Selena Gomez: Concert review

Selena Gomez Photo: Amanda Nobles, Creative Commons

Gomez, dressed like an haute-couture genie, danced and gyrated her way through the evening at the ACC. She even sang — if you could hear her.

By: Nick Krewen Music, Published on Sun Aug 25 2013

Selena Gomez
2.5 stars
Air Canada Centre. Aug. 24, 2013

Seen, yet barely heard.

Selena Gomez may have ditched her old faceless band The Scene for a groovier, more dance-friendly vibe, but at her appearance Saturday at the Air Canada Centre it didn’t really matter: her new instrumental backers drowned her out for a good portion of her 80-minute set.

Perhaps some of the estimated 11,000 fans who were situated towards the S-shaped ramped stage that extended about eight rows into the crowd heard the music more clearly. But for those of us on the sides, the 21-year-old Disney ingénue doesn’t possess a powerful enough voice to cut through the volume.

So right off the bat, after a thematic video sequence that found the charisma-free Gomez sleeping on a map of the stars and then entering a dream sequence in which she had to choose to walk through a number of white doors (no, none of them led to former — or is he still current? — squeeze Justin Bieber, in case you were wondering), she launched into “Bang Bang Bang” and “Round & Round” and her singing was muffled.

Not that it seemed to matter to her fans, who seemed evenly split between 6-year-old girls engaged in hero worship, tween-aged girls who’ve followed the Texas-born Gomez since her TV show days of Wizards of Waverly Place, and well-intentioned parents chaperoning the first two age groups.

They knew all the songs and mouthed the words as a midriff-baring Gomez, dressed something like an haute-couture genie, danced, jumped and gyrated her way through the evening, accompanied by a troupe of eight.

Sometimes the routines were unintentionally hilarious. For example, during “Write Your Name,” Gomez’s eight hoofers grabbed pink wands and performed what could be interpreted as a crazy aircraft marshalling dance before collectively using the wands to visually piece together a heart. One could imagine the calamity that would ensue if they were on an actual tarmac directing planes.

As for Gomez’s sound, it was only about halfway in — during a couple of acoustic renderings of “Love Will Remember,” and “Dream/Royals” — that the band toned down enough for her singing to shine through.
Personally, I’m still not sure what the fuss is all about. Gomez isn’t a particularly distinctive singer, and tunes like “Love You like A Love Song” or “Whiplash” are as homogenous as they come. Gomez’s concert Stars Dance presentation — a set featuring a giant staircase, aping this year’s earlier Taylor Swift tour, plus a handful of costume changes, video and choreography — was passable but would only be impressionable for the younger worshippers who had perhaps never attended a concert before.

But Canada has always been kind and supportive to Gomez, attracted perhaps by her genuine earthiness. As well, the messages she imparts — believe in yourself, don’t change for anyone, trust your own decisions — are worthy of any role model wishing to make a good impression.

They’ve bought her records, attended her concerts and — now that she’s declared a moratorium on albums while she concentrates on the silver screen for a while — will probably go to see her movies.

So maybe Stars Dance was the warm-up to more unique musical promise down the road, although one shouldn’t hold one’s breath.

At the very least, this final concert hurrah for a while should give Selena Gomez fans a chance to mature and slide into sync with a woman who clearly wants to move into a more adult arena in terms of image and content — as well as give time for the sound guy to iron out all the kinks.

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