Throwback: 25 Years Of Janet Jackson

Throwback: 25 Years Of Janet Jackson

The Jackson family has influenced the world of music for years now, and Live Design pays tribute to one member in this throwback article: Janet. Since her first tour in 1990 to her latest in 2015, Jackson has been making waves in the music industry for over 25 years. Her tours have featured the work of Mark Fisher, LeRoy Bennett, Vince Foster, and more. Click through the pages for details and images of each of her seven tours from Rhythm Nation in 1990 to her current Unbreakable World Tour.

Rhythm Nation, 1990

Her first headlining concert tour, Rhythm Nation featured scenic design by the late, great Mark Fisher of Stufish as well as production and lighting design by LeRoy Bennett. Choreography was by Anthony Thomas. Chris Tervit was the stage manager and Benny Collins was the production manager.

janet. World Tour, 1993-95

Courtesy of Peter Morse.

Peter Morse and John McGraw co-designed the lighting for janet. World Tour with Michael Keller as the lighting director. Robert Colby was the sound engineer. Costumes were designed by Tanya Gill.

Courtesy of Peter Morse.

Courtesy of Peter Morse.

The Velvet Rope, 1998-1999

Creative director Rene Elizondo and Jackson wanted The Velvet Rope Tour to convey how her professional life was essentially an open book to criticize barriers that separate different classes in society. Scenic designer Mark Fisher's set included a 10'-tall wooden easel with a huge, closed book with red quilted cover. To begin the show, a performer opened the book to reveal an LED video screen, made by SACO and supplied by Screenco/BCC Video with a tracking system designed by Fisher and constructed by Tait Towers. The book/screen split apart at the spine eventually to reveal Jackson. Lighting designer LeRoy Bennett and programmer Gary Westcott programmed the fast and furious lighting cues for the dance-oriented show on an Icon console, hooked up to a Philips Vari-Lite Artisan console through MIDI program SAM. The lighting rig included LSD Icon, High End Systems Studio Color, Philips Vari-Lite VL4 luminaires for moving lights, MR-16s for footlights, and Molefays with color changers and Diversitronic strobes. Read more about the designs for The Velvet Rope Tour.

All For You, 2001-2002

All For You opened with a "clean, big look," said set designer Mark Fisher, complete with a high pedestal for Jackson's entrance. The 77' x 40' stage with a light metallic sheen went from an S&M scene with a young male grabbed from the audience and strapped to a rack to a whimsical scene with Jack-in-the-boxes and other toys to a scene of a great Asian city, all the while back wall panels constantly shifted to reveal or conceal video screens, lighting positions, and the band. With such a complicated set with moving parts, Abigail Rosen Holmes had restricted options for her lighting design. Finally, she settled on paisley-shaped side truss sections with the front truss positioned over the edge of the stage. The lighting rig comprised LSD Icon and Philips Vari-Lite VL2416 and VL2402 automated luminaries with Philips Vari-Lite VL2402 luminaires, a halogen floodlight, and a Diversitronics film strobe on each of the lifts that mounted to the front of the wall. Read more about the lighting, scenic, and video content designs for All For You Tour.

Rock Witchu, 2008

Vince Foster's production design of Rock Witchu answered Jackson's desire for a retro, futuristic look. All Access Staging built the stage and many of the central set and staging elements that fly in and out during the show, including a bridge lit with PixelLines and Versa Tubes. A runway thrust was fabricated in a U-shape with trap doors that revealed dancers. The show also contained a few rolling, wraparound stair units, cages, rotating mirrors, and a bondage cage. Upstaging Inc. provided the lighting gear, including the 27 one-meter Element Labs Versa Tubes, six PixelLines, two Coemar Infinity Washes, a Martin Professional MAC 700 profile, and a couple of Martin Atomic 3000 DMX Strobes for each of the eight trusses on a motion-control system that moved around the eight Sony JumboTron panels with a 12mm pixel pitch. Video content creation was split between Foster and onedotzero industries. The rest of the lighting rig comprised Coemar Infinity Wash XL, more Martin MAC 700 fixtures, Zap Technologies BigLite fixtures, and Lycian M2 Modular 2,500W followspots. Alex Reardon controlled the lighting via a High End Systems Road Hog Full Boar console. Read more about Foster's designs for Rock Witchu.

Number Ones, Up Close And Personal, 2011

Creative director and choreographer Gil Duldulao directed the show with Jackson for her Number Ones, Up Close And Personal Tour. The show featured less theatrics and fewer dancers, creating a more pared-down set that focused on the main attraction: Jackson. Vincent Foster once again handled the lighting and video designs with Tyler Elich as lighting director. Kyle Hamilton and Michael "Woody" Dunwoody were FOH engineer and monitor engineer, respectively. Robert Henri Behar designed the costumes.

Unbreakable World Tour, 2015-2016

Conceived, created, and directed by Janet Jackson, Unbreakable World Tour kicked off August 31 in Vancouver and will conclude in Wantagh, New York on June 25, 2016. Gil Duldulao is the creative director, and the tour features production design by LeRoy Bennett and Cory FitzGerald of Seven Design Works. FitzGerald also designed and programmed the lighting, which Upstaging supplied, including Clay Paky Mythos and B-EYE K20s, Ayrton MagicDot-Rs and MagicBlade-Rs, TMB Solaris Flare LEDs and Solaris SO-LED 840s, as well as Philips Vari-Lite VL4000 BeamWash units and VL 3015LT spots. The rig also features Elation Professional Arena Par Zoom fixtures and GLP impression X4 Bard 20 units. Lighting is controlled via two MA Lighting grandMA2 full-size consoles and an MA Lighting grandMA2 Light console. Whitney Hoversten is the lighting director, and Ryan Tilke is the lighting crew chief. Video includes 105 Martin Professional EC-10 video panels with three Green Hippo Hippotizer media servers and a Barco ImagePRO signal processor. Media programming is by Joe Bay. Stay tuned for tour lighting plots from Seven Design Works!

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