The legendary diva Janet Jackson kicks off her first world tour in over ten years tonight in Manila, Philippines. Jackson is billing her Number Ones: Up Close and Personal Tour as her most intimate live concert ever celebrating 35 number one hits and is quickly selling out venues across the world. Jackson will also play Singapore on Feb 7, a country that banned her 1997 album The Velvet Rope for tracks such as "Free Xone", "Tonight's The Night", and "What About" which explored homosexuality and domestic violence.
Jackson tells Singapore publication The New Paper that she "isn't a grudge holder". In an e-mail interview with The New Paper, the 44-year-old singer-actress - and now author - said she was looking forward to returning to Singapore after last performing here during her Janet tour in 1995. "I remember how wonderful everyone was," she wrote.
Jackson is seen in the picture above on a break from tour rehearsals with choreographer and best friend Gil Duldulao.
Photos of Jackson at recent events suggest she's well into the rumoured punishing fitness regime before starting each world tour.
"I have been getting ready for this tour now for months... picking the songs, working with my stylist, Robert Behar, on the costumes, rehearsing. I can't wait to get back on the stage," she said.
Jackson was last seen on stage during her record-breaking performance at The Essence Music Festival in New Orleans where she surpassed the arena capacity of Beyonce Knowles' past festival appearances.
The Number Ones: Up Close and Personal Tour arrives stateside on March 7th in Chicago. Loldarian.com will be up close and personal with Jackson when she arrives in Atlanta on March 29th.
Click here for a complete list of tour dates. Are you going to see Janet's new tour? Tell me about it.
Update: Concert photos and video from Manila have been added.