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Live Review: Demi Lovato – 18th April 2015 – Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, Australia

5 min read

As a hugely successful popstar, actress, reality show judge and advocate for a string of causes including the rights of the LGBT community, there isn’t much left for US star Demi Lovato to conquer. In just a short few years she has become one of the biggest pop stars on the planet and while her fame is still the most prominent in the US, her fan base has made a successful transition outside of the States over the past couple of years thanks to some of the starlets biggest singles like Heart Attack and her rendition of the Frozen juggernaut, Let It Go.

She’s enjoyed major mainstream success since her 2008 debut album Don’t Forget so it’s been a long time coming that the former Disney star made an appearance in Australasia. Her fan base has long since broken the international walls and her legion of fans were in tow last night as they set for Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion to see the singers first ever tour of down under!

Turning up to the venue, based in Sydney’s buzzing Entertainment Quarter, it was evident from the get go that the show was going to be a packed one as her fans, known as Lovatics, lined the street alongside the venue, waiting to get in to dance along with their pop idol.

She wasted no time in getting the show underway as she appeared to greet her Lovatics at a little after 9pm, warming the crowd up with recent hit Really Don’t Care which was met with an ear-bleeding scream from the mostly teen crowd.

With a few albums already under her belt following a lucrative career as one of the latest Disney protégées, Lovato had plenty of hits to deliver to her fans last night. The set was peppered with mainly up-tempo cuts from her 4 album career including Fire Starter, Remember December, The Middle and Got Dynamite all getting the crowd worked into a frenzy.

With most offerings being of the foot thumping nature, a brief acoustic segment was injected into the middle of the show to bring the pace down and to allow her and her fans to catch their breath as she performed early hit Don’t Forget and Catch Me to the strum of an acoustic guitar; the latter being played by herself proving that she is more than capable of delivering a nice instrumental backbone as well as a fine vocal to her hits.

As the show drew to a close, Give Your Heart A Break made its appearance and in my opinion the track was the most engaging and memorable of the night with its poppy hooks and memorable chorus being turned out by Lovato in splendid style. After a short departure from the stage, Lovato then returned to another deafening applause to turn the venue into a nightclub with her encore performance of Neon Lights which was another of the shows full throttle highlights.

While the show offered fans their first opportunity to see Lovato on Australian soil and while there were a few memorable hits delivered throughout the 70 minute performance, unfortunately it takes more than a pretty face and a great voice to hold down a successful show these days and this seemed, for the most part, all that Lovato was capable of offering us last night.

With not a single costume change to be seen (she remained dressed in her matching short and jacket ensemble for the duration of the show), something quite odd for a pop concert, the show was electrifying when it came to her vocal delivery, particularly throughout her rendition of Let It Go which proved the biggest crowd pleaser of the night which was accompanied by visuals of the Disney blockbuster on the giant screen behind the musician, but the show proved to be nothing more than a vocal spectacle with her songs lacking the uniqueness to make them classic pop tracks.

The stage design was basic with her band raised behind her on risers and two backing singers providing very subtle contributions to the performance. The visuals were quite egotistical to begin with – videos capturing various poses and images of Lovato made up the majority of the first half before being swapped for dated and erratic shots of exploding buildings for her performance of Skyscraper.

The show, particularly during the first few songs, seemed quite rushed with Lovato performing the opening 5 songs without speaking to the crowd and each song sewn together to form a sort of extended medley. This did change however during the latter half of the set when Lovato opened up to her fans a little more. Unfortunately her topical choices, while informative and educational and coming from a good place, could have perhaps been a little more thought through and I questioned her choice to deliver a speech dedicated to not living in the past and her being labelled a ‘poster girl for recovery’ due to her addictions and disorders over the years, with an audience that was barely breaking through puberty. What was perhaps a little more inappropriate were the fact that packs of condoms were being handed out to these children from a dozen volunteers as we left the venue after the show. While an initiative to raise awareness of sexual health was arranged for the show, I’m sure a handful of the parents who were waiting outside the venue to pick up their kids, or at least the parents of the 12 year old looking kids giggling in front of us with their packs, might not have been too happy about their children skipping out of the venue with condoms in hand.

Overall, the crowd seemed to leave pretty chuffed at seeing their idol after so many years of the starlet enjoying the spotlight and not making a trip down under to deliver her hits, something that she explained had been a dream of hers since noticing the love from fans posting comments on her MySpace page when she was 14 years old, requesting the singer to make a visit. While the show may have been brief and the stage design and elaborate outfits that a pop star deserves left a lot to be desired, the show seemed to be a success for the popstars first visit to Sydney and one that I’m sure the tweens will be talking about for weeks to come.

Setlist:
Really Don’t Care
The Middle
Fire Starter
Remember December
Heart Attack
My Love Is Like a Star
Don’t Forget
Catch Me
Let It Go
Warrior
Two Pieces
Got Dynamite
Nightingale
Skyscraper
Give Your Heart a Break

Encore:
Neon Lights