When was the lsat time you saw Missy Elliott perform on American soil? If you say anything less than ten years ago, you telling a Supa Dupa Lie. After a breathless opening sequence that saw the Queen of '90s future-sounds run through a medley of her extra-dimensional dance-funk space-pop, Missy let us know it had been a decade since she performed, that she was had been sick, but that she was here in LA to give it 100. This she did, and incomparably so, sliding and smiling her way across a stage full of dancers and shirtless skateboarders who helped create a playful and hyped up aura with choreography packing in-jokes, winks, nipple twists, and mini-skits, while Missy's eyes shined from miles away (and not just because of the glittery eyeshadow).
For all the reminiscing and repackaged rehashing of '90s R&B these days, nobody can emulate what Missy Elliott created in that era: The world-fusion bounce of her productions, the swaggered syncopation of her vocal lines, the signature visual aesthetic, the outfits. I'd say this was a good chance for the kids to get introduced, but walking through the crowd, we saw people in dance circles singing every word to "X," "Y," and "Z," songs which came out when they were toddlers, but which sound fresher than stuff that came out last week. Now, Missy needed breaks given her physical condition, so this set was full of hype-man sound-offs and stop-downs for some technical difficulties, but make no mistake: This set felt like a once-in-a-lifetime celebration, and a true honor to attend.
And yes, that headline says Queen. One of the ways you know you're a Queen is when the other queens come to pay fealty. In attendance and captured in photos were Janet Jackson, Beyoncé, Solange, and Katy Perry. It was like that. Some videos of the performance below. First, here is Ms. Janet Jackson:
And the Knowles girls:
And here's Katy in reverential movement: