A Fantasy Setlist for Janet Jackson's Vegas Residency
From "Rhythm Nation" to "Made For Now," here's every song we hope to hear when Metamorphosis debuts in Sin City this spring.
After breaking chart records, releasing eight studio albums, touring around the world and blossoming into a full-fledged icon (including one of the Billboard variety), it was only a matter of time before Janet Jackson secured a Las Vegas residency. In February, Ms. Jackson announced her Metamorphosis show, which takes over the Park Theater at the Park MGM resort beginning this Friday (May 17).
The residency intially had a 15-date run, but the artist revealed on May 13 that she'll be adding three more dates. But before the party begins, we curated a dream set list -- from fan-favorite deep cuts to classic chart mainstays -- we hope the star performs when she graces the stage this spring.
GIMME A BEAT! 1986’s “Nasty” helped Janet Jackson break her former goody-two-shoes mold and embrace her adulthood, so it would be a sin to not include it in her Vegas setlist. The timeless tune is a surefire way to get all the folks in the Park Theater in a funky groove.
People typically flock to Sin City to either escape their mundane 9-to-5 lives or celebrate major occasions like 21st birthdays and bachelorette parties (or both), and this charming single from Rhythm Nation 1814 is the ultimate getaway anthem. As Janet croons, “Don't hold back/ Just have a good time!”
“Miss You Much”
This year marks the 30th anniversary of Janet’s history-making fourth album Rhythm Nation 1814, and the singer already announced plans to celebrate the big moment in her show. So naturally, classics like the New Jack Swing-inspired “Miss You Much” have to be included. Just imagine Janet completely dominating the iconic chair routine from the music video as the crowd roars!
Janet has remained one of music’s biggest LGBTQ allies, and her support for the community has translated into many of her songs. “Free Xone,” from 1997’s The Velvet Rope, tells a boy-meets-boy and girl-meets-girl story atop a drum-and-bass beat. To amplify the free love vibes even further, the singer could transition into “Throb” -- the gritty house jam off 1993’s janet. that’s fit for any club...or Vegas stage.
"All Nite (Don't Stop)"
One of Janet’s strongest assets is her dance skills. And what better way to show them off than with “All Nite (Don’t Stop)”? This electro-funk single from 2004’s Damita Jo would give the singer a chance to demolish the stage, thanks to its intricate moves that heighten the song’s hypnotic sex appeal.
“You”/"Trust a Try"
What’s a residency without some deep cuts? “You,” an underrated track from The Velvet Rope, is a self-scrutinizing midtempo trip-hop number. The chilling production would easily pour into All For You’s “Trust a Try,” which combines opera, classical music and rock for an adventurous sonic ride.
“Rock With U”/“When We Ooo”
This setlist has to cater to the diehard fans, which can be accomplished with this sensual mash-up. “Rock With U,” a highlight from 2008’s Discpline, is a shimmering Euro pop tune that she created with her LGBTQ fans in mind. While they’re getting their groove on, the song could bleed into All For You’s “When We Ooo,” as Janet’s beautiful harmonies bring on the rapture.
“That’s the Way Love Goes”
There’s always a segment in a Vegas residency that slows things down juuust riiight...and this where “That’s the Way Love Goes” comes in. The sultry midtempo from 1993’s janet. will get attendees -- who may already be feeling lustful after a few cocktails -- in the zone. To spice it up even more, Janet could call upon *NSYNC for some assistance. The boy band covered the tune for MTV’s 2001 Icon special, and would most likely be down to make another major appearance after they popped up during Ariana Grande’s Coachella set last month.
“I Get Lonely”/”Any Time, Any Place”/”Would You Mind”/”Moist”
We’ve already dabbled in a bit of sensuality earlier in the setlist, but this is Janet Jackson we’re talking about! She's a sexual icon! This medley sinks deep into erotica, with four songs that serve as erogenous pressure points. “I Get Lonely” is a tense ballad about mouthwatering desire; ”Any Time, Any Place” adds a naughty twist to classic quiet storm; ”Would You Mind” is a breathy and explicit bedroom romp; and ”Moist” releases all inhibitions as the rain comes down.
“Someone to Call My Lover”
Janet penned this dreamy tune from All For You following her divorce from René Elizondo, Jr., and used it as motivation to find true love once again. While Las Vegas may be more famous for shotgun weddings at chapels led by Elvis impersonators than long-term romance, there will still be a handful of people in the audience who are also searching for that lucky someone.
“When I Think of You”
“When I Think of You” (another highlight from Control) was Janet’s first No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, so it definitely needs a place in her residency setlist. Its feel-good message, nostalgic ‘80s appeal and giddy production will have everyone reminiscing on their first puppy love.
“All For You”
This one is for all the girls (or guys) at the party who spotted some juicy eye candy across the venue! “All For You” is one of Janet’s liveliest songs to date, thanks to its disco-pop fusion and flirtatious lyrics. For those looking for a euphoric rush during the show, this track is the one to take you high.
Lifted from janet., “If” is the ultimate genre-blending banger that will entrance every single person in that Park Theater. The song is a sexual fantasy ride that finds the singer playing with voyeurism, domination in the bedroom and not-so-subtle teases. But once Janet hops into the video’s iconic dance routine that inspired a generation of pop stars, the roof (and everyone under it) is bound to climax.
You can’t have a Rhythm Nation 1814 celebration without including the title track that started it all! “Rhythm Nation” is signature Janet, where she left her cutesy image behind and entered a new era that branded her a young icon before she even turned 30. While upbeat and funky, the song holds an important message of inclusivity, equality and social justice. Those topics remain relevant in our current politically strained times, which will make each lyric hit that much harder.
“Made For Now”
Janet loves to experiment with new sounds, and last year’s summery “Made For Now” found her heading to the tropics. Blending reggaéton, dancehall and afrobeats, the song is a reflection of the direction that modern music is heading. And if she calls upon Daddy Yankee to perform his catchy verse, the Park Theater will quickly turn into a backyard party.
Janet was fiercely close to her older brother Michael Jackson and collaborated with him on the duet “Scream.” Lifted from 1995’s HIStory: Past, Present and Future, Book I, the track is an aggressive “fuck you” to the media and naysayers. After Jackson’s death in 2009, she honored his life by including “Scream” on her tour sets -- and her Vegas residency should be no different. Just imagine the venue rattling with fervor as the crowd chants “Stop pressurin' me!”
We would be crazy to leave this gem off our fantasy set list! The Hot 100-topping club anthem “Together Again,” was inspired by a friend Janet had lost to the AIDS epidemic. It was released over 20 years ago, but it still hasn’t lost its sentimental value. As soon as those opening harp notes ring through the venue, fans will surely go wild with excitement as they sing the infectious hook and dance their hearts out as the show ends.