The night starts before you enter the venue, when a guy in a neon pink top that reads “give her a sword already” looks you up and down and says, “Carly Rae Jepsen?” There is a comradery in the entry line that stretches around the block, bound together by men in cut off tanks, floral shirts, and denim. Everyone looks like they stepped out of the “Call Me Maybe” video.
Jepsen’s entrance is surprisingly subdued—no fanfare or glitter bombs, just a wolf whistle from somewhere in the audience. There is a little sparkle in the form of her iridescent-red high-low crop top worn over shiny black pleather pants, and she certainly stands out against her all-dressed-in-white backing band.
There is no greeting as she immediately launches into “No Drug Like Me,” followed by “Emotion” and “Run Away with Me.” A quick “Hello Vancouver” but otherwise, it isn’t until “Julien” that we get our first tidbit of personal information about Carly. “Julien is from Canada,” she says, “Montreal to be exact.” She tells us that they had three beautiful months together. Sung live, the song is given more depth and life than on her studio recording but admittedly she was let down by the mic quality that had me initially thinking Julien was Juliet. It was a bit of a letdown to discover that what I thought was a bisexual adventure in la was actually on brand with the theme of Jepsen’s discography: this song is about a boy.
In a bold move that demonstrates her longevity, “Call Me Maybe” is song six. “She proves that she doesn’t need to close with her big hit,” says a fellow concert goer. She has other songs to play and the fans love her for that.
Overall, the atmosphere is one of respectful glee. People dance with wild abandon at the front. Others stand off to the side and sway. Where some artists affect a look of detached boredom on stage, Carly Rae Jepsen is having the best time, vogueing with her back up singers and performing cutesy choreographed dances. When she exits there is stomping and clapping that reverberates through the room and cheering that presses on your ear drums. She returns for an encore with “Cut to the Feeling”, during which someone hands her a rubber sword. She grabs it with a “Ha!” before returning it to the crowd and dancing with wild abandon along with the rest of us.
Carly Rae Jepsen plays the Commodore Ballroom again on Thursday, August 29.
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