Wearing a metallic black latex bodysuit that accentuated her cleavage and curvaceous hips, Janet Jackson burst onto the stage on Friday night at the Nangang Exhibition Hall in a cloud of smoke. Taiwanese fans were so excited when she belted out Pleasure Principle, and a medley that included Control and What Have You Done for Me Lately, they danced on top of the chairs and in the aisles.
Backed by six dancers in silver-tinted spacesuits and an eight-piece band, Jackson performed the final stop of the Asian leg of her Number Ones: Up Close and Personal world tour. With a thick catalogue of hits from her nearly 20-year career to pick through, Jackson preformed signature songs like Nasty, Love Will Never Do Without You and That’s the Way Love Goes.
For some members of the audience, though, Jackson’s show didn’t live up to the hype. James Morgan Stewart, a resident DJ at Room 18, said, “She’s not Kylie Minogue. She’s not Beyonce. And she’s lip-syncing.”
The pacing of the concert was uneven. One minute, Jackson had the whole crowd on its feet swaying to the music. The next, people were sitting down and checking their phones while one of the three overly long video interludes showcased her acting turns in Good Times, Poetic Justice and Nutty Professor II: The Klumps.
The night’s biggest reaction came when the final video montage flashed up photographs from Jackson’s childhood, which included shots of her deceased brother Michael, the late King of Pop. Jackson then launched into Scream, their aggressive duet aimed at all the tabloid coverage the Jackson family receives.
Scream segued into Rhythm Nation, and Jackson and the dancers broke out the instantly recognizable military-style dance from the video. The band then got to show off its hard rock chops for a few minutes before launching into Black Cat, Jackson’s 1989 hit.
Fans shrieked for an encore, so Jackson obliged and sang Together Again as the finale before a joyous group hug and a few “Taiwan, I love you’s.”