Selena Gomez is at the nexus of the pop universe. At the 1stBank Center on Saturday night, the bubble gum impresario gave her fans a glimpse of her beloved Disney gloss and a quick wink at an all too predictable future. In front of a hyper sold-out crowd, the 21-year-old baby-faced Gomez started out the night with tracks “Bang Bang Bang” and “Round And Round” — two songs that seem to showcase Gomez shedding her role-model image for a more provocative one.
“Like A Champion,” off her 2013 album “Stars Dance,” appeared to take that evolution one step further as Gomez writhed on-stage alongside her dancers as the song’s video displayed her dolled-up in gobs of make-up at a nightclub. The J-Lo-inspired performance looked like a well-worn path that many of Gomez’ predecessors have already traveled; complete with the type of identity struggle that comes from trying to grow-up in the spotlight. “Write Your Name” and “Birthday” made similar in-roads as Gomez looked desperate to break from her wholesome roots. Skipping through the audience on a stage built into the shape of a huge capital “S,” the Texas-native went through multiple wardrobe changes — working hard to look mature yet not too sexy.
Gomez then gave her younger fanbase a reason to scream with “Love You Like A Love Song” and the ballad cover “Dream” (in which Gomez played harmonica). Both songs helped bridge the newer material with her “Hannah Montana” debut and showed some artistic chops from a performer who has more film credits (30) on her resume than albums.
For the encore, Selena’s name pulsated on the screen urging her young fans to cheer. “Slow Down” seemed like a fitting end to the night as most parents in attendance were probably quietly sharing that same wisdom with their daughters. After all, it’s easy to grow up too fast.
Kris K. Coe is a freelance writer, Denver-native and regular contributor to Reverb.
Glenn Ross is a Denver-based photographer and regular contributor to Reverb. See more of his work here.