tours that I have seen. It was eye appealing concert that will delight many Janet fans. However, for newbies, make sure that you take time to look at setlist.fm so you can be prepared for this fantastic show. B+/A-


  1. Treena Dixon says

    Jake I was the concert goer who sat next to you. I just lost my mind when she performed Scream. I am a veteran Janet fan and was excited about the energy she brings to the stage. The medleys performed are signatures. I just can’t say enough about how I loved the show and the fans.

    • Hi Treena! It was so nice meeting you at the concert. Thank you for the comment. I am glad that you enjoyed seeing Janet live. There will never be another Janet Jackson. Have a wonderful weekend!

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Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar