If they ever turn Spring Breakers into a musical, it would look a lot like Miley Cyrus‘ batshit crazy Bangerz tour, which kicked off in Vancouver, Canada tonight (February 14). This weird and wonderful acid trip of a concert documents the adventures of a girl that took a walk on the wild side and — much like the characters in Harmony Korine‘s mind-bending movie — decided to stay. Simply because it’s a lot more fun.
As such, the show is a wholly unselfconscious celebration of Miley 2.0. She owns all her headline-grabbing antics from 2013 (the twerking, that foam finger and those skimpy outfits) and sticks to songs on the new LP — with two notable exceptions. But let’s start at the beginning. Because I honestly can’t think of a better one in recent memory.
Bangerz opens with a projection of the 21-year-old’s face. Nothing unusual there. At least not until a giant tongue sprouts from the screen and Miley slides down it in a skimpy leotard singing “SMS (Bangerz)”. The surreal moment is made weirder still by the cast of furry friends and cartoon characters dancing merrily on stage, who help divert attention away from the fact that the song is not particularly good.
Happily, “4×4″ is and Miley performed it in fine style — strutting to the end of a runway, where she does some basic choreography but mostly just shakes her butt. After the quickest of costume changes, our heroine reappears on top of a gold-plated SUV singing Big Sean-assisted club banger “Love Money Party”. Only she doesn’t just sit there. The zero-fucks-giving pop star briefly touched herself, spread her legs in the air and perched on all fours. Because she felt like it.
The gold vehicle then drove down the runway — with Miley still serving Vegas stripper realness on the bonnet — as a giant Big Sean puppet emerged from the stage and performed his rap. Oh, and the diva eventually climbed off her fancy ride to throw money into the crowd. It’s worth the price of admission for that segment alone.
Bangerz is less entertaining, however, when the thong-aficionado tries to dial it back. After following Miley down the rabbit hole and getting a taste for her wacky antics, watching her perform album filler like “My Darlin’” and “Maybe You’re Right” at the microphone doesn’t quite cut it. Without the bells and whistles, the songs are forced to stand on their own and those two can’t. It’s a shame because she has a plenty of great material to choose from. Hannah Montana didn’t die for “The Climb” to be snubbed like this!
To the diva’s credit, it wasn’t long before she was firing on all cylinders again. The hitmaker twerked with a fluffy blue monster while singing “FU”, fired up for unofficial theme song “Do My Thang” and had everyone dancing to “#GETITRIGHT” as quirky projections of breasts and vaginas made from pieces of candy graced the big screen. Move over Lady Gaga, this is real artpop.
One of the highlights was definitely 2010 single “Can’t Be Tamed”, which Miley performed in front of a giant dog. “Adore You”, on the other hand, was an opportunity for Billy Ray’s baby to interact with the crowd on a very intimate level. There was a ‘kiss cam’ of sorts and our lovely hostess encouraged fans to make-out if they were selected. Cut to three minutes of awkward teenagers puckering up to their embarrassed friends. Car crash entertainment at its best.
By now you’re probably thinking the show couldn’t get much wilder. I thought so too until the starlet performed “Drive” (this has to be the next single) while a vignette of topless images played for punters. A couple of families left at this point but I’d say Miley would take that as a compliment.
It was time to head down the other end of the arena for a less confrontational moment. Miley joined the band for Bangerz gem “Rooting For My Baby” and country-lite covers of Outkast‘s “Hey Ya!” and Dolly Parton‘s “Jolene”. (She amusingly quipped “you stupid bitch I didn’t trust you anyway!” during the latter). The less-is-more approach worked considerably better this time and she redeemed herself vocally.
The show wound to a close with Mike WiLL Made It‘s summer smash “23″, enjoyable Michael Jackson homage “On My Own” and usually forgettable Bangerz filler “Someone Else”, which was made very memorable due to Miley performing it on a hot dog suspended above the stage. As expected, she returned for massive hits “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” but also delighted fans with “Party In The USA”, which she sexed up by pretending to give head to a dancer dressed as Bill Clinton (see gallery above).
Bangerz isn’t a perfect show. The setlist is weighed down by duds from the new LP and there isn’t much opportunity for Miley’s voice to shine but if you just want to let your hair down for 90 minutes, this beautifully staged extravaganza is hard to beat. It’s certainly better than recent tours by fellow pop heavyweights Rihanna and Katy Perry. The ball is now in their court.
Miley Cyrus — Bangerz Tour Setlist
Love Money Party
Maybe You’re Right
Do My Thang
Can’t Be Tamed
Rooting For My baby
On My Own
We Can’t Stop
Party In The USA
Do you have tickets to Miley’s Bangerz tour? Let us know in the comments below.
Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.