The Velvet Rope World Tour
|The Velvet Rope World Tour|
Tour Book Cover
|Tour by Janet Jackson|
|Associated album||The Velvet Rope|
|Start date||April 16, 1998|
|End date||January 30, 1999|
|Shows||61 in North America
33 in Europe
3 in Africa
8 in Australia
6 in Oceania
11 in Asia
|Janet Jackson tour chronology|
The Velvet Rope Tour is the third concert tour by American recording artist Janet Jackson. Launched in support of her sixth studio album The Velvet Rope (1997), the tour embarked on an international trek that included Europe, North America, Africa, Asia, New Zealand and Australia.
Based on The Velvet Rope being focused on autobiographical themes, Jackson developed the tour's concert setting as storybook, allowing spectators to cross into her "velvet rope" and experience her life story through the evolution of her musical career. As with Jackson's previous tours, the intense choreography and complex production of her concerts drew frequent comparison to Broadway theatre. While a number of reviews reported her stage presence was as exceptional as ever, a number of critics also noted improvement in her vocal capability.
To promote the tour, the live special The Velvet Rope: Live in Madison Square Garden was aired on HBO and drew over 15 million viewers. The special won an Emmy Award and received four nominations. It was later released on DVD and Laserdisc as The Velvet Rope Tour – Live in Concert.
Total grosses for "The Velvet Rope World Tour", with inflation over time with 2011's average ticket price, brings the gross tour equivalent to $178,750,000.
Jackson developed the tour as an audiovisual storybook, sharing her life experience through the evolution of her music. Catherine McHugh of Entertainment Design reports: "Part of the reason Janet Jackson titled her latest record The Velvet Rope was to criticize barriers that separate different classes in society. So from the beginning of her show, Jackson strives to prove her accessibility to her audience. The spectacular opening presents Jackson's life—at least professionally—as an open book." The stage for the tour was designed by Mark Fisher. Fisher explained: "Each different scene in the show would be akin to turning the pages in this book, and all the albums that she'd done in the past—Control, Rhythm Nation, janet.—would be represented."
At the beginning of the show, burgundy curtains accented by golden tassels are drawn apart exposing behind it an enormous book. It is covered by an equally large quilt with the words "The Velvet Rope" embossed on it. A dancer, portraying a master of ceremonies, opens the book, which is revealed to be an LED screen. Images dance across the screen until they explode and the screen splits, revealing Jackson behind it. She is subsequently lowered by elevator onto the main stage and the book stand on which the LED screen is removed, leaving the screen hanging in place. It then moves automatically to the back of the stage followed by the band and dancers appearing onstage.
Paul Sexton of The Times who reviewed Jackson opening concert at the Ahoy Rotterdam in Rotterdam, Netherlands, compared her two-hour performance to that of Broadway theatre, calling it "an audiovisual banquet." According to the Birmingham Post the concert at the NEC Arena was an accomplishment. As the concert began "[a]fter the impatient fans had worked themselves into a frenzy, Janet finally arrived amid a barrage of space-age pyro-technics. Of course, at an event such as this, the overall spectacle is as important as the music itself. In true Jackson tradition, the costumes and choreography in this show made for theatre of the highest order." Her vocal performance was also complimented, as Let's Wait Awhile and "Again", "both showcased Janet's ability to belt out heartfelt, if slightly soppy ballads."
In reviewing her concert at the MCI Center in Washington DC, Richard Harrington of The Washington Post commented: "Jackson looked fabulous, danced fabulous, sang as close to fabulous as she ever has and in the end provided a fabulous two hours of entertainment that was equal parts rock concert, Las Vegas revue and Broadway musical." Steve Jones of USA Today remarked: "Janet Jackson had a sellout crowd for the kickoff of her first U.S. tour in four years, and she blew the fans away with imaginative staging and sheer exuberance." Critic J.D. Considine noted that "[o]n albums, Jackson's sound isn't defined by her voice so much as by the way her voice is framed by the lush, propulsive production of Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis. No surprise, then, that her concert took a similar approach, treating Jackson's voice as just one component in the overall spectacle ... But even though Jackson showed strength from time to time—her singing on "Black Cat" was commanding enough to hold its own against the wailing electric guitar—she's hardly a vocal powerhouse."
Natasha Kassulke of the Wisconsin State Journal commented: "The concert captured the scope of Jackson's talent from songwriter to singer, producer, actress, dancer and fashion diva." Similarly, Gemma Tarlach of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel observed: "A tiny dynamo of constant motion, Jackson strutted, slunk and grooved her way from one end of the stage to the other ... Her voice, sometimes thin and girlish on her albums, sounded fuller and more powerful than ever. Michael's baby sister? Nope, the commander of her own rhythm nation, in complete control. The show was as much a feast visually as musically." Pop music critic Kevin Johnson called The Velvet Rope World Tour "one of the flashiest on the concert scene."
Elizabeth Aird, who reviewed her concert at GM Place wrote: "If there's a show sexier and more polished than Janet Jackson's The Velvet Rope extravaganza, it's only on Broadway ... Saturday night's show at GM Place was two hours of thrills pumped out by Jackson, her never-say-die dancers and her powerful band." Similarly Los Angeles Times music critic Robert Hilburn remarked that "[t]here is so much of the ambition and glamour of a Broadway musical in Janet Jackson's new Velvet Rope tour that it's only fitting that the concert program credits her as the show's 'creator and director'." Like other critics, Hilburn writes that Jackson at times appears to be lost in her own production, "[y]et there were several moments in the show when Jackson stepped beyond the production values and touched us in a way the best pop performers have done over the years. From the playfulness of the fairy tale staging of "Escapade" to the artful musical stretch of "Got 'Til It's Gone" (the marvelous track she built around a sample of Joni Mitchell's "Big Yellow Taxi") to the intimacy of her soul-searching "Special," Jackson has put a personal stamp on this show that humanizes not only the music but also the performer too."
James Sullivan of the San Francisco Chronicle observed her concert at the new arena "offered a career retrospective, punctuated by new material, periodic video diversions and fireworks." "The show was a lot like an '80s flashback, though to its credit Jackson's eight-piece band—bass, guitar, drums and percussion, two keyboardists and two backup singers—added some inventive layering to her older hits." Charles Passy of the Palm Beach Post reported that Jackson's show at the Coral Sky Amphitheatre emphasized style over substance. He comments her "two-hour set was about half hormones—and half pyrotechnics. Without much in the way of a voice, she has sold her persona throughout her career. And as that persona has evolved from girlish teenager to sexually sophisticated woman, her albums—and tours—have provided a road map." Jet magazine reported: "With wit, sass, dance and a whole lot of sex appeal, Janet turns her song and dance fest into one of the major musical events of the year. In fact, it has become the must-see concert of the year." Christine Robertson of the Evening Post, who reviewed Jackson's concert at the Queens Wharf Events Centre in Wellington, New Zealand, commented: "The sleek choreography and superb dance spectacle saw Jackson seldom take a breath from one set to the next—her control of the stage complete. Most of the time she plunged into two decades of hits which give her the right to stand her ground among the Jackson musical dynasty."
- "Video Introduction" (contains elements from "Someday is Tonight", "Rhythm Nation", "Livin' in a World (They Didn't Make)", "Special", "Escapade", "Black Cat")
- "Velvet Rope"
- "Every Time" 1
- "Let's Wait Awhile"
- Control Medley:
- "I Get Lonely"
- "Any Time, Any Place" (Instrumental Interlude)
- "Rope Burn"
- "Black Cat" 3
- "What About" 3 (contains an instrumental excerpt of Kool & the Gang's "Jungle Boogie")
- "Rhythm Nation"
1 Only performed in the final performance in Tokyo, Japan
2 Performed only on the European shows
3 Cut at some shows including Oakland, CA
4 Added to the setlist halfway through the European leg of the tour
- N Sync (North America - October 14 - October 28)
- Another Level (Europe)
- Usher (North America - July 9 - October 11)
- 98 Degrees (Hawaii)
- Lynden David Hall (South Africa)
- Boom Shaka (South Africa)
- Dr. Victor & the Rasta Rebels (South Africa)
- Che Fu (New Zealand)
- Boyz II Men (New Zealand - Auckland show only)
- Human Nature (Australia)
- The tour grossed over $78 million worldwide. Total grosses for "The Velvet Rope World Tour", with inflation over time with 2011's average ticket price, brings the gross tour equivalent to $178,750,000.
- The Velvet Rope Tour kicked off in The Netherlands at Ahoy Rotterdam. She later came back to the country for her biggest show at the Gelredome in Arnhem.
- "The Velvet Rope World Tour" visited 5 continents, the most for any Janet tour. It gave Janet the opportunity to perform for her fans in many European countries, including Netherlands, Belgium, France, Germany, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom. The European leg was a complete sell-out. The tour also moved to North America before flying to South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and Japan.
- The tour's closing date at the Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii broke attendance records. The stadium's original capacity of 35,000 for a concert has to be expanded to 38,000 to accommodate additional ticket demands, making Janet the only artist in the stadium's history to fill the venue over its intended capacity. Janet still holds the record for the most attended concert at the Aloha Stadium.
- The broadcast of "The Velvet Rope Tour" garnered numerous award nominations, including an astounding 13 Emmy Awards nominations and won in the category of "Outstanding Technical Direction/Camera/Video for a Special". Other nominations included "Outstanding Choreography", "Outstanding Lighting Direction (Electronic) for a Drama Series, Variety Series, Miniseries, Movie or a Special", and "Outstanding Music Direction".
- The tour was Janet's first filmed concert to be commercially released.
- "The Velvet Rope World Tour" is notable for helping to promote and introduce N Sync and Justin Timberlake, who were the opening acts for many dates of the tour. Timberlake would later perform with Janet on the massively controversial Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show.
- Q-Tip made a surprise guest appearance during "Got 'Til It's Gone" for both of the New York City dates.
- Janet sampled Busta Rhymes's "Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See" in a dance breakdown during "Nasty".
- Portions of the proceeds from the North American show went to America's Promise, a foundation founded by Colin Powell to help children and youth from all socioeconomic sectors in the United States. Janet made several appearances with Powell to promote the organization and he also attended one of her shows.
- A live music video for the song "You" was directed by David Mallet and filmed during the tour at the shows in Glasgow and Manchester.
- "The Velvet Rope World Tour" had an estimated worldwide attendance of nearly two million.
- Musical Director: Rex Salas
- Drums: John Roberts
- Keyboards: Rex Salas and Darrel Smith
- Percussion: Terry Santiel
- Guitar: David Barry
- Bass: Sam Sims
- Background Vocals: Stacy Campbell and Rebecca Valadez
- Tina Landon (choreographer)
- Kelly Konno
- Gil Duldulao, Jr*
- Michael Andrews
- Tyce Diorio
- Teresa Espinosa (Swing Dancer)
- Shawnette Heard
- Nikki Pantenburg
- Robert Vinson
Crew and Personnel
- Set designer: Mark Fisher
- Lighting designer: Roy Bennett
- Lighting programmer: Gary Westcott
- FOH sound engineer: Rob "Cubby" Colby
- Monitor engineer: Peter Buess
- Lighting technician : Lee Gipson
- Sound technicians: David Moncrieffe, Francesco Sgambellone
- Video director: George Elizondo
- Production manager: Chris Lamb
- Production director: Dave Russell
- Production assistant: Aimee Moreau
- Lighting director: Guy Forrester
- Tour coordinator: Rusty Hooker
- Tour managers: Dave Russell, Jaime Mendoza
- Stage manager: Anthony Giordano
- Lighting crew chief: Clay Brakeley
- Vari-Lite technician: John "Big Nose" Bedell
- Icon technician: Ken Delvo
- Lighting technicians: Robert Fry, Robert Braccia, William Cherrington, John Lovegrove
- Electrician: John Zajone
- Head rigger: Thomas Thompson
- Rigger: Charles Melton
- Head carpenter: Frank Carra
- Carpenters: Robert Mullin, Peter Turchyn, Anthony Whitehead, Timothy Shanahan
- Video crew chief: Gerald McReynolds
- Video engineer: Jon Huntington
- Camera operators: Redo Jackson, David Sykes, Mark Stutsman, Giles Conte
- Video technician: Neil Broome
- Pyro technician: Robert Hood
- Costume designers: Helen Hiatt; David Cardona for Bowman Cardona; Constance Jolcuvar
- Head wardrobe: Bonnie Fleslan
- Wardrobe: Leanne Doescher, Tony Villanueva
- Lighting: Light & Sound Design/Nick Jackson; Vari-Lite/Lee Frankham
- Sound: Showco/Robin Magruder and M.L. Procise
- Set construction: Tait Towers/Michael Tait and Winky Fairorth
- Inflatables: Air Artists/Rob Harries, Brilliant Stages/Charlie Kail
- Backdrops: P.W. Stage Productions/David Perry
- Video: BCC Video/Danny O'Bryen
- Pyrotechnics: Associated Pyrotechnicians/Francis Pilkerton
- Power: Showpower/John Campion
The tour's premier concert at the Joe Louis Arena sold-out within three hours, causing Jackson to add a second showing for a later date. The tour grossed over 33 million dollars in the United States alone. Total grosses for "The Velvet Rope World Tour", with inflation over time with 2011's average ticket price, brings the gross tour equivalent to $178,750,000.
|Tickets Sold||Tickets On Sale||Percentage Sold|
|July 9, 1998 ||MCI Center||Washington, D.C.||15,069||15,069||100%||$883,142|
|July 24, 1998 ||Rosemont Horizon||Rosemont, Illinois||26,204||26,204||100%||$1,542,845|
|July 25, 1998|
|August 16, 1998 ||Shoreline Amphitheatre||Mountain View, California||21,420||21,420||100%||$769,625|
|August 28, 1998 ||San Diego Sports Arena||San Diego, California||11,000||11,000||100%||$552,910|
|September 3, 1998 ||BI-LO Center||Greenville, South Carolina||10,840||10,840||100%||$531,344|
|September 5, 1998 ||Nashville Arena||Nashville, Tennessee||12,598||14,667||86%||$507,214|
|September 11, 1998 ||Coral Sky Amphitheatre||West Palm Beach, Florida||12,764||17,000||75%||$491,891|
|September 12, 1998 ||Ice Palace||Tampa Bay, Florida||12,196||14,539||84%||$595,560|
|September 29, 1998 ||Skydome||Toronto||16,314||16,314||100%||$720,928|
|October 3, 1998 ||Hartford Civic Center||Hartford, Connecticut||10,733||12,500||86%||$504,109|
|October 10, 1998 ||Madison Square Garden||New York City, New York||28,930||28,930||100%||$2,042,024|
|October 11, 1998|
|January 30, 1999 ||Aloha Stadium||Honolulu, Hawaii||38,224||38,224||100%||$2,164,000|
- Catherine McHugh (Jan. 1999), "Together again", Entertainment Design 33 (1): 22
- Paul Sexton (1998-04-20), "Sweet to the beat", The Times: 19, ISSN 0140-0460
- "Space-age Janet's velvet night", Birmingham Post, 1998-05-30: 3
- Richard Harrington (1998-07-10), The Washington Post: D.01, ISSN 0190-8286
- Steve Jones (1998-07-13), "Jackson's actions wow fans on tour", USA Today: 1.D
- J.D. Considine (1998-07-11), "It's her `Velvet Rope' tour, but Janet Jackson gets lost in the crowd; Music review: Back-up singers, back-up dancers help make the show lively", The Sun: 4.E
- Natasha Kassulke (1998-07-29), "Janet Jackson both serious and playful", Wisconsin State Journal: 5.D
- Gemma Tarlach (1998-07-29), "Mature Janet Jackson takes control Bradley Center show is a musical, visual feast", Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: 6
- Kevin Johnson (1998-07-31), "Behind the Velvet Rope", St. Louis Post-Dispatch: E.1
- Elizabeth Aird (1998-08-10), "Planet Janet : The pop superstar puts on a show that's simply out of this world—to the delirious delight of her adoring Vancouver fans whose faith was rewarded with two hours of non-stop thrills", The Vancouver Sun: B.6
- Robert Hilburn (1998-08-20), "Cover Story; Just Warming Up; Janet Jackson brings her Velvet Rope tour to L.A., more secure in her worth as a performer and a person", Los Angeles Times: 6, ISSN 0458-3035
- James Sullivan (1998-08-15), "Nasty or Nice? Janet Can't Decide / Jackson shows inner child onstage", San Francisco Chronicle: E.1, ISSN 1932-8672
- Charles Passy (1998-09-12), "Hormones Rage on Janet's Stage", Palm Beach Post: 5.B
- "On concert tour, Janet invites fans inside her Velvet Rope", Jet 94 (15), 1998-09-07: 56
- Christine Robertson (1998-12-01), "Janet erupts to tease and delight", Evening Post: 2
- Together Again
- First Show Sold Out --Second Show Added for Janet Jackson's The Velvet Rope Tour '98 Saturday, July 18, 8 p.m. at Joe Louis Arena, PR Newswire, 1998-04-09, p. 1
- "Polls show Black celebs start new year among best and biggest in show business", Jet 95 (7), 1999-01-18: 56