Originally published February 21, 2014 at The Los Angeles Beat
I have to admit, the last thing I thought I’d be writing about for this Offbeat L.A. column was good girl gone so very, very wrong, pop icon Miley Cyrus. I guess I’d always had some awareness of her existence. Even I clicked on one of the zillion video links posted on Facebook in the shadow of her outlandish twerking MTV awards performance in November 2013. While the music was most definitely not my thing, I found myself jumping to her defense in discussions about her overtly sexual performance. Buying a ticket to see one of the shows on her 60-date Bangerz 2014 Tour was not on my agenda. The universe had other ideas and instead gifted me with a ticket to her February 20th Honda Center performance, which I conveniently stepped over on the pavement of my work’s parking structure. It was a comp ticket, price $0.00, so with no purchaser its previous owner was untraceable.
Even with a free ticket, the show was in Anaheim, nearly 45 minutes away, and the thought of the long drive, going by myself and the hassle of expensive parking nearly had this adventurer flaking on this unique opportunity. I fortunately joined the gigantic gaggle of booty shorts wearing, 5-inch heel balancing, giggling girls in Orange County. A quick assessment would make me pinpoint the audience demographic as 95% female, between the ages of 14-22. They dressed in tutus, bling-bling and copied Miley’s notorius double side knot hairstyle. They laughed together as they twerked in their seats and posed for smiling selfies with their besties.
This fashion show in itself would have been worth my time and effort, but of course the best was yet to come. As the lights dimmed and a bevy of sexy technicolor stuffed animals shook their moneymakers on stage, a massive photograph of Miley on the back stage wall slowly came to life. First her eyes rolled around and turned into a coy wink. Then her perpetually pouted mouth opened and slowly… slowly… with ever building suspense a pink tongue, longer and longer still twisted its way to the floor. The tongue turned out to be a slide from which a scantily clad Miley made the grandest and most surreal of all entrances.
Miley makes a grand entrance at the Honda Center (video by Nikki Kreuzer):
The show was pure spectacle and visual stimulation. Big screens behind the stage showed constantly moving trance-inducing graphics, while Miley and her dancers cavorted with choreographed abandon. It was impossible to stay immune to feelings of amazement and pure joy. Elaborate stage props were utilized to the extreme and included a gold plated automobile which Miley drove onto the stage. After its inclusion in a dance number it was ultimately driven away by an enormously bizarre big-headed rapper puppet. Miley also shared a dance number with another larger-than-life puppet. This one, straight out of an acid trip, was a cross between a Snuffleupagus and one of those strange ostrich-like dunking bird toys that bob into glasses of water. One of the show’s highlights was also watching Miley ride into the air on a flying hot dog, complete with bun.
Miley’s Bangerz Tour is surreal oddness (video by Nikki Kreuzer):
Amongst all of the surreality, one of the surprises of the show was a beautiful rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” Although it was a truly unexpected and very welcome curve ball, it flat out showed where Miley’s roots, lineage and talent lie. The proof is in the pudding, even with the frills and the distractions.
Miley performs “Jolene” (video by Nikki Kreuzer):
The Bangerz 2014 Tour started on Valentine’s Day and will continue worldwide until mid-June. If you feel adventurous check out tomorrow’s show, February 22nd at Staples Center. Although this is formulated as mass market pop culture it is magical in the very best of ways.