When: Mon., March 7, 7:30 p.m., Tue., March 8, 7:30 p.m. and Wed., March 9, 7:30 p.m. 2011
Janet Jackson is one of those performers whose work has been so ubiquitous for so long that it's easy to approach her songs collectively, as a single monumental feature of the pop-culture landscape, instead of as individual artistic achievements. Good thing there's her 2009 greatest-hits collection, Number Ones (UMe/A&M), which makes it easier to revisit her best work of the 80s and 90s with fresh ears. Lazy DJs haven't debased and exhausted her music like they have Prince's and her late brother Michael's, and Number Ones provides ample opportunities for astonishment. The songs where she embraces hard rock's muscularity and aggression ("Black Cat," "Nasty") are heavy as fuck. When she shoots for airy pop ("The Pleasure Principle," "Miss You Much," "That's the Way Love Goes"), her voice is so buoyant it makes you wonder if her feet touch the ground more than a few times a day. Her strong vision, her deep involvement in writing and producing, and her genuinely ballsy moves—like making Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation 1814, a quasi-concept album fusing radio-friendly R&B and industrial-flavored dance music—make you wonder why so many people consider her a diva and not a serious artist. —Miles Raymer
Price: Sold out.