About three things I was absolutely positive:
Edward was a vampire. oops I mean, Janet Jackson is my one TRUE LOVE
Second, there was part of me — and I didn’t know how potent that part might be — that thirsted for her presence.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably not the craziest fan she has…
(I wish I had taken pictures of these people, but I was in a strange city all by myself)
Case #1 – Thug Loving
I turn to my left and a couple rows in front of me and to the other end, there stands Kareem (I use that name because I’m racist ok and well he looked like a Kareem).
Kareem is dressed in a baseball hat (rim not bent), a white very starched shirt (outside of his tweed pants and a tie. He thinks he looks really good and keeps asking nearby patrons to take pics of him alone and then of him and his well-dressed girlfriend.
Cut to the first appearance of Janet on stage and I turn to my left to see him on his feet jumping up and down and shouting “Yeah Yeah Yeah that’s my girl!!” His girlfriend is sitting with a shocked look on her face.
CASE#2 – All that glitters is not gold
The couple to the back of me had just started up a conversation with me as I met the guy in one of my many walks near the theatre earlier that day. His girlfriend was just about to tell me about he favorite JJ album when “BAM!!!” , there appears someone in some short blue shorts, and a bright gold jacket with their hair covering one eye. The girl started to scream and got up and hugged the guy and they started to chat for another 5-10 mins. I turned back around to wait until they were finished. Then I spotted ….
CASE#3 – Mother of Pearls
Two guys are waiting to walk into the row in front of me. One is dressed all in black, the other has baggy pants, tight black t-shirt, a grey something that looks like an ill-fitting jacket and then loads of pearls around his neck!!
“Lord, they are out tonight!!!!” mumbled the girl sitting next to me with her Jill Scott hair, who would later be sobbing on me while “Again” was being sung by the audience.
Anyway, they had just passed the two girls in front of me that looked too young to know what Rhythm Nation 1814 was about, when one girl looked down and said “Nice shoes”. He turned to her and lifted his leg and said “Thank You Honey, aren’t they beautiful?” They were heels. Black Boot heels but heels nonetheless.
I started to feel really normal and not like the crazed fan I thought I was.
So what if I did pass by the Theatre multiple times that day for no apparent reason and yes I did sit near the entrance and played “Angry Birds” but honestly I was waiting for the Box Office to open to collect my ticket at “Will Call”. Honest.
So what if I happened to see when the dancers arrived and when a limo pulled up, but none of that meant that I was stalking Janet. Oh Hell No.
There were, however some guys outside, who seemed preoccupied with getting her autograph and who were having discussions about going to see Carrie Underwood next week. Janet and Carrie in the same sentence? Ugh..these people obviously were just ebay collectors and not genuine fans.
IN THE MOMENT
There are times when I question God as to the reason certain things happen and why does it happen to me. Of course the answer always either comes coded or just in the form of “WAIT nah, why yuh hurry so?”
I have stopped questioning why things happen in my life and have begun to accept that there is a reason for everything. Therefore, it baffled me for years why I never got to see Janet Jackson in Philadelphia in 2008. It hurt. It wounded me that she was fell ill and I was never able to see her.
Then August 19th happened and I understood why.
In 2008 I had really bad seats to view her show. In 2011, I was in 7 rows away from the stage and I could see her breathe. I could see her chest move, watch the sweat drip down her face, see every muscle contort as she danced. I could see that she wasn’t lip-syncing as she sang a note slightly flat (that was a relief).
I thought I was going to cry as time drew near for the show. I felt my allergies starting to act up as the screen announced that she dedicated the song “Control” to Minneapolis.
Then I saw her. I saw her outline on the stage and I felt the pollen dust get to my eyes and knew I was going to have an attack. Then this guy and his girlfriend behind me ( that I had met 15 minutes before) both grabbed me and said “Can you believe it?”
The moment was gone. My sinuses cleared up. I was ok. My hands however couldn’t stop shaking and while I was trying to take a picture of her I found myself screaming out her name as if I was in primary school. My screams went unnoticed.
Well everyone else was screaming. Thug guy two rows to my left with a baseball cap, was still jumping up and down going “Yeah Yeah Yeah “to the shock and horror of his date who seemed not to know how much this guy liked Janet. Some overly made-up very tall women/drag queens (I’m not sure) kept screaming even when there was a quick change on stage. I realised that I was tame. I was composed. I was not hysterical.
The highlight of the night was when Janet asked the crowd to sing “Again” with her. NO backing band, just her voice and the audience. Sigh…during that number, the girl with the Jill Scott hair next to me started to sob uncontrollably and I wanted her to cry a little softer because she was still trying to sing the damn song.
Picture this: A girl crying and trying to sing the lyrics, “How can I be strong I ask myself. Time and Time I’ve said….” and just weeping during it. Sigh… Very Inconsiderate.
The most obvious thing about the crowd was that, we were all mainly middle aged. No spring chickens in the midst, save for Selena and Miley in front of me who just giggled all night.
When she did the dance for “Rhythm Nation” and then the routine for “Miss You Much” I just stood there frozen. I could not believe what I was witnessing. I still recall that during “Let’s Wait Awhile”, my head was cocked to the side and I was just singing along and using the same intonation from the single . I was an unashamed mess but I was in the midst of good company so it did not matter. Sigh….This woman and her music have been a part of my life for decades and every song has a memory attached to it. I really love her!!!
By the time “If” came on I was out of my daze and just screaming out the words. Jill Scott hair had recovered fully by then and so coming down to the end when she did “That’s the Way Love Goes” we started to sway side to side and even did a little dance together in our seats. Granny Myrtle Gurtle behind me was upset about it as she had remained seated for most of the show while everyone else got up to view it. Who cared!
There were moments in between where she had footage on screen and it was nice to see the transition from Control to Number Ones. I was only mortified once, and that was when she decided to show some of her acting work on screen. She went from Penny to Charlene, to (sigh) Justice to that stupid sequel to the Tyler Perry movie where she smashed up all the glass in the house. The crowd cheered but I was mortified that she felt proud of her later work to actually show it. Oh well, you can’t win ‘em all!!
She ended the night after THREE encores,(yet she didn’t sing Black Cat), “Got Til It’s Gone”, “Best Things in Life are Free” were the initial encore songs. “Together Again” was a fitting end to the night and when the footage of her and Michael came up on screen, “Jill Scott hair” next to me lost it again. This time she had no shame in holding onto to me and soaking my shoulder with her tears. Afterwards she apologized and asked if I wanted to go for a drink after with her friends. I said “No Problem” but being the paranoid fool I am, I knew that I was going to lose her in the crowd and that I was going to head straight back to my hotel!
After fighting up to get some memorabilia, I exited the theatre to see people at the side of the building waiting for Janet to leave. She drove out in a Black Escalade and I saw her for one last time.
…….My abandoned heart just doesn’t understand…My undying love for you won’t let me leave………….
Please come back to me.
I miss you so much….
Wherever you are..
I LOVE YOU