MANILA, Philippines—At age 44, singer-songwriter Janet Jackson seems well past her prime. But tickets to her concert tonight at the Philippine International Convention Center reportedly sold out barely a month after the date was announced by its promoter.
Janet, the youngest in the famous family of musicians led by the late “King of Pop” Michael Jackson, has picked Manila to kick off a 35-city concert tour across Asia and North America. She was set to arrive Thursday night.
In 2008, Janet did her first North American tour in seven years. But after completing 16 dates, the remaining 12 dates, including five in Japan, were canceled.
Promoters cited two reasons for the cancellations—“the 2009 economic crisis” and the artist contracting an illness described as “severe vertigo.”
But Janet is enjoying renewed interest after a successful performance at an African-American music festival in Louisiana, New Orleans, last year.
This motivated her to embark on a 35-city Asian and North American tour, dubbed “Number Ones: Up Close and Personal,” to promote her recently released compilation album “Number Ones.”
The kickoff date is at the PICC. Previous reports indicated that the tour would open in Hong Kong and Janet herself said she thought it would start in Singapore.
Apparently the Philippines won through sheer aggressiveness of promoters and fans’ demand.
On her official website, Janet asked her fans to vote on cities that the tour will visit. As a promotional gimmick, she promised to give one person from each city an autographed copy of the “Number Ones” CD.
She also planned to honor 20 people who have done service to their communities (to be chosen from among the 35 cities in the tour), and to dedicate one of her hits to each city.
For Manila, she said it would be “Go Deep” from her 1997 album “The Velvet Rope.”
Janet likewise claimed in a video posted on her website that this would be the “the largest tour” she’s ever done.
But unlike previous tours, she said, this one would be devoid of special effects, focusing more on the songs in an intimate setting compared with stadium-type venues.
The PICC plenary hall has an audience capacity of nearly 4,000.