I have never really considered myself a Miley Cyrus fan. I was too old to be swept up in the Hannah Montana phenomenon when it came around and I found all her recent antics are nothing more than carefully thought out publicity stunts. But after weeks and weeks of having my sister plague me for tickets, I eventually caved in and bought them. And I am so incredibly glad that I did.
The more I read of cancellations of certain dates of the Bangerz tour and saw photo after photo of Miss Cyrus cavorting wearing next-to-nothing, I must admit I was more than a little apprehensive about what I was going to see. What took place was nothing short of pure, fantastical theatre with glittering costumes, psychedelic sets, and – to my surprise – excellent live vocals. What I was immediately drawn to was the backing dancers and singers. It was nice to see something different from the usual super skinny, tanned blondes. The dancers were a healthy mix of plus-size ladies, dwarves, and dare I say it, normal looking young guys and women. The best part was that each one of them looked like they were having the time of their lives.
I caught the last few songs of the Cyrus’ support act, Sky Ferreira, and I’m fairly glad I missed most of her set. Her songs seemed like she was preparing for a funeral and not a great night out. After muted applause, Ferreira left the stage and the anticipation for Cyrus soon built into something beyond frenzy. The Hydro was filled with giant multi-coloured balloons. A huge image of her face was projected on to the back of the stage. Screams filled the room. The bottom lip tore open to Joker-esque proportions and out popped a huge, hot pink tongue that looked like a helter-skelter. Cyrus appeared at the top and slid down her own trademark pose before launching quickly into ‘Bangerz’.
Fairly soon into the concert, Cyrus clearly couldn’t resist the opportunity to shock with costumes, dances moves and chat littered with the worst of all the swear words! The huge sets – ranging from a giant gummy bear to some Dr Seuss looking creatures to a huge dancing cat – sometimes only lasted for one song before another quick change into something even more daring and spectacular. I can’t stress how colourful and chaotic it all was. A kiss cam made its way round the audience as Cyrus poured her heart into singing ‘Adore You’, and she encouraged everyone to “make out” with whoever was closest. Cyrus certainly took her time to talk to the audience and even went so far as to down a bottle of water and spit it back out over screaming, scantily clad teeny-boppers who had queued to see their idol since 6am that morning.
She kept her more well-known songs – such as ‘Can’t Be Tamed’, ‘We Can’t Stop’ and ‘Wrecking Ball’ – till fairly late on in the show. This was only problematic for me because I haven’t listened to the Bangerz album in much depth. When she did perform these numbers though, she brought the room to a fervor I have never seen before. As she strutted her way wearing up and down the stage wearing little more than cowboy boots and three triangles of sequins, it was clear she had her audience eating out of her palm. After all, everyone in the room wanted smutty references, obscene gestures, flashes of flesh and a foul mouth. Miss Cyrus certainly delivered. I genuinely feel more familiar with Cyrus’ anatomy than I ever should.
About half an hour before the end, she threw everyone a curveball. Wearing an oversized lumberjack shirt and cowboy boots, she stripped the set down to an acoustic guitar, double bass and drums. She worked her way through Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist’, Arctic Monkey’s ‘You Only Call Me When You’re High’, and Dolly Parton’s ‘Jolene’. It was at this point I had a complete revelation. Miley Cyrus can SING. I mean, really sing. She showed a beautiful texture and vulnerable side to her voice I had no idea existed behind the brash series of attention seeking performances she has put in recently. Perhaps these country-style takes on modern classics will be the next chapter in her career.
She closed the show with fireworks, ticker tape, flashing podiums and a celebration of all things American with the upbeat and poppy ‘Party in the USA’. It was another brilliant piece of showmanship that combined her genuinely excellent vocal ability with yet more outlandish choreography.
I genuinely did not expect to enjoy the show as much as I did. I would definitely pay to see her again. She’s exciting and energetic and completely uninhibited. And whilst it does seem that this particular side to Cyrus is as much of a creation as her alter-ego Hannah Montana, I cannot wait to see what she does next.