DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Five years after she performed in Abu Dhabi, her first in the Middle East, Janet Jackson is all set to return to the Emirates. This time she’s closing the Dubai World Cup, the world’s richest horse race, on March 26.
The 49-year-old music icon released her 11th studio album, Unbreakable, on October 2 last year after a seven-year break. It’s her first album since the death of her brother, Michael Jackson, and her first since 2008’s Discipline.
She announced an accompanying Unbreakable World Tour, with dates in North America and Europe, leaving fans in the Middle East wondering when she would make a date with this part of the world.
That is, until now. Tickets to Jackson’s performance, however, is only accessible to race-day ticket holders.
“I am excited to perform for the global audience at this year’s Dubai World Cup. The entire Unbreakable company is looking forward to travelling with me to Dubai and being part of one of the world’s most prestigious events,” she said in a statement.
Unbreakable has been in the news since its October release for a number of reasons. First, Jackson scored her seventh number one album with it on the Billboard 200 album chart, making her only the third musician to achieve a chart-topping record in each of the past four decades. The only other artists to score a chart-topping record in each of the past four decades are Barbra Streisand and Bruce Springsteen.
Then, in October, Jackson announced she was cancelling her October 9 and 10 shows at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas to rest her vocal chords. Promoter Live Nation Entertainment announced ticketholders would be refunded and have the first chance to buy tickets for a rescheduled May 14 performance.
On December 25, Christmas Day, there was more bad news: Jackson suddenly announced that she was postponing her Unbreakable tour to have an unspecified surgical procedure.
“I learned today, from my doctors that I must have surgery soon. It breaks my heart to tell you that I am forced to postpone the Unbreakable Tour until the spring. Every date will be rescheduled. Please hold on to your tickets. They will be honoured in a special way when the new schedule is announced. Please pray for me, my family and our entire company during this difficult time. There will be no further comment. I love you all so much and am ever grateful for your understanding and your love. Gon’ b alright,” she posted.
Rumors immediately began to swirl that the pop star had been diagnosed with throat cancer. So much so that she was forced to address them.
On January 6, she posted on her social media accounts that she doesn’t have cancer, but she not specify the illness.
“The rumours are untrue. I do not have cancer. I’m recovering,” she posted, along with a two-minute clip from her song The Great Forever.
She also said her doctors have approved her concerts as scheduled in Europe. She will kick off with a performance in Birmingham, UK, on March 30. The rescheduled North American leg of will launch May 14 in Las Vegas and wrap in Cleveland August 28.
The Unbreakable World Tour has already been listed in the Top 20 global concert tour listing compiled by Pollstar.
Jackson is a member of one of pop music’s royal families, sister of the late Michael Jackson and the Jackson Five. Her 1986 album, Control, made her a music star in her own right, a disc that spawned hits like What Have You Done For Me Lately and Nasty.
The singer built a steadily successful career with hits like If, All For You and That’s the Way Love Goes. She’s won six Grammy Awards, as well as dozens of American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, BET honours, and Billboard Music Awards. With sales of more than 160 million records worldwide, she is ranked as one of the best-selling artists in the history of contemporary music. She was nominated for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame last year for the first time, but she was not elected.
She is also an Oscar and Golden Globe nominee, winner of the NAACP Best Supporting Actor award for her role in the 2007 Tyler Perry film Why Did I Get Married?. She’s also a publisher, choreographer, dancer, New York Times best-selling author, businessperson, and philanthropist. And hey, she’s technically a Middle Eastern now, having married Qatari business tycoon Wissam Al Mana in 2012.
At the end of her Abu Dhabi concert in 2011, Jackson reminded her fans how attached she was to this part of the world.
“You have no idea how much I love you. Thank you for your support. You know my brother was crazy about this part of the world,” she said. “Thank you, not just for me, but for my entire family. I love you so much.”