The Revival of Selena Gomez (with DNCE)
Rexall Place, May 16, 2016. By Amber Petersen
Young teens rush the floor as musicians walk onto the fully lit stage; a brunette stands behind a keyboard and waves enthusiastically at the crowd. “Is that her?!” More screams. “She must have a bigger entrance than that…!” Streams of shrieking fans rush to their seats. The lights drop, a blue spotlight hits the white flowing curtains covering centre stage, a silhouette appears. More screams. A few fantastical poses later, the curtain drops and Selena Gomez struts out for a dramatic “Same Old Love”.
“No more Disney, no more of The Scene, and no more Bieber…”Selena Gomez played Rexall Place last night, to an almost sold out crowd of young preteens and their parents. But she didn’t just play her music – she celebrated it and lived it. The Revival Tour is a continuation of the rebranding of Selena as her own self. No more Disney, no more of The Scene, and no more Bieber. Through dramatic, geometric, and elegant set props, as well as spectacular outfits (for both her and her dancers), Selena celebrated her top current hits (“Come and Get It”, and “Hands to Myself), passionate ballads (“Survivors” and a cover of “Transfiguration” by Hillsong Worship) and reveled in “throwbacks” such as “Love You Like a Love Song” (from her time with The Scene) and “Slow Down”.
Taking time between every few songs to address the crowd, Selena seemed raw and in-the-moment. Seeing this side of an artist feels rare, since they say the same touching comments every night, at every tour stop, for a good year. Drawing similarities to her BFF, Taylor Swift, Selena took breaks from the showmanship to explain that she needed to write this music for herself and is always grateful for her fans and their connection. The breaks between every other song was for another outfit change, leaving the crowd to watch videos on the stage screen of the star pose in different dresses and scenarios – always setting the scene for the upcoming number.
“The arena was transformed in a downtown night club…”From simple and elegant, then to a slightly industrial set, transitioning to a Latin inspired look and finally an 80’s glitter party finale, The Revival Tour sets kept the audience on their toes. Skipping and strutting around in sultry but audience-appropriate outfits, Selena celebrated every song on stage. The main event of the night was definitely the glitter-strewn finale. The arena was transformed in a downtown night club, full of disco balls and multicolored lasers set to a killer cover of “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” and then her own “Kill Them with Kindness”. Confetti rained down on the shrieking crowd to a short remix of the title track “Revival” until Selena Gomez promised, “I’ll be back, okay?” and strutted off stage for the last time.
Joe Jonas’ new band, DNCE opened up for this stop of The Revival Tour. Much like Selena Gomez, he made a few comments to address the age of the crowd; Selena realizing that the “parents want[ed] to go to bed soon” and Joe hoping that the “90’s babies and parents” would be familiar with a kitschy cover of TLC’s “No Scrubs”. However, that may have been the only similarity between these two pop stars.
“the mix of originals and covers was expected, but unexpected was the rock band attitude…”Maybe it was to compensate for the throngs of screeching preteens, but DNCE’s sound quality really put a damper on the party. Rexall Place isn’t the Winspear Centre, but blaring bass made some songs nearly unintelligible; counter-productive for a new band trying to get their songs heard. The songs that were the most recognizable, were the copious covers performed, including “Kiss” by the late Price, and Drake’s “Hold on, We’re Going Home”. As a new band to the scene, the mix of originals and covers was expected, but unexpected was the rock band attitude.
While the bass player flailed around, headbanging and nearly smashing his guitar, Joe Jonas acted the part of a hard rock lead singer, pacing the stage like a lion. The big finale though, was when Queen’s “We Are the Champions” come on, and the band put down their instruments to chest pump, high five, walk all ends of the cat walk and bow multiple times to their sea of screaming young girls. Having one track hit the radio and only a four song EP doesn’t classify someone as a champion, but maybe they are going for a “aim low, never be disappointed” motto?