Whether your opinion of Miley Cyrus is one of love or hate, it’s hard to deny that her Bangerz concert in Milwaukee was anything short of a blast. The entire show radiated Miley’s over-the-top creativity, making it an eye-catching, attention-snatching, FUN performance. Bangerz turned the Bradley Center into Crop Top City, packed with rainbow balloons and raffish bellybuttons. Talented duo Aino Jawo and Caroline Hjelt of Icona Pop opened the show with music from their album Icona Pop – which I can only describe as an enthusiastically punk dance party on a disc – a cover of a Rihanna song, and matching sequin shirts and Swedish accents.
Miley made her entrance by – you guessed it – sliding down a giant tongue in a sparkly onesie to perform her song “SMS.” Flanked by her energetic backup dancers, she spent the next two hours cranking through the music on her Bangerz CD, sprinkled here and there with a few throwbacks and a couple of covers. One of the most creative parts of her show was the incorporation of technology; the giant screen behind Miley featured moving graphics to accompany her performances and videos as filler between outfit changes.
Miley’s most unforgettable performance was her theatrical song “FU,” during which she wore an extraordinary red dress and sang under blacklights to a huge neon bird/dinosaur creature. During French Montana’s rap verse, the lyrics appeared on the screen as if part of an iPhone texting conversation, adding dimension to the meaning of the song. The vocals throughout the entire show were strikingly impressive, and Miley maintained a high level of energy for the night’s duration.
A few other memorable (yet scandalous and potentially shocking) moments of the show included a KissCam during “Adore You,” which showed more tongue from the audience members than in all of Miley’s selfies combined. The song “#Getitright” was performed in a large bed filled with several dancers all rolling about in a slightly indecent bedroom romp, while the screen showed images of candy arranged into questionable parts of the human anatomy (think rock candy on a stick). During “Someone Else,” Miley rode off into the clouds on a giant hot dog. The encore “Party in the USA” featured streamers, fireworks, and Miley’s dancers in Statue of Liberty and Liberty Bell costumes.
The worst part of the concert was the audience members, 98% of which were in the exact same outfit and infected with a rabid case of fangirling so hardcore that as Icona Pop threw up their hands at the end of their strobe-lit remix of “I Love It,” the girl behind me threw up her lunch. However, the crowd was at least generous, because bras were flyin’ and shirts were flingin’ from the minute Miley took the stage, making the arena look like a washing machine with the top open. Throughout the show Miley collected souvenirs ranging from a driver’s license to underwear to a jacket made of stuffed animals – good luck putting those in order from most to least personal.
All joking aside, I was a bit disturbed to see so many half-naked girls who looked to be under sixteen. I wonder if Miley’s provocative dance moves and scandalous outfits, projected daily to her fans through social media, are actually having a very negative impact on girls who are still in a stage of high developmental flexibility, who are still trying to figure out who they are. I fear that the high school freshmen who attended this concert in nothing but their bra and a miniskirt have been influenced to feel that exploiting their bodies is the only way to be noticed and succeed. If young girls are trying to model Miley’s do-what-you-want, sexual, indecent image, there could be a real problem here regarding the price that is paid for celebrity entertainment.
Overall, the Bangerz concert chalked up to be a fun night because I enjoyed Miley’s voice and song lyrics. However, while the show was fun, I am left with a lingering feeling that her bold displays of indecency may be taking things a bit too far due to their influence on her (especially younger) fans. While her explicit displays often play creatively on humor, I think that they might be sending the wrong message to fans who view Miley as a role model instead of simply an entertainer. Miley has a great musical talent, but the performance aspect of her new image, both during the concert and as the overt character she is portraying herself as through media, may be doing more harm than good.