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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review on Miley's Brisbane concert

MUSIC: Miley Cyrus. Brisbane Entertainment Centre, June 22.
DURING the past 18 months, Australian audiences have been treated to performances by the three biggest tween sensations on the planet: Taylor Swift, Justin Bieber and now Miley Cyrus.
It's Cyrus who is working hardest to shrug off the tag, with her new material going toe to toe with the likes of Britney and Beyonce for pop supremacy.
Opening her concert with Liberty Walk, the 18-year-old embraces her post Hannah Montana life with a strut that won't be sanctioned by Disney. Thigh-high boots, leather shorts, killer heels and a black bustier set the visual tone as Cyrus rocks out with a band that includes a twin guitar attack, bass, drums, keys and two backing vocalists.
The on-stage ensemble is fleshed out by an army of dancers busting out choreographed moves as Cyrus hits a groove more in common with the late 1980s LA glam rock scene than the gloss of contemporary pop.
Her anthem Party in the USA comes early and the crowd, already on their feet, will remain so for the rest of the night. As audience members wave their glow sticks, Cyrus leads the band through a rocking Kicking and Screaming, complete with a light show that should come with an epilepsy warning.
Next is a tribute to Joan Jett as Cyrus romps through the teen rebellion trio of I Love Rock 'n' Roll, The Runaways' Cherry Bomb and Bad Reputation. It's strange to see Cyrus unleash her inner wild child before the audience, one-third of whom are under 12.
There's a quick costume change before Cyrus re-emerges with Poison's Every Rose Has Its Thorn.
The backdrop has gone from industrial to something more gothic. Her own Obsessed veers towards Meatloaf territory as Cyrus is joined on stage by dancers proffering a mawkish routine that's out of context with the night's consistently good choreography.
Fly on the Wall sees Cyrus back on track, while other highlights include 7 Things and Scars. The latter features Sin City-style graphics and it's here where Cyrus falls to her knees, tears off her torsolette and essentially drives a stake though the heart of Hannah Montana.
A strange transgenerational moment follows, with Cyrus leading the band through a song older than herself, Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. The cover is admirable, the band tear it up and the tweens wave their glow sticks.
Still, for anyone over 40, there's an odd sense of some postmodern joke being played here.
The show dips a little in the second half, though Cyrus gives it lift with The Climb, a cover of Fleetwood Mac's Landslide and an encore that included My Heart Beats for Love.
Kudos where it's due: Cyrus has taken whatever preconceptions this reviewer had and tipped them on their ear. While there was barely a lick or a move on stage that hasn't been seen before, it hardly matters.
She's a belter in the live arena: there's a good balance between her own hits and covers and, most crucially, for any artist in any age, Cyrus has demonstrated the ability to reinvent herself.
Melbourne, today and tomorrow; Sydney, Sunday and Monday; Adelaide, June 29; Perth, July 2.


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