Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Concert review: Demi Lovato shares struggles in intimate hometown show
She dedicated a song to anyone fighting issues such as substance abuse, an eating disorder or self harm.
GRAND PRAIRIE There were no giant teddy bears onstage, no tiny outfits to leave little to the imagination at the Demi Lovato show on Monday night at Verizon Theatre in Grand Prairie. Our hometown singer opted for a cleaner, more kid-friendly persona that seemed to inspire the crowd instead of shock.
The singer's apparent sincerity made sense, given Lovato's very public struggles with substance abuse and eating disorders. Monday, Lovato stepped out to an adoring crowd wearing a military-inspired black blazer and cotton candy pink hair: a little edge, a lot of charm.
Fresh off her X Factor exit in December, and with a continuing role on Glee, the pop singer has a full schedule that includes an international tour stretching through mid-May. She's also said she is writing and recording while on the road, but audiences didn’t get a preview of the new material during her Monday night set.
Lovato opened with “Heart Attack,” which truly packed a punch and flaunted her robust pipes. She seemed to soak it all in, grinning from ear to ear as she jumped and twirled around. With little onstage banter, Lovato flew threw her newest record and a few past hits without stopping, strapping on an acoustic guitar for a soft version of “Catch Me.” She held nothing back for “Nightingale,” stripping away most of the instruments for the piano and using hearty chords to relay the raw emotion that built the track.
3 memorable moments:1. Lovato dedicated “Warrior” to anyone fighting issues such as substance abuse, an eating disorder or self harm. She's been through it.
2. Magician Collins Key, who competed on America’s Got Talent, performed onstage. His mind-boggling tricks included turning a dollar bill into a backstage pass.
3. Lovato said she remembers seeing acts such as Hilary Duff, MxPx and her "idol" Kelly Clarkson at Verizon Theatre as a kid. She said she had received a lot of “no’s” to get to where she is today.
Her concert felt like an intense therapy session, almost as if she's working through her personal struggles in a most public way. She flung herself onstage, bending over through accentuated notes or kicking her head back with passionate force.
Then she flipped the theater into a pulsing, underage nightclub for “Neon Lights,” asking fans to turn on her mobile app, which filled the room with flashing neon lights of their own. Her encore showed a reel of news clips as she checked into rehab. A performance of “Skyscraper” gave an empowering message about struggle.
Two X Factor bands are touring with Lovato: Season Eight winners Little Mix and Season Two finalists Fifth Harmony. While Fifth Harmony still has work to do, Little Mix strutted with radio singles “Wings” and “Move.” The girl group's clean, confident harmonies and heady chords ignited gleeful squeals throughout the youthful crowd.
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