Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814 - Rhythm Nation World Tour

Rhythm Nation World Tour

The Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour became Jackson's first world concert tour in support of a studio album. She was assisted by a team of eleven musicians, back-up singers, and six dancers. Anthony Thomas was selected as chief choreographer for the tour. Musician and record producer Chuckii Booker was hired as Jackson's musical director; his band became the tour's opening act. Reporter Doug Adrianson wrote: "Because of the inevitable comparisons with brother Michael, 32, expectations for the Rhythm Nation Tour are higher than a moonwalk. To make sure the show is suitably spectacular, Jackson and musical director Chuckii Booker rehearsed with a sizable crew for two weeks at the Pensacola Civic Centre ... the same place Michael fine-tuned his Bad tour." Total production cost was an estimated $2 million dollars.

The debut concert in Miami, Florida on March 1, 1990 sold out prior to the performance. Music Critic Deborah Wilker remarked that " does not present a serious threat to brother Michael, though she has proven beyond any doubt she is a formidable force in her own right." She also reported on the media attention surrounding the opening concert, stating, "he kick-off of this tour was a media event, with reporters and film crews from across the country on hand. In the audience was Janet's brother Jackie and mother Katherine, as well as singer Whitney Houston and producers Jam and Lewis." Described as "an elaborately choreographed spectacle" by Entertainment Weekly, the tour aimed to re-create the award-winning, visually innovative music videos of Rhythm Nation 1814's numerous hit singles and those of its predecessor, Control. Jay Cocks of Time magazine stated that her stage show integrated "sleek high tech and smooth dance rhythm into an evening of snazzy soul with a social conscience" and that the tour "leaves no doubt that she's not a studio-made creature." Critic Chris Willman expressed: "If the dancing in Janet's tour is even more enthralling than that of brother Michael ... it's because she spends so much of her stage time working with six other dancers as part of a hip-hop chorus line. It represents the pinnacle of what can be done in the popping 'n' locking style—a rapid-fire mixture of rigidly jerky and gracefully fluid movements." Some observed that Jackson, like many of her contemporaries, lip-synched parts of her stage show. Jon Pareles commented "ost lip-synched shows are done by video-era pop performers whose audiences are young and television trained. They fill arenas to enjoy a spectacle like what they saw on television—the dancing ... the stage effects and incidentally the songs." Critic Michael MacCambridge described lip-synching as a "moot point", stating, "Jackson was frequently singing along with her own pre-recorded vocals, to achieve a sound closer to radio versions of singles."

The first international concert, which took place in Tokyo, Japan, sold out the Tokyo Dome within seven minutes—a record for the fastest sellout in the history of the Dome. Los Angeles Times reported that "Japan became a 'Rhythm Nation' as Janet Jackson opened her tour at the Tokyo Dome, cascading thunderous waves of funk and choreography over 50,000 people ... The choreography, a cross between break-dancing and military maneuvers, sent some spectators dancing into the aisles." Jackson also performed in Osaka and Yokohama before returning to the United States and then traveled to Europe for the final leg of her tour. Grossing $28.1 million, the tour ranked number five among the best-selling of 1990, making Jackson the only female artist to place within the top ten. The Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour, with an attendance of over two million patrons, remains the most successful debut tour by any recording artist. A number of commentators began to acknowledge the social impact of Jackson's work during her tour. William Allen, then-executive vice president of the United Negro College Fund, told the Los Angeles Times, "Jackson is a role model for all young people to emulate and the message she has gotten to the young people of this country through the lyrics of 'Rhythm Nation 1814' is having positive effects." Joel Selvin of the San Francisco Chronicle expressed, "the 23-year-old has been making smash hit records for four years, becoming a fixture on MTV and a major role model to teenage girls across the country." Deborah Wilker stated: "Jackson is a rare positive role model for kids—particularly young women who have been video-bred on the bimbo look. Jackson thankfully keeps her clothes on ... she preaches brotherhood and racial unity; and she comes across as a confident young lady who is very much in control." Ebony magazine reported on her reputation as a fashion icon stating that "s Janet was entertaining 2 million fans during her triumphant Rhythm Nation tour, hoards of teen girls were imitating her distinctive look—black quasi-military long jackets, black tight-tight pants, and big white shirts."

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