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Concert Reviews:
Miley Cyrus delivers plenty of Bangerz for the buck at the Palace

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Sunday, April 13, 2014

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AUBURN HILLS -- You can say what you will about Miley Cyrus and her Bangerz Tour -- and rest assured concerned parents, as well as respectful devotees of Abraham Lincoln, will have a LOT to say, and not without justification.

But there's no denying one thing -- it's entertaining, and enormously so.

The 21-year-old Cyrus lit up The Palace on Saturday, April 12, with her nearly two-hour spectacle, a show that packed more per capita three-ring visual stimuli than anything this side of, say, Ringling Brothers. Or Cirque du Soleil. It had the usual glitzy totems -- lasers, confetti, streamers, pyrotechnics, a massive video screen and costume changes (10 for Cyrus) s-- but added trippy assortment of treats that included: giant, furry animals; a red-and-white plaid dancing horse; a massive statue of Cyrus' late dog Floyd; a gold car with a giant, puppet-like statue of Detroit rapper Big Sean during "Love Money Party;" and a load of cheeky animations

Cyrus began the night whisking down a tongue-shaped slide that protruded from her face on the video screen and exited on a giant, flying hot dog. And during the closing "Party in the USA," she cavorted with a dancing Mount Rushmore, Liberty Bell and Statue of Liberty and emancipated Honest Abe in a way that fellow President Bill Clinton would appreciate.

Channeling some of her pop forebears -- particularly Madonna and Lady Gaga -- Cyrus unapologetically played for shock and dispensed with any vestiges of her wholesome Hannah Montana past with plenty of antics that merited the Parental Advisory: Explicit Content warning that flashed on the screen towards the start of the show. There was plenty of flesh, bumping 'n' grinding, unsubtle sexual insinuation and, yes, twerking, along with a frisky slumber party with her dancers during "Get It Right" and a Kiss Cam for "Adore You" that found willing couples of all gender persuasions.

Cyrus acknowledged her fondness for marijuana a couple of times, too, and it's likely the vast ranks of parents who opted to drop their daughters (the sold-out arena's overwhelming midriff-baring majority) would have been horrified by just how adult the Bangerz show is.

But Cyrus treated it all with a light and self-deprecating touch; there was a definite sense that Cyrus is sending up herself and her provocateur image throughout the night. That might not make the parents of a 10-year-old feel better, but it did mark the show as smarter and more sophisticated than many would expect of Cyrus.

And, oh yeah, there was music, too -- 22 songs, 15 of which hailed from the genre-hopping "Bangerz" album, including a surprisingly straightfoward, props-free rendition of the torchy chart-topper "Wrecking Ball" and Deluxe Edition tracks "Rooting For My Baby" and "On My Own." An unplugged-style set on a second stage at the rear of the Palace floor found Cyrus and her seven-piece band covering Bob Dylan ("You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go"), Lana Del Rey ("Summertime Sadness"), Coldplay ("The Scientist") and Dolly Parton ("Jolene"), while the title track from 2010's "Can't Be Tamed," along with "Party in the USA," were welcome "oldies" from Cyrus' repertoire. The show hit a few dead spots, particularly during performances of "FU" and "23," but Cyrus' quick costume changes kept things moving at a fairly steady clip, and surely no one left the Palace thinking they didn't get enough Bangerz for their bucks.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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