‘X Factor’ judge talks breakups and goes ‘old school’ on the latest stop of her summer tour.
By Jocelyn Vena
Demi Lovato performs at the PNC Bank Arts Center in Holmdel, NJ on Friday
HOLMDEL, NEW JERSEY — Not even rain showers could scare away the Lovatics who crowded the PNC Bank Arts Center to catch the latest stop on Demi Lovato‘s summer tour Friday night. The star, who’s fitting in the trek between her judging duties on the “X Factor,” brought out some of New Jersey’s most devoted Demi fans.
The star swaggered out to a killer guitar riff before busting out the night’s first song, “All Night Long.” She shimmied all night in red shorts, a black-and-white blazer and a sheer top, never once stumbling in her sky-high platforms.
She displayed her rock-star bravado when she teased and flirted with her band during tracks that were hardly audible over all the screams.
“Thank you so much for coming,” she told the crowd, “You guys are amazing. Let me just tell you guys, I love being in Jersey. It is one of my favorite places. You guys are the rowdiest fans.” Several tracks in, Demi displayed her musicianship by strapping on an acoustic guitar for “Catch Me,” only to switch over to a yellow electric one mid-song, proving that a ’70s rock goddess lurks inside the 19-year-old. Soon though, it was time to slow it down and she showed off her R&B princess side for the Unbroken ballad, “My Love Is a Star,” her vocal pyrotechnics mirrored by the lightning and thunder taking place just feet away from where the singer was performing.
“This next song is a pretty personal song for me,” she told the room. “How many of you guys have been through a breakup? As you all know I’ve been through a few. I’ve been there and I made it through. I love you and I’m always there for you.”
She then launched into an emotional version of her track, “Fix a Heart.” The intense moment, in which Lovato looked as though she was struggling to hold back her emotions, was met with cheers. She followed it with her now famous cover of Lil Wayne’s “How To Love.”But, things didn’t stay slow for long. “Who’s That Boy” picked up the pace followed by “You’re My Only Shorty,” “Here We Go Again,” and “La La Land.”
And then came the perfect time for her big (albeit fleeting) plug of the night when she reminded room, “Recently I’ve been working on a show ‘X Factor’ [and I get to sit] next to Britney Spears … I’m gonna slow it down a little bit. Basically I just want to see you guys,” she added, requesting that the room hold up a cell phone or glow-stick or lighter if “you’re old school.” The firefly effect only made the impact of her slow jam, “Lightweight,” more grand.
Next she sat at the piano and said, “Before my concerts I get to do a meet-and-greet with some of my fans, and some are brave enough to share some of their stories,” however as she got personal a guitar fell and she joked, “Well there goes that moment. … You don’t realize I got through my issues and my problems [because of you guys].” That was the perfect set-up for her defining power ballad, “Skyscraper.”
Then, in an interesting twist, she went into the cover of Chris Brown’s “Turn Up the Music.” And to wrap up the first act of the show she did her own tracks “Together” and her rock-tinged “Remember December.”
She came back out for her encore to deafening screams where she kept the energy turned up to a big 10 thanks to her disco anthem “Unbroken” and her current single, “Give Your Heart a Break.”
Lovato will be on the road through September 1, with her special guests Hot Chelle Rae. The tour wraps up just in time for the premiere of “X Factor” September 12.