Arts & Entertainment, Features, Reviews

REVIEW: Carly Rae Jepsen delivers a fun, upbeat performance

Carly Rae Jepsen
Carly Rae Jepsen singing to the audience. Jepsen performed at her sold out show at the RoadRunner in Boston on Sept. 26. VISHVA VENKATESAN/DFP STAFF

Bubblegum pop-queen Carly Rae Jepsen performed Monday night to a crowd of bright-eyed kids, teenagers, adults and superfans. Her sold-out show at Roadrunner in Boston was part of her North American “The So Nice Tour.”

The Grammy-nominated artist, best known for her 2012 earworm single “Call Me Maybe,” performed songs from all different eras, streamlined into a concert that was energetic and memorable. Her most recent album is titled “Dedicated” with a twin album released a year after called “Dedicated Side B.”

The opener, “Empress Of,” captured the audience’s ears with her smooth voice. A few of her songs touched on women and the female experience. Jepsen’s performance included themes of love, emotion and “boy problems” — one of her song titles.

As a casual listener of Jepsen, I knew only a handful of songs. Despite my expectation of awkwardly swaying to songs I only half knew, I found myself dancing — along with most of the crowd — to the rhythmic, bright beat. With strobe lights and colored confetti, the audience was bathed in an assortment of gleaming lights, mirroring the tone of Jepsen’s songs.

Jepsen’s performance was optimistic. It evoked a sense of happiness — the high of a fun night with friends, or the highway wind through your hair.

My favorite song Jepsen performed was “Julien,” named after a boy. The lyrics are devotional, mesmerized by this character and hopeful that the love is reciprocated. “To the end, to the last breath that I breathe I’ll be whispering, ‘Julien,’” she sang.

The magnetism of this song stems from the fact that everyone has a “Julien” — someone they keep like an oath. And yet, the most memorable moment of the song is Jepsen’s shrug as she said, “I don’t even talk to that boy anymore. Don’t know where he is or what he’s doing.”

I laughed, then allowed the next song to possess my body.

“I Really Like You” was a buzz of energy. The song has over 400 hundred million Spotify streams, and based on the crowd’s shouting, it seemed like half of them were in the room. Even the dads were dancing along.

Towards the end of the concert, Jepsen performed an unreleased song. She admitted she was nervous, but the crowd cheered its encouragement in response. The song differs from the majority of the set list — it has a melancholy sound at the beginning — in contrast to the majority of Jepsen’s bright songs.

Jepsen exuded jubilance. She smiled at fans and was never quite still, always bouncing back from each corner of the stage to another. At one point, she looked at me and said “yeah, you!” as encouragement to keep singing.

During one of her last songs, she gestured at the security guard for a favor. The employee obliged and grabbed a fan’s Minecraft sword for her. With the giant balloon sword, Jepsen hoisted it to the air playfully.

The last song, “Cut to the Feeling,” was the last hurrah. “I wanna cut through the clouds, break the ceiling/I wanna dance on the roof, you and me alone,” she sang. It encapsulated the majority of Jepsen’s performance: bubbly, dynamic and impossible not to dance to.

Green and pink confetti was unleashed into the crowd, suspended in the air like fairies. I reached out and grabbed some, as souvenirs of the night.


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