Demi Lovato delivered a concert as eclectic as herself, both entertaining and inspiring her audience last Friday night at the Denny Sanford PREMIER Center.
The concert involved no fewer than three opening acts. Restless Road, a band that Lovato judged during her stint on the television show “X Factor,” started the show, playing two covers and a handful of their own originals in an act that was both pleasant and obscure.
Christina Perry added a larger fame factor, singing crowd favorites such as “Jar of Hearts,” “A Thousand Years” and “Human,” as well as her newest single, “Burning Gold.” Dressed in sparkly tights and what can only be described as the world’s most interesting skort, Christina Perry earned her place in the history books as the cutest human alive, a title reinforced by her silly dancing and pleasantly awkward interactive style.
The most unexpected pre-act involved a motivational speech from Spencer West, a man who climbed Mount Kilimanjaro despite the loss of both legs. Using lyrics from Lovato’s song “Warrior,” he spoke of overcoming obstacles, setting the tone for Lovato’s upcoming show.
Demi’s explosive entrance to her current hit single, “Really Don’t Care,” involved all the theatricality of a rising platform entrance, four backup dancers, two backup singers, flashing lights and a flurry of smoke.
The songstress, decked out in all black with a metallic-studded top and leather jacket, sang a combination of songs from all four of her albums, merging straight into equally energetic and fast-paced songs such as “The Middle,” “Fire Starter,” “Remember December” and “Heart Attack.”
The vocals were, in true Demi Lovato style, robust and pristinely executed. Despite the rigorous demands of each song, Lovato hit every note, and with embellishments and crystal clear diction to boot. Her remixed vocals and background music were obvious enough to add novelty, but not so much that concert-goers could not sing along in their loudest, Lovato-loving voices.
In addition, Lovato was unafraid to support herself with two strong female vocalists and four talented, kilt-and-leather-clad male backup dancers, each with their own attitude, talent and presence.
Lovato’s focus on a high-energy show was one of the many ways she catered to her fans. At one point in her show, Lovato sang a song requested specifically by a fan who won a contest sponsored by Shazam that was created for the very purpose of requesting songs.
When she accidentally began the song by singing the second verse, she stopped her band and laughed with the fans, beginning again and asking them to sing it with her so she would remember the words, then pointing and winking at the audience when the second verse came around as though everyone was part of a giant inside joke.
Immediately after, Demi included her version of Frozen’s “Let it Go,” after which she launched into a classical piano piece during which she didn’t sing at all. Because while this concert was all about the fans, it was also about Demi Lovato, a fact which she was unafraid to admit, telling viewers that they already knew her story.
What they didn’t know, she said, was who she is. To remedy this lack of knowledge, Lovato informed the audience of personal facts ranging from “I like to play piano” to “I like Halloween,” even including her love for Kevin Bacon.
The singer then spoke about a mission trip she took to Africa the previous year, and how the people she met inspired her to live a fulfilling life. Lovato challenged the audience members to go out of their ways and do something kind for another person.
“We have the ability to change the world. What are you going to do to change it?” she asked the audience. “I want you to leave this concert with a message. I want you to dance your butt off, too, but most importantly, I want to inspire you.”
After a rather somber moment in which Lovato asked her fans to tell each other they were beautiful and worthy of love, she picked the pace right back up, slipping away for an outfit change and a frightening slasher video that led into a performance of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller,” proving to fans her prior confession of adoration for the October holiday.
Lovato felt like an old friend with her easy, friendly conversation with the audience. She was the perfect combination of charming, sweet, funny and witty. It was obvious that she was comfortable with the audience.
“Y’all will scream at anything I say,” she said as the crowd, indeed, roared after everything she said. “Cheese.” Thunderous screams. “…Blues Clues.” More screams. “Skittles,” she giggled, followed again by yells from the crowd.
It was obvious when the show ended that the crowd would not be satisfied without an encore. Lovato left the fans screaming their hearts out, and just when they feared that she would leave them hanging, sans encore, she came back even stronger than ever, with more energy and a whole new outfit, to perform “Neon Lights.”
The hodgepodge nature of Lovato’s concert expressed Lovato’s personality and musically diverse style. She left the audience with tired voices, a message and an unrelenting dance beat drumming its way into each head.