If you are the parent of a teen or preteen girl in Atlanta there was only one place to be on Friday night and that was downtown and in the CNN Center patiently waiting for your daughter and her friends to emerge from the Demi Lovato concert at Philips Arena. There were hundreds of mothers and fathers waiting outside while their kids were enjoying Disney pop at its finest provided by one of its biggest stars.
Demi Lovato has come a long way since she first appeared on the Disney Channel as a 15 year old in 2007 but she has brought her legions of fans with her and they filled the lower bowl of Philips Arena as she entertained Atlanta with her Neon Lights tour on Friday night.
Demi Lovato has grown up in front of her fans and, like many of her fans in the audience, she has suffered much of the teenage angst that many of her fans are likely suffering. This empathy makes her a perfect role model for her fans and it goes a long way to explain how and why teenage girls relate to her. She is loved by them because she is one of them!
Her voice is remarkable! Although it is not really challenged by much of the pop she sings it’s obvious that her voice has considerable range. It also has power demonstrated by the ballad “Nightingale.” “Skyscraper” was another vocal highlight while “Got Dynamite” was a harder-edged rock anthem played by a self-proclaimed “21 year old Demi” after a big screen video montage of her career at Disney.
While many of her contemporaries rely on over-production of their voices on their albums that can never be replicated in concert, Lovato’s voice is sufficiently strong and has an abundance of range that when she sings live it loses very little.
While she has a great voice, hearing Demi Lovato sing is sometimes difficult because she is accompanied by thousands of teenage girls who know every word and who sing along quite happily. It’s a two way street with Lovato feeding off her fans energy and them loving everything she was doing on stage.
It’s because of this relationship with her fans, the fact that she is “one of them”, and the fact that she is barely older than many of them that her personal recollections between songs as introductions become so compelling. She talks about the personal issues that she has had; the problems with self-harm, her issues with teenage self worth.
Dedicating “Warrior” to all the fans in the audience who may have suffered many of the issues she has suffered, she delivered an incredible, sincere and emotional rendition of the song.
She doesn’t hide anything on stage and is very candid about her recent issues, presenting a video montage of the news stories that recounted her admission into a rehab center in 2012 all with the aim of conveying that the crowd can learn something from her mistakes.
She has a stage demeanor that comes across as lively, expressive and sincere and she was obviously enjoying being on stage. That made her perfectly relatable which is why her fans hung on her every word except for when they were screaming her name.
The set list contained all of her hits from the last few years but emphasized songs from Demi, the album released about a year ago. “Made in the U.S.A.” and “Heart Attack” being the pop singles of most note.
She also sang “Let It Go” from the soundtrack of the recent Disney release “Frozen.”
Saving what was the best for last (according to one fan I overheard) Demi Lovato launched into “Give Your Heart A Break” providing one last opportunity for the crowd to join in an arena-wide sing-a-long. It was a great version and it provided the perfect ending to a night that was pure pop. As the song, and the show, ended she descended from sight through the same platform that has elevated her onto the stage at the start of her set.
The concert at Philips Arena was one of the early ones on the Neon Lights tour that will last through May and will go to Latin America as well as both Canada and the USA.
Next up is Charlotte and if you’re a parent you might want to actually accompany your teenage daughter, if she’ll let you! Demi Lovato is pure pop entertainment but she is very good at it and you’ll be happy you went.
Really Don't Care
Here We Go Again
Made in the USA
Let It Go
Give Your Heart A Break