Demi Lovato 'Demi World Tour' New Zealand 2015 [Concert Review]
currently: listening to 'Inside Out' by Avalanche City
"I need you guys to take like five steps back."
Demi Lovato's first concert in New Zealand and first spoken words to her Kiwi crowd, and it's about telling her fans to back away from the front.
"Otherwise they're going to have to stop the show because you guys are getting really excited, but I'm concerned for y'all safety," she shushed the audience. "Calm down, I'm serious."
To put it plain and simple, Demi Lovato fans are nuts. And apparently Kiwi "Lovatics", as they're called, are the most passionate in Australasia as I was told that Demi's NZ show had the best ticket sale response compared to any of her Australian shows. You could see it too - fans everywhere were rocking Demi shirts, Demi signage, Demi bags, Demi-everywhere.
But as I left the auditorium after photographing her first few songs for work, all I saw were injured, crying girls. Girls that looked brokenhearted and beaten up, struggling to breathe as security tried to hold them up. It stunned me, and seemed to really frustrate Demi as the crowd relentlessly screamed "I love Demi".
It had all started so well too. Just before she went on stage, a kapa haka group came out and chanted a fantastic performance of Ka Mate to the enthused crowd - as if the crowd needed to be riled up further with country pride and Demi anticipation. But of course the gesture was welcoming, and Demi came on stage to perform 'I Really Don't Care' - which could be barely heard over the waves of screaming fans.
Now, I originally thought I was a decent enough Demi fan to make it through the concert. But after that first song, I didn't have a clue what the other songs were. There was some drumming, some video of her lying on top of a car, a lot of orange light, and a crowd that just seemed to scream rather than sing along.
Demi's speeches in between songs seem to just be ways of enthusing more screams from the audience too. After sorting out the serious house rules to "calm down", Demi went on to talk about New Zealand. The classic 'can't believe I'm here in New Zeeeeeland', 'I love my Keeeewis', and 'this song I'm dedicating to Jamie McDell' her opening act were all well received from fans hanging on to her every word (and their spot in the mosh.) Then this was followed with another classic 'put your phones up in the air and light up the sky with it' move. Demi certainly knows how to tick all the boxes needed to achieve concert participation.
After some reworked versions of her first ever single 'Get Back' (I thought it was the Camp Rock song but okay), an acoustic 'Don't Forget', and the predicted performance of 'Let it Go', Demi took some time out to once again dedicate a song to someone else - Bruce Jenner. I don't know if she realised that Sunday night, few people in NZ had actually seen the Bruce Jenner doco and it hadn't been broadcasted on TV yet. But she talked about how brave it was (which was fair), dedicating her song 'Warrior' to him, and how Bruce Jenner would be the type of woman to say "YASS. SLAY." I'll admit I was distracted with work stuff so I didn't pay attention again, and it's not like I learned more about Demi. But she at least does seem to be well aware of her role-model platform. And how rare and honouring a song dedication could be.
Until she did her third song dedication for the night to a fourth person, her personal assistant who's grandmother died the other day. I wonder what her average song dedication count is per show.
The concert got better as Demi stopped dedicating songs and went into 'Skyscraper', then quickly following up to 'Give Your Heart a Break' which, along with 'Let it Go', had the better singalongs by the audience that night. Her vocals were on point too - powerful, focused, and clear-cut notes.
Once she disappeared so the audience could chant for the encore, she came back on stage wearing a specially made Maori korowai over the outfit she had been wearing that night. And, of course as the crowd cheered that Demi liked Kiwi things, she sang 'Neon Lights', turning Vector Arena into a massive jumping club. Everyone was jumping excitedly and singing along.
Then, as if curfew was 10pm on the dot, the show was over. And it only meant her show was maybe 80 minutes long.
I kinda lied to people as we left when I said I had a good time at Demi's concert. It's not that I hated the show, or that I wish I didn't go - it's more that I had hoped to be blown away by the experience, but it was as if the five steps we were all made to take back just left me feeling disconnected from the entire show. There's no denying how powerful a singer she is, and her vocal power matches very few others, but it was short, to the point and seemed to be filled with a lot of inspirational chat that I didn't really relate to. So I definitely was not enough of a Demi fan for this concert that I had thought.
I'm also bitter no 'Camp Rock' song ever played in the show. Just saying.