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Janet Jackson

Live In Hawaii DVD

Review by Gary Hill

Say what you will about Janet Jackson, but one thing rings true, she really is a performer. Unlike many pop acts out there today Jackson (for the most part) doesn’t lip synch. You have to give her credit for that. You also have to send out some kudos for producing catchy music and putting together a live experience that, while definitely different, has as much bang for the buck as a Kiss show. This video experience was originally filmed for and broadcast on HBO and is now available for DVD for your home viewing experience.

The concert is spectacular – and I mean that in the true sense of the word – as it is derived from “spectacle.” This is a concert experience, not just a performer getting out there and playing and singing. There are dancers, production numbers, costume changes and everything that makes this a real experience. It should be noted for those with children that this has some adult situations (including partial nudity in the opening). You probably want to screen it for yourself before you decide if it’s OK for your children to see.


Well, now that we’ve touched on some of the positive aspects, here’s one negative. I said that she for the most part doesn’t lip synch. Well, there is at least one song, a real dance number, where she is definitely lip synching from my way of looking at it. If that’s true (and I’m pretty sure it is) you can excuse the fact to a degree. Dancing yourself silly takes too much breath to allow you to be able to sing, too. The thing is, as well as she does throughout the show at delivering a real performance, I wish she’d extended that same degree of honesty and just not pretended to sing. Truth be told a lot of her fans probably do come to the show for the dance numbers (at least in part) so, why not acknowledge that and present it more honestly?

Still with musical acts out there all the time who lip synch through most, if not all, of their set, you can give Jackson some credit for doing as little of it as she does. Honestly, many of her fans are the same ones who go to see those other acts, too. That means she has to compete with them, so a little bit of lip synching is probably understandable. The end all of this? For those of you who are fans of Jackson’s music, this is a great release. Not only do you get the concert video, but there are some cool bonuses in behind the scenes footage and tour rehearsals.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2008  Volume 2 at

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