Review: Carly Rae Jepsen at The Anthem, 9/29


Concerts usually end with confetti but not this one. No, Carly Rae Jepsen opens with confetti. The colorful paper raining from the Anthem’s rafters is an explosive start, a promise of the party to come. We are also welcomed to the concert by a giant talking moon. The moon is campy and everyone loves it except for me. With massive blue eyes and pencil thin eyebrows that would make a 1930s bombshell jealous, this talking moon will haunt my dreams forever.

The stage is set with fluffy clouds, glowing in neon purple, pink, and blue. There are giant cutout silver stars suspended around a circular portal flickering with clips of her rose-colored music videos and lyrics she wants us to chant along to. In addition to the talking moon, Jepsen has a talented band and backup singers with her. As she starts to sing, we are baptized by her entrancing voice, flamboyant lights, and swirling confetti.

Carly Rae, if I may call her that, has her microphone ON. She sings for nearly two hours straight breathlessly with boundless energy in her iconic falsetto. The clear, bubbly quality of her voice is simply made for pop music. The crowd knows every word, cheering especially loud for favorites “I Really Like You” and “Cut to the Feeling”. Jepsen also chooses to perform some of her more earnest, slower songs, and we sway to her mesmeric voice. Her upcoming album’s groovy, carefree bop “Western Wind” turns the crowd into a field of grass in a breeze.

Carly Rae’s performance evokes a sense of jubilance and lightness- even the most awkward among us can’t help but bounce to her pulsating, bright beats. She promises escapism, but the crowd is smarter than that. Instead, we lean into the hot, sweaty, glistering energy of the room. “I didn’t just come here to dance,” Jepsen sings, but we sing along knowing that we did indeed just come here to dance, to feel the music. Everyone who’s loved her for over ten years is wrapped up in each other, screaming every lyric to “Boy Problems” and “This Love Isn’t Crazy” at the top of their lungs. This is a room full of queer people basking in an atmosphere of love and belonging, given the rare space to sing about love and heartbreak as loud as their tender hearts can.

This underrated queen of pop throws an unforgettable dance party that I wouldn’t recommend missing. To see her near you, check out her upcoming shows here.

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