Rock Witchu Tour
|Tour by Janet Jackson|
|Start date||September 10, 2008|
|End date||November 1, 2008|
|No. of shows||16 in North America|
|Box office||$11.7 million ($13 million in 2017 dollars)|
|Janet Jackson concert chronology|
Rock Witchu Tour was the fifth concert tour by American singer-songwriter, Janet Jackson, in support of her tenth studio album Discipline. This was Jackson's first tour in nearly seven years. The tour visited North America. A Japanese leg was planned for February 2009, however the concert promoters for the Japan dates later cancelled them due to illness and the events of the 2009 economic crisis. The tour officially ended on November 1, 2008 in New York City. At the end of 2008, the tour placed 78th on Pollstar's "Top 100 North American Tours", grossing $11.7 million from 16 shows.
After releasing her eighth studio album, Damita Jo (2004), Janet dealt with criticism with the massively controversial Super Bowl incident, resulting a blacklist of Jackson's subsequent singles and music videos from several conglomerates, including Viacom and CBS and various subsidiaries, which largely affected Jackson's airplay on many radio formats and music channels worldwide. Due to that, Jackson didn't go on tour to support Damita Jo, and instead recorded her ninth studio album during 2005-2006. The album, entitled 20 Y.O., was released in September, 2006, and it was announced that Janet was prepping a worldwide tour to promote the album. However, the unnamed tours were canceled abruptly when Jackson began recording new material. Jackson stated:
"I was supposed to go on tour with the last album [...] We were actually in full-blown tour rehearsals at that point ... learning numbers, getting everything together, set designs [...] I had to kind of shut everything down and go into the studio."
In early 2008 on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Jackson announced that she would go on tour. The audience was given free tickets to her show at the Staples Center. While planning the tour, Jackson started a phone line where fans could call in and request songs to be performed. Jackson was set to perform all of her memorable hits, including those from her pre-Control days.
According to Janet herself, "It will definitely be a big production but it will definitely also be something that I've never done before, that people have never seen from me before." The title of the tour, "Rock Witchu Tour", was named for a song of the same name on her latest album, "Discipline". The tour was set to be worldwide, with Janet stating, "It's been a while so I really want to make my rounds. I haven't been to Australia in a very long time; I can't wait to go there. There are a lot of places where I really want to stop off at, and that's the idea, that's the goal with this tour."
In April 2008, the singer claimed, "I'm still promoting the new album (Discipline) right now, but we'll be getting into rehearsals in about a month and then start touring," Jackson says. For Janet, "My true goal is to try at least do every single that I’ve ever had. So, I’ve got to figure out a way to fit this in two hours, and yet give them enough of each song so that they don’t feel hungry for more of that song in particular." The two and a half hour show kicked off in Vancouver on September 10, 2008 to rave reviews.
For two hours, the show sees Janet performing nearly 40 hits, complete with theatrics, costume changes and a few surprises. According to Janet, the tour features a set list that was directly influenced by her fans. The setup of the stage includes a giant square-shaped catwalk surrounding the first several front rows of seats, reaching out to the center of the arena where fans could see Jackson from any level of seating. Rows of seating inside the catwalk were exclusively designed for those with purchased fan club memberships. There are three video screens that take on the stage, including the biggest one being in the center where video clips are shown throughout songs to take place for effects and in-between costume change breaks. Other special staging includes movable staircases, steel cages, pyrotechnics, and other special pieces.
The show begins with an echo of words being said in the distance of the arena, such as "Janet", "Rock Witchu", "Dance", and "Discipline". As the words speed up, the show lights come on and several dancers dressed as astronauts appear on the stage, with two standing beside two big glittery "J"’s (representing Janet’s name.) The "J"’s move back and forth on the center of the stage with stars appearing on the center video screen (a representation of Space). Pretty soon, fog appears in front of the audience and a bang of pyrotechnics blasts, thus beginning the opening of the show. Jackson appears on the upper center section of the stage in a gold hyperspace dance suit singing "The Pleasure Principle", as well as "Control", when 13 dancers join her, emerging from underground in various positions around the massive stage, and "What Have You Done for Me Lately", on the "Control Medley", and later moving on to "Feedback". She then performed "You Want This," "Alright" and "Miss You Much." Afterward Janet did a brief costume change and returned to the stage in a sultry red dress to perform a string of ballads including "Come Back to Me", "Again" and "Let's Wait Awhile." After another wardrobe change, she came back out to perform a mixture of old and new songs including "So Excited", "Together Again", "Nasty," "Escapade", "That's the Way Love Goes," "Luv" and "Rhythm Nation".
Her duets with Nelly, Q-Tip and Dave Navarro had the musicians appearing on a pre-recorded video and performing their verses while Janet sang on stage. Other notable performances of the night include the Pre-"Control" medley, in which Jackson performs songs she has never done before live from her first two albums Janet Jackson and Dream Street, as well as an S&M display on-stage with a lucky audience member to perform the title track off Jackson's tour supporting album, Discipline. During the performance, she had her dancers pull up a male audience member and strap him into a harness; he was then suspended midair as Jackson teased him with a highly suggestive set of moves and the breathy soft-core porn of the track. For the finale of the show, Jackson and her dancers perform "Luv" and Jackson's top-five hit, "Runaway".
The tour received generally mixed reviews from most music critics. Tim Henley of NewsOK wrote that "Despite the fact that she is 42-years-old, Janet still gave a high energy performance from start to finish. She danced during the entire show, and her choreography was on point. She put Britney, Beyoncé and Usher to shame. Janet has officially solidified herself as the queen. Marsha Lederman of Globe and Mail claimed that "The most memorable moment of the Vancouver show came almost halfway through, when Jackson, dressed in a gold and black glam hip hop-inspired track suit (and one gold glove), stopped on the catwalk after her hit 'Together Again', listened to the crowd roar its approval, and became emotional – really emotional." Lederman called the show, "a fun, glitzy choreographed experience worthy of a woman who's been in show business longer than most of the people in the audience have been alive. Bravo." Rap-Up magazine wrote that, "There are few artists in 2008 who can pack arenas and put on a spectacle the way Janet Jackson can, and last night was proof that Janet’s fans still remain loyal to the icon."
Denise Sheppard of Rolling Stone gave the tour a positive review, writing that Janet "put together a show that was less extravagant in terms of outfits and stage props, attempting instead to bring the bang with pyro and mini-explosions." However, Sheppard criticized "the inclusion of nearly nonsensical video vignettes designed to create a space-age good vs. evil battle," calling it "bizarre". Jason Bracelin of Las Vegas Review-Journal wrote that, "It was a night of sweaty performance art as it was a larger-than-life pop show, with Jackson taking the stage alone at first, without the oversized backing band that most contemporary singers employ to lard up their tunes live." Ann Powers of Los Angeles Times review the Staples Center concert, writing that "Jackson has crafted a spectacle meant to help her finally recover from that Super Bowl incident and prove to those who say she's washed up that, at 42, she still deserves serious attention." However, Powers criticized that, "The elaborate set also made it hard to focus on the charisma of the night's star," saying that its narrative "was painfully unclear and the worst part of the show."
Controversies and additional notes
After ending the first leg of the tour (which ended on September 28, 2008), Janet "got suddenly ill during the sound check" in Montreal and had to be rushed to the hospital. After postponing her Montreal show due to an unspecified illness, Janet also canceled her show in Boston and Philadelphia, according to the venues' Web sites. It was announced that the singer suddenly became ill during the sound check for the show and was hospitalized, but was discharged two hours later, according to a spokesperson from Montreal's Royal Victoria Hospital. According to The Associated Press, Jackson's publicist sent out an e-mail stating that the singer was postponing that night's show in Greensboro, North Carolina, as well as a gig in Atlanta on Sunday and one in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on Tuesday. "Janet was hoping to resume her tour in an effort not to disappoint her fans," read Saturday's statement. "However, after arriving in Greensboro, it became evident that she is not fully recovered. A local doctor advised that she not perform tomorrow." Finally, in November 2008, it was announced that Janet wouldn't be rescheduling seven tour stops she was forced to postpone due to migraine-associated vertigo. The opening act LL Cool J also announced that he has dropped off the bill due to unspecified "scheduling conflicts."
Britney Spears attended the Los Angeles date of the "Rock Witchu Tour" and said the show inspired the choreography for her "Womanizer" video. Rehearsals for "Womanizer" were shown on the documentary Britney: For the Record, with Spears saying "I like how it's close together. In Janet's show that's what they did a lot. She did a lot of close stuff like that with the dancers, and it was so powerful". Spears also hired Janet's stylist from the tour for The Circus Starring Britney Spears tour. During the performance of "Call on Me" in Oakland, Nelly was joined on stage to perform the track with Janet.
- Control Medley: "The Pleasure Principle" / "Control" / "What Have You Done for Me Lately"
- "You Want This"
- "Miss You Much"
- "Never Letchu Go"
- "Come Back to Me" / "Let's Wait Awhile" / "Again"
- "So Excited"
- "So Much Betta"
- "Nasty" (Contains Elements Of Deep Cover (song)
- "All Nite (Don't Stop)"
- "Rock with U"
- "Together Again"
- Pre-Control Medley: "Young Love" / "Say You Do" / "Don't Stand Another Chance"
- "Doesn't Really Matter"
- "Love Will Never Do (Without You)" / "When I Think of You"
- "All for You"
- "Got 'til It's Gone"
- "Call on Me"
- "That's the Way Love Goes"
- "I Get Lonely"
- "Funny How Time Flies (When You're Having Fun)" / "Any Time, Any Place"
- "Black Cat"
- "Rhythm Nation"
- "Luv" (contains elements of Lil Wayne's "Lollipop")
|Date||City||Country||Venue||Opening act||Tickets Sold / Available||Revenue|
|September 10, 2008||Vancouver||Canada||Rogers Arena||Hedspin||8,941 / 11,074 (80%)||$927,098|
|September 13, 2008||Oakland||United States||Oracle Arena||Nelly||9,430 / 12,282 (76%)||$809,478|
|September 17, 2008||Los Angeles||Staples Center||LL Cool J||12,109 / 13,025 (92%)||$1,181,04|
|September 19, 2008||Las Vegas||Mandalay Bay Events Center||N/A||8,085 / 8,168 (98%)||$1,027,602|
|September 20, 2008||San Diego||Valley View Casino Center||N/A||N/A|
|September 25, 2008||Rosemont||Allstate Arena||LL Cool J||9,519 / 11,541 (82%)||$792,139|
|September 28, 2008||Toronto||Canada||Air Canada Centre||LL Cool J||N/A||N/A|
|October 15, 2008||Washington, D.C.||United States||Verizon Center||-||9,720 / 10,389 (93%)||$1,077,846|
|October 17, 2008||East Rutherford||Izod Center||10,865 / 14,247 (76%)||$883,472|
|October 19, 2008||Atlanta||Philips Arena||N/A||7,503 / 9,698 (77%)||$665,775|
|October 21, 2008||Houston||Toyota Center||LL Cool J
|7,090 / 7,470 (94%)||$548,039|
|October 22, 2008||Dallas||American Airlines Center||7,729 / 11,640 (66%)||$532,393|
|October 24, 2008||Kansas City||Sprint Center||N/A||N/A||N/A|
|October 26, 2008||Tulsa||BOK Center||5,355 / 6,208 (86%)||$231,690|
|October 28, 2008||Auburn Hills||The Palace of Auburn Hills||7,733 / 9,687 (79%)||$441,578|
|November 1, 2008||New York City||Madison Square Garden||DJ Juan||9,955 / 12,029 (82%)||$799,082|
|TOTAL||114,034 / 136,542 (84%)||$9,917,237|
|September 29, 2008||Montreal||Canada||Bell Centre|||
|October 1, 2008||Boston||United States||TD Garden|||
|October 2, 2008||Philadelphia||Wells Fargo Center|||
|October 4, 2008||Greensboro||Greensboro Coliseum|||
|October 7, 2008||Sunrise||BB&T Center|||
|October 11, 2008||Uncasville||Mohegan Sun Arena|||
|October 13, 2008||Verona||Turning Stone Event Center|||
|February 14, 2009||Saitama||Japan||Saitama Super Arena||Illness and 2009 economic crisis.|
|February 15, 2009|
|February 17, 2009||Osaka||Osaka-jō Hall|
|February 19, 2009||Nagoya||Nagoya Rainbow Hall|
|February 22, 2009||Fukuoka||Marine Messe Fukuoka|
- Show Director: Janet Jackson & Gil Duldulao
- Promoter: Leonard Rowe
- Creative Director and Choreographer: Gil Duldulao
- Assistant to Creative Director & Choreographer: Stephani Kammer
- Band: Adam Blackstone (Musical Director/Bass), Dave Navarro (Guitars), Lil' John Roberts (Drums), Daniel Jones (Keyboards), Jae Deal (programming, orchestration)
- Costumes: Donatella Versace
- Lighting and Set Design: Vince Foster 
- FOH Sound Engineer: Jon Lemon 
- Pyrotechnics Design: Lorenzo Cornacchia (Vice President of Pyrotek Special Effects)
- Gil Duldulao (Choreographer), Jillian Meyers, Laurel Thompson, Nick Bass, Ed Moore, Teddy Forance, Cassidy Noblett, Victor Rojas, Whyley Yoshimura, Anthony Garza (Swing Dancer)
- Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis Community Development Project. "Consumer Price Index (estimate) 1800–". Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. Retrieved January 2, 2017.
- "Janet Jackson Plans Mini Tour In Japan For 2009". Angry Ape. 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2008-11-28.
- Kaufman, Gil (2009-01-26). "Janet Jackson Cancels Japanese Tour". MTV News. MTVNetworks. Retrieved 2009-02-03.
- "Pollstar Top 100 North American Tours 2008" (PDF). Pollstar. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
- "Nipple Ripples: 10 Years of Fallout From Janet Jackson's Halftime Show". Rolling Stone. Kreps, Daniel. 2012-06-29. Retrieved 2014-01-30.
- Kit, Boris (November 27, 2005). "New Janet Jackson Album Due In February". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved February 23, 2014.
- "Janet Jackson Streams Her Latest Song Online". People Magazine. December 12, 2007. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- Moody, Nekesa Mumbi (2008-05-17). "Janet Jackson Announces First New Tour in 7 Years". ABC News. Archived from the original on May 28, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- Sheppard, Denise (2008-09-11). "Janet Jackson Opens Rock Witchu Tour With Three Decades of Hits, Video Duets and Pyro". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- Helling, Steven (April 22, 2008). "Janet Jackson Plans a Fall Tour – Then Broadway?". People Magazine. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- J. Miccio, Anthony (June 18, 2008). "Five Singles Janet Jackson Shouldn't Bother Relearning For Her Tour". Idolator (website). Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- O'Brian, Amy (2008-09-11). "Janet Jackson does it right". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- Lederman, Marsha (2008-09-11). "Janet Jackson 'has still got it'". Globe and Mail. CTVglobemedia Publishing Inc. Archived from the original on September 14, 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-15.
- Burke, Luke (September 18, 2008). "A Day In The Life Of Janet Jackson And An MTV Producer/Superfan". MTV News. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- Henley, Tim (October 29, 2014). "Janet Jackson concert review". NewsOK. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- Capistrano, Daniela (November 3, 2008). "Janet Jackson Fans Not Buying Her Brand Of Discipline At MSG Show". MTV News. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- Powers, Ann (September 19, 2008). "Live: Janet Jackson at Staples Center". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- "REVIEW: JANET JACKSON GETS FIERCE & FREAKY IN LOS ANGELES". Rap-Up. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- "Bad Janet, Good Janet same singer". Las Vegas Review-Journal. September 21, 2008. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- Vena, Jocelyn (September 30, 2008). "Janet Jackson Hospitalized During Tour: Report". MTV News. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- Vena, Jocelyn (October 1, 2008). "Janet Jackson Postpones Two More Shows Due To Illness". MTV News. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- Kaufman, Gil (October 6, 2008). "Janet Jackson Postpones Three More Shows Due To Undisclosed Illness". MTV News. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- Harris, Chris (November 6, 2008). "Janet Jackson Will Not Reschedule Canceled Rock Witchu Stops, Tour Organizer Says". MTV News. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- Kauffman, Gil (October 28, 2008). "LL Cool J Jumps Off Janet Jackson's Troubled Tour Citing 'Scheduling Conflicts'". MTV News. Retrieved February 24, 2014.
- "Britney For the Record (17:08)".
- "Luxe: The Ultimate Salon and Spa Experience". Archived from the original on December 14, 2011.
- North American box score:
- "Billboard". 120 (41). October 11, 2008. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
- "Billboard". 120 (42). October 18, 2008. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
- "Billboard". 120 (45). November 15, 2008. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
- "Billboard". 120 (47). November 22, 2008. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
- "Billboard". 120 (48). November 29, 2008. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 5, 2014.
- "Janet Jackson's tour dates won't be rescheduled; refunds available". Palm Beach Post. Cox Newspapers. 2008-11-04. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
- Gallo, Phil (2008-09-17). "Janet Jackson". Variety. Retrieved 2008-11-20.
- "Janet Jackson On Tour With Pixellines". Total Production Magazine. 2008-10-09. Retrieved 2008-11-10.
- "Vince Foster Official Site". Vince Foster Light Design. Retrieved 2008-11-10.
- "Jon Lemon Official Website". Jon Lemon Sound Engineer. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
- "D5 Powers 2008 Janet Jackson Mega Tour". Broadcast Buyer. 2008-11-05. Retrieved 2008-11-14.
- "Pyrotek Special Effects Rocks Wich Janet Jackson". Pyrotek Special Effects, Inc. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
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