Carly Rae Jepsen
House of Blues, Dallas
Friday, February 19, 2016
Carly Rae Jepsen didn't just come to Dallas to dance on Friday night. Visiting the House of Blues in support of 2015's well-received Emotion, Jepsen’s high energy was assisted by a faux — at times almost forced — '80s vibe. She channeled a modernized, more theatrical Joan Jett-esque style, mullet included. She struggled to hit some of her higher notes, which isn’t completely surprising since she’s been on tour since last September.
Jepsen’s career blossomed when she came in third place on the fifth season of Canadian Idol. Shortly after that she debuted her first album, Tug of War, in 2008. She really hit the mainstream with her 2012 hit "Call Me Maybe," but it wasn't until Emotion came out that she began to get the recognition she deserves for her pop singing chops.
Emotion, partially produced by fellow Canadian Justin Bieber, is chock-full of hits, most notably "I Really Like You," and she performed the album in its entirety along with some of her more popular older songs. It was a high-energy set, one that must have been particularly exhausting to perform, but that bubbly enthusiasm is what makes Jepsen's music tick.
In fact, Jepsen was giddy and upbeat, and she really worked the crowd. Her between-song stories were usually about boys or dancing. Or dancing with boys. Either way, the crowd was feeling it and there were a lot of people dancing with boys.
The on-stage sax riff during "Run Away with Me" was a nice touch to the opening number and set the pace for the remainder of the show. Jepsen and her four-piece backing band barely filled out the fairly large stage at the House of Blues. She danced from side to side of the stage throughout the whole evening.
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The 30-year-old performer gave a short, however semi-serious, talk about boy problems and asked the crowd, “Who out there has boy problems?” The gentleman in front of me pointed to his male companion (in a joking manner, we’re sure), "Boy Problems" began, and everyone commenced giggling and dancing. It fit the tone of the night, though, as there were plenty of children on their parents' shoulders (really sticking it out for "Call Me Maybe," perhaps).
Jepsen later explained that the song "I Didn’t Just Come Here to Dance" was written about creepy guys who watch she and her girlfriends while they are out dancing. The song was inspired by one of her girlfriends, who got really mad about guys coming on to them while they were out.
There was an outfit change 12 songs in that included a dress and sneaker update. Jepsen shed her long, black one-sleeved dress for a silver-sequin number (that was really just underneath the original dress) and swapped red sneaks for black. However quick the transition was, it was still an odd pause that seemed more like an intermission.
Because Jepsen didn’t give an encore, instead joining the band hand-in-hand for a bow after the last song, the evening had a strong theatrical feel. Either way, while Jepsen didn't reinvent the pop music wheel on Friday night, she delivered a positive, feel-good show, so it was hard to complain.
Run Away With Me
Making the Most of the Night
It's Always A Good Time
Tiny Little Bows
I Didn’t Just Come Here to Dance
Tonight I'm Getting Over You
When I Needed You
Let's Get Lost
Call Me Maybe
I Really Like You