By Taylor Hawkins
Artist: Demi Lovato
Date / Venue: Sunday April 26th, Vector Arena, Auckland
Last night, 22 year old Disney star turned wild child stepped onto the Auckland stage for the first time. An excited buzz filled Vector Arena as an audience made up of mostly teenagers and little girls dressed in their "Frozen" princess dresses, await her.
Following an impressive opening Haka she strides onto the stage and commences with her first song of the night 'Really Don't Care' as scenes of a Gay Pride festival unfold on the big screen behind her.
It was such a pumped up crowd, I saw 3 teenage girls faint and have to be carried out within the first 4 songs! Such excited fans all squashed up towards the front of the stage saw Demi ask the crowd to all take 5 steps back away from the stage in fear that she was "Gonna get shut down"!
She thanked all her "Kiwis" for coming to see her and said that she would never have dreamed she would ever get to travel to New Zealand, even more so that she would actually have fans here! She commented on how awesome the Haka performers were and how she respected the strong Kiwi culture.
After an energetic start to the night she brought down the tempo a little with 'My Love is like a Star' to a floaty galactic astro backdrop. Every iPhone in the crowd was pulled out for this one, replacing what would have once been a wave of cigarette lighters!
Next up came her first ever single 'Get Back', however New Zealand is the first country to hear this new version that she has changed up a little since she first released it back in 2008. The sound of the acoustic guitar strumming beside her gave the show a real unplugged vibe.
She took to the guitar herself to sing 'Don't Forget' and although one of her more subdued singles, the excited crowd were by no means placated.
Soon enough, scenes from Disney's movie Frozen fill the big screen and by the reaction it creates it's pretty obvious that this is one everyone has been waiting for, and she didn't make them wait too long. As she belts out 'Let It Go' she searches the audience for her little "Queen Elsa's"
She talked about how she tweeted "F*** Yeah Bruce Jenner" yesterday in regards to how everyone knows your business when you're an American celebrity. Even though he was already an Olympian hero, most young people only know him from the reality show of the Kardashians. She told how he became a hero again last night for being so open and honest with his personal story and how he probably saved lives and educated minds with his interview. She dedicated the next song to him. 'Warrior'.
She pours her heart into this song which is obviously deeply personal, as scenes from her trip to Africa play behind her, crowds of hungry but happy African children run alongside her as she belts out the lyrics of having thick skin and scars, how after all her battles, she's a survivor. As she reaches the height of the chorus, Masai warriors throw spears on the big screen. A short and rather disappointing applause followed. I guess the symbolism between her lyrics and the images were lost on such a young crowd.
The room was then reenergised after that sad and ironic burst of song with more of her most famous upbeat sounds. 'Sky Scraper' started up to some pretty awesome lights and city skyline graphics, which of course demanded the iPhones to be held up in the air again!
She declared she didn't want the show to end, much to the agreement of the entire venue, she starts the beginning of the end with 'Give My Heart A Break'. The crowd sang along in perfect time with her. And as the song ended, darkness fell all around as high-pitched screams and stamping feet start echoing around, demanding and encore.
A cool guitar solo introduces 'Neon Lights' which seems to be a pleasing end to what was obviously a well appreciated concert by her Kiwi "Lovatics" (her words not mine!!) who bounced their way through the entire last track.
Demi looked awesome dressed in black and displayed a very confident and strong stage presence. There is no denying that the girl is a born entertainer with a huge set of lungs she can belt out some incredible sounds that a lot of artists struggle to achieve live on stage. She went down very well in Auckland tonight, and I'm sure she'll return again in the future.