Janet Jackson kicked off the summer leg of her "State of the World" tour at the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans (headlining the Essence Music Festival 2018) on Sunday night (July 8). You can check out the set list and video from the concert below.

It was doubtless a melancholic start to the highly anticipated tour, considering the fact that Jackson’s father, Joe, had died just 11 days prior to the first show, a circumstance she addressed from the stage.

“My father was a great man,” she said, her voice wobbly with emotion. Jackson spoke about her father’s strength, and how thinking about that strength and his resilience and what they had meant to her family kept her from cancelling her tour.

She then reflected on a conversation she had with one of her brothers. “My brother said to me, ‘If he were here right now, listening to this conversation, what do you think he would say to you?’” She paused, gathering herself before saying, “I think my father would have said, ‘Janet, please finish what you started.’”

She then performed “Together Again,” dedicating the song to her father.

Janet Jackson addresses her father’s death and plays “Together Again”

The show itself was a deeply grooving set of hits and deep cuts, with more than a few surprises. Jackson came out swinging with one of those surprises, starting the show with “Skin Game,” a Rhythm Nation b-side that she had never before played live.

She also dipped into 2001’s All for You for a pair of rarities — “Feels So Right,” which made its live debut, and “You Ain’t Right,” which she hadn’t performed live in 16 years.

Watch Janet Jackson perform “Skin Game” live in New Orleans

Jackson also stitched together some of her biggest hits into two medleys early in the concert. A mix of “Nasty,” “Feedback,” “Miss You Much,” “Alright” and “You Want This” came first, followed immediately by a knockout “Control” / “What Have You Done for Me Lately” / “The Pleasure Principle” tandem.

“One of my favorite things about being on tour is connecting with the fans, performing for the fans,” Jackson stated in a video message to fans during the tour’s rehearsals. By every indication, that connection was made in New Orleans, which bodes well for the next cities on the 15-show jaunt.

Next up for Jackson is a July 11 date in Austin, Texas, at the Austin360 Amphitheater. The State of the Nation tour winds down August 12, in San Francisco’s Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park. For complete information visit her official website.

Janet Jackson Mercedes Benz Superdome, New Orleans, July 8, 2018 Set List

  1. The Skin Game
  2. The Knowledge
  4. Nasty / Feedback / Miss You Much / Alright / You Want This
  5. Control / What Have You Done for Me Lately / The Pleasure Principle
  6. Love Will Never Do (Without You)
  7. When I Think of You / All For You
  8. All Nite (Don't Stop)
  9. Runaway
  10. When We Oooo
  11. Feels So Right
  12. Doesn't Really Matter
  13. Funny How Time Flies (When You're Having Fun)
  14. I Get Lonely
  15. Any Time, Any Place
  16. What's It Gonna Be?!
  17. No Sleeep
  18. Got 'til It's Gone
  19. That's the Way Love Goes
  20. So Much Betta
  21. Throb
  22. Together Again
  23. What About
  24. You Ain't Right
  25. If
  26. Scream
  27. Rhythm Nation
  28. State of The World

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