“How many of you does that happen to, that your mom doesn’t listen to you?” teased Demi Lovato on Sunday, midway through her hour and a half long set in Uncasville, CT. The singer was teasing her own mother, who was busy texting instead of answering the star’s questions between songs. Even when you’re headlining an arena tour, mom just doesn’t understand.
Demi took the stage Saturday as part of Mohegan Sun’s Hot Summer Fun concert line up, faced with a primarily-female crowd, mostly young girls escorted by mom (and dad), but dotted with boyfriends and best boy friends who often knew every word to Demi’s tracks too. Demi’s spent the last year promoting “Unbroken,” her third album, but the presentation has changed drastically since it was released.
Last summer she played Hammerstein Ballroom in New York with a set complete with skits, dance breaks and flash. This go-around Demi is opting for a more mature style — no costume changes, no dancers, no acting bits. She played the whole show in a backless black jumper with a leather fringe, powering through a mix of songs from her past efforts and current, more mature sound.
A particularly breathtaking moment came when Demi requested the crowd use their flashlight and camera flash functions on their various smartphones to light up the arena while she sang ‘Lightweight.’ Instead of the now typical blueish glow associated with these stunts at concerts, Demi’s crowd flickered like bright fireflies. Then the grand piano came out for “Skyscraper.”
“I know there are girls who have gone through what I’ve been through,” Demi sympathized. “I want you guys to know that you think I’m an inspiration, but every day I was in treatment I thought of you guys because you’re an inspiration.” Her only misstep came perhaps when she transitioned to a cover of “Turn Up The Music” and flubbed the piano part (“If you’re filming that, hit delete and start again,” she joked.”) While the song was at the request of her mother, who spent the entire show sidestage snapping pictures and video on her cell phone like any other devoted fan, singing Chris Brown to a room of devoted tweens felt a little off the mark. She went on to finish the set with more inspiring tracks from her current album, closing with her current single, “Give Your Heart A Break.”
In the teen-appealing pop star battles, Demi’s often been compared to Selena Gomez and her current contemporaries (another cycle of Britney/Christina/Pink/etc) but she actually solidly falls into a more interesting definition — a new Kelly Clarkson. Of course, her fanbase may not have caught up yet, as the most popular topic of conversation in the concession line was who had spotted Justin Bieber and where (he was not, in fact, there.)