Miley Cyrus wasn't going to conquer the world with music alone.
That much was abundantly clear from her records, which combine to make Britney Spears' catalog seem like the collected works of Johann Sebastian Bach.
She's had to travel other avenues to get to the top. She's had to court controversy and generate hype, in a fashion that might make Madonna blush. She's had to twerk and tease, shock and surprise, disrobe and dismay -- with nothing less than complete abandon.
How's that emphasis working for her? Well, let's just say that she didn't become a finalist for Time magazine's Person of the Year based on the strength of her songbook alone.
Cyrus seems to understand this, perhaps better than anyone.
Her current Bangerz Tour, which supports last year's chart-topping album of the same name, is all about embracing her new role as pop culture's premier wild child. It completely slams the door on her kiddie-pop past -- the career-making stint on the Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana" -- and attempts to position her in the same league with Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars and other titans of the pop music world.
The big-budget tour, which touched down Monday at Oracle Arena in Oakland, mirrors its star. It's full-on razzle-dazzle, pulsating with equal amounts of energy, ambition, personality and mediocre music. It's also curiously complicated, with an air of desperation and a sense of compensation hovering over nearly every move.
The show, which also was scheduled for Tuesday at SAP Center in San Jose, offered up two fairly strong opening acts. The first was promising indie-rocker Sky Ferreira, who was also referenced by this crowd as "I have no idea who this person is." Icona Pop was up next, and did a better job connecting with the audience. Yes, the duo really only has one song that we wanted to hear -- and it's one that we've all heard dozens of times before.