Words and photos by G.
After seeing Lady Gaga perform at Roseland Ballroom on April 4, 2014, I thought I’d seen the biggest spectacle possible that weekend, but I was dead wrong. Miley Cyrus’ Bangerz (sic) tour came to Barclays Center in the dreaded Brooklyn on April 5, 2014 and full disclosure: I expected to despise the show. From what little I’d heard Of Miley’s music up to walking into the venue, I was not impressed with it (despite giving credit where credit is due – she can actually sing). I will say, that I left the venue not thinking very much more of her music (again, giving her full credit for singing live unlike so many other pop stars), but as far as the performance, it was probably one of the best shows of the year (and if this is your first time seeing the site, know that I see several hundred bands a year, so this speaks volumes). As you read my observations about the Bangerz Tour, please note that I’m going to have to get up on my soap box a few times.
1. Miley Cyrus doesn’t give a FUCK! I think it’s commendable that she started off as a squeaky clean child star and not only did a 180 degree turn, but she basically has poured gasoline all over her old self and has lit the match. Soap Box Alert: While oldsters like myself were able to look at the show from an objective point of view, having a blast people watching and also observing the spectacle of the show itself, it made me seriously fear for the future of the planet. The audience featured tons of girls (without their parents) who looked like they were seriously underage and who were all dressed like whores (low cut everything and leaving very little to the imagination). I am not a prude. If you want to dress like a whore or a nun, more power to you! What is concerning is that I am smart and old enough to know the difference between self expression and self degradation. I am not sure the majority of the concert goers are that fortunate. As evidenced by the excessive selfie-taking instead of being present in the moment, if the audience by and large walked away from this concert feeling empowered in ANY way, the world is in serious trouble!
2. Before the show started, the music over the loud system had generous helpings of profanity-laden songs using the “N-Word” and explicit lyrics such as “suck my dick” and “motherfucker” and these songs were audience sing-a-longs. So I am confused – as a white person, if I use the “N-Word,” I am going to hell, yet it’s perfectly ok to use it in a pop song and is appropriate to encourage young kids to sing it?! If people are going to still use the word, the stigma that comes along with it either needs to go away across the board or stop jumping down people’s throats when you are not treated equally. Playing this kind of music before the show started sets such a bad example to her young and impressionable audience. I would have preferred “common sense lessons” being blasted over the loud speakers with phrases such as “IF YOU ARE GOING TO TEXT INCESSANTLY, YOU ARE NOT LIVING IN THE MOMENT” or “YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY PERSON ON THE PLANET SO PLEASE BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS” or “THERE IS SO MUCH AMAZING ART OUT THERE ON THIS PLANET, EXPLORE IT AND QUIT WASTING YOUR TIME WITH THIS CRAP.”
3. The merch featured an inflatable banana (!!!!) that said “Miley Cyrus Bangerz,” low cut panties with a tongue sticking out over the crotch and a poster of Miley where she is pretty much showing her pussy, which appears to be clean shaven and makes her look even younger than her 21 years, according to the picture. Hey, if she can show it, I can talk about it. I am 100% guilt free. I hate sounding like a prude, because I am one of the most liberal people out there, but showing that much skin when her body looks way younger than her 21 years is VERY CREEPY and encourages a lot of bad behavior from the young and old.
4. The visuals Miley used were so good! From the opening of the show, the visual presentation was damn near perfect. A giant version of her face started the show on a screen and as she did one of her signature looks of sticking her tongue out, a giant tongue appeared from the screen which turned into a slide and then she slid down it and the show began! Later on, there was every permutation of trippy visuals that would have not been out of place at a Flaming Lips or Grateful Dead show! But of course, during a costume change, there was a several minute montage of Miley wearing next to nothing and in bondage gear (see below for a tame picture). Again, very artful pictures and for someone like me, I think the pictures were very sexy, but I’m a gay guy who can appreciate fierceness. To so many young kids in the audience who just want to emulate their idol, can you imagine how many extra nudie kid pix are going to be out there because of this?
5. Miley Cyrus’ dog died earlier in the week, and she was understandably and visibly distraught. She paid tribute to her dog no less than 5 times, including a gigantic inflatable dog (see below for a glimpse of how large the dog was), which of course she dry humped.
6. Miley Cyrus delivers a stadium-worthy performance, unquestionably. She interacts with the audience, gets them all riled up and has them eating out of the palm of her hand. So many bands have forgotten what you are supposed to do when you perform in a stadium. Bands like Arctic Monkeys who stand in front of a thin row of lights that are placed over the letters AM, clearly don’t need to have dancing midgets, but come on bands, give us a show! And Miley’s show featured insanely cool visual projections, midget dancers, dancers dressed up as fluorescent teddy bears, movable parts on the stage (including a car and a bed), and of course my favorite part of the show – a flying hot dog (see picture later)! The costumes were over the top and speaking of costumes, it’s a wonder why Miley even bothered getting dressed at all because she was practically naked and shaking her ass (which was visible) for the duration of the 2 hour show (except for one outfit, though that was sheer). Again, as a 21 year old, her body is in great shape (I personally think she looks like a 15 year old girl, which is what makes her nudity so creepy to me), so I say get naked, live long and prosper. But again (soap box alert), do the people in her audience know the difference of when it’s appropriate to express yourself and when you are inviting lots of perverts to stare at your way young looking body by exploiting yourself? Miley has a team of people working with her (and exploiting her with her consent for assloads of money that she is surely raking in during this sold out tour), but do your children have someone to turn to when they set themselves up for the inevitable exploitation and the emotional scarring that is almost certain to come from emulating Miley? And if not, you just have to think about all the negativity that puts out into the world whether that comes in the form of kids growing up with trust issues or negative body issues, etc. It’s scary and completely avoidable.
7. Miley encouraged the crowd to express themselves too. She encouraged pot smoking, same sex kissing and even had a song where she told the crowd to get naked and the more naked they got, the better chance they had of appearing on the big screen projecting out to the crowd. I am all for pot smoking, nudity and same sex kissing, so it’s hard not to sound like a curmudgeon, but it only seems like Miley is trying to be controversial by being so extreme. I recently saw footage of old interviews with her where she pretty much denounced homosexuality and drug taking due to her religious upbringing, so I feel like she is not only full of shit in her new found independence, but she is setting such a bad example purposely when she knows there are tons of young people looking up to her when she’s not going to be there for them when they develop complexes about all the things she encouraged them to do.
8. She covered Bob Dylan (“You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go”), Lana Del Rey (“Summertime Sadness”), Coldplay (“The Scientist”) and Dolly Parton (“Jolene”). Amazing to me that she can dabble in music this diverse when her own songs sound completely generic, overproduced and unoriginal. And the sad thing is, because her audience is so young and inexperienced, they don’t know that there is a world of amazing music out there because they are being force fed this auto-tuned crapola.
9. Each number seemed to get more ridiculous than the one before it, and though it was visually amusing, it seemed like a desperate cry for attention. In the two hour show, we saw Miley dancing with midgets, spreading her legs on top of a gold car, humping the leg of a blow up dog, Miley touching herself on a bed surrounded by all of her dancers, leotards creeping so far up her ass they were practically wiping her pancreas (to quote Andrew Dice Clay), twerking, inflatable animals, fluorescent life sized teddy bears, insanely trippy visual projections, people in the audience throwing masks on stage and Miley putting them on and singing with them on and last but not least, my favorite part of this show…
10. She rode a flying hot dog!!!!! EPIC!!!!
Again, parents please talk to your kids and tell them what is up. Please teach them common sense. I’m not saying “right and wrong.” Those are a matter of opinion. Common sense is being cognoscente of the fact that YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY PERSON ON THE PLANET, SO PAY ATTENTION AND BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS! Please tell them when it’s appropriate to express yourself and when it makes you look like a fucking slut. And foremost, please culture them in art and entertainment so this horrible music will die once and for all.
The setlist (spelling errors in tact) was:
SMS (Bangerz) / 4×4 / Love Money Party / My Darlin’ / Maybe You’re Right / FU / Do My Thang / #GETITRIGHT / Can’t Be Tamed / Adore You / Drive / Rooting For My Baby / You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go (Bob Dylan Cover) / Summertime Sadness (Lana Del Rey Cover) / The Scientist (Coldplay Cover) / Jolene (Dolly Parton Cover) / 23 / On My Own / Someone Else.
Encore: We Can’t Stop / Wrecking Ball
Encore 2: Party in the USA
For the record: Will I put any Miley Cyrus music on my ipod? Doubtful. Will I go see her in concert again? Absofuckinglutely.