Demi Lovato kicked off her Neon Lights tour with a flashy yet strikingly intimate concert at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, Canada last night (February 9). During one of her many heart-to-hearts with fans, the 21-year-old said touring isn’t about dancing or fireworks but “you and me” and that personal approach resonated through every aspect of her hugely enjoyable show.
There was no choreography and only one costume change but you don’t need shiny distractions when you can belt out songs like Demi and connect with the crowd on such an emotional level. That’s not to say that the production was boring. Far from it. LED lights laced the stage and a giant screen showed beautiful projections from the diva’s career. It’s just that they were used to accentuate the experience rather than to divert your attention from vocal shortcomings. Think a Kelly Clarkson concert with more razzle dazzle.
Recent top 10 hit “Heart Attack” was the perfect way to open the show and fire up the already frenzied Lovatics before taking a trip down memory lane with 2010′s “Remember December”. It was one of several songs she performed from Here We Go Again, which could reflect the influence of creative/musical director Nick Jonas. He clearly favors Demi’s pop/rock phase, which is wise because that sound really suits her and translates better live.
Speaking of Nick, he made a cameo early in the show — singing a trio of tracks with his childhood friend. The crowd exploded as the pair strummed their guitars and sang “Stop The World” (didn’t see that one coming!), “Catch Me” and the still catchy “Here We Go Again”. It was definitely a highlight and underlined the strong sense of nostalgia that was also fostered by old video clips and song selections like “The Middle”, “Don’t Forget” and “Got Dynamite”.
Not that the Stay Strong author’s new LP was ignored. “Fire Starter” nearly took the roof off the building, “Really Don’t Care” really does sound better without Cher Lloyd and changing the lyrics of “Made In The USA” to “Made In Canada” was a cute touch that was clearly appreciated. Other stand-outs were Demi highlight “Two Pieces” (single number four?), beautiful ballad “Nightingale” and the inspirational “Warrior”, which she introduced by saying “I fuckin’ love you guys”. The feeling was mutual.
The biggest reception of the night, however, was reserved for Frozen ballad “Let It Go”, which was cleverly arranged into a rock ballad. Demi’s vocal was flawless and she expressed her pride at being involved in an Oscar nominated film. Perhaps the most unexpected — but awesome — moment was when the arena turned into a club with a little help from rising DJ Cole Plante. “Unbroken” sounded incredible but “Neon Lights” really got people moving. Confetti jets then signaled that the show was almost over but not before our heroine returned for a powerful encore.
Demi has reached the point in her career where she has a strong enough discography to carry a 90 minute show without a single lull. She’s also in a better place (she talked about being happy a lot!) and able to use her experiences to inspire and motivate. What more do you want from a pop concert?
Neon Lights tour setlist
Really Don’t Care
Stop The World
Here We Go Again
Made In The USA
Let It Go
Give Your Heart A Break