Photos: Miley Cyrus at the Pepsi Center in Denver (review, video) - Reverb

Miley Cyrus at the Pepsi Center, 3-4-14 (photos, review, video)

Halfway into her show at the Pepsi Center in Denver on Tuesday, Miley Cyrus explained herself.

“I made out with a fan at my last show,” the child star-turned-21-year-old-bad-girl told the predominantly teenage audience. “I’m banned from making out with fans at my shows now because of my mom. She said I’ll get sick.”

The latest in a long series of events that has captivated critics and fans alike was Cyrus kissing a girl at the Las Vegas stop in her “Bangerz” tour. Call it an attention grab, call it a downward spiral, call it a phase, but it’s impossible to dispute the fact that Cyrus knows how to get a reaction out of the masses. The “Bangerz” tour is like the world of Sesame Street gone horribly wrong. Anyone who has (willingly or unwillingly) seen the headlines throughout her tour knows this. Cyrus paraded fluffy puppets, inflatable animals, ridable hot dogs, skimpy high-waisted shorts and leotards throughout the Pepsi Center on Tuesday. She spit on the crowd, and, yes, she did nasty things to a guy dressed as Abraham Lincoln (not Bill Clinton) during “Party in the U.S.A.”

She’s like any young adult — she tests the limits of her newfound freedom, but she still (supposedly) obeys her mom. She still wears her cowboy boots and still covers Dolly Parton — a throwback to her country roots and Disney days. But as interesting as her behavior is from a pop cultural aspect, the thing that matters is: does she sell tickets, does she have the talent to back up the ridiculousness?

To answer the first question, it would appear that — at least in Denver — Cyrus isn’t selling well. While the Pepsi Center was nearly full on Tuesday, days beforehand tickets were selling for basically nothing. Fans could grab up to four tickets for 75 cents each.

Now the second question, the more important question: Does she have talent? Cyrus was hit and miss on Tuesday. The biggest problem was the complete assault of a mix at the Pepsi Center, making it hard to differentiate any instrument from Cyrus’ voice. Her first chance to belt over the abysmal sound came a few songs in during “FU.” Played with a full band, the song is missing the whamp synth (or at least it seemed that way, given the sound). Cyrus nailed the chorus that switches quickly from cooing to full on power. Then again, while the crowd was distracted watching the Miley Cyrus brand “Kiss Cam,” the singer gave it her all, delicately singing “Adore You.” Her greatest performance came during the power ballad, “Wrecking Ball,” where she elevated the song to the shear forces that it deserves. Cyrus truly has a command of her voice, and when you can hear it, she’s quite impressive. Unfortunately, this wasn’t always the case.

Appearing sluggish on stage, most of her noticeable misses came during an interlude at the back of the arena, where Cyrus took a stab at a few covers while wearing a t-shirt depicting her own face. One of these was her version of Bob Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” (which Dylan fans will be happy to know that she admittedly “f***ed up”). Other covers included acoustic a country version of OutKast’s “Hey Ya” and Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness.” Both of these were far less interesting than the hickey you could clearly see on her neck. But for the most part, Cyrus was left barely audible at the Pepsi Center on Tuesday, which made it difficult to identify the quality of her voice and how often she sang with a backing track.

While average at best musically, you have to give Cyrus credit for her complete acceptance of absurdity. She’s capturing the essence of her millennial generation — pulling images from her own childhood TV shows, the colors, the fads and trends — and distorting, exaggerating and sexualizing it. This is weird, offensive, and in the most uncomfortable way, fascinating.

See our live chat during the Miley Cyrus show below:

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Seth McConnell is a member of YourHub at The Denver Post and a regular contributor to Reverb.

  • Cotton Mather

    She’s a very decent live singer, who (as well as can stay on key) seems to have extremely good interpolation, timing and self awareness. These qualities combined , make her more than a match for even the most gifted of vocalists. Her stage antics are fairly mild by any standards today, its only her identification as a supreme role model for young girls {its assumed we all know} that infuriates as she blatantly converts this former image into marketable capital, pressing and pushing all the buttons imaginable in her return to the super-stardom position she once held.

  • OKNowWhat

    Honestly, if you couldn’t find some aspect of enjoyment out of this show, I don’t quite understand how cynicism has taken such a large role in your writing style. Vocal talent. Crowd energy. Impressive and creative stage production. As much as the teeny-pop star cliche is played out, so is the embittered music journalist who can’t seem to understand that his job is to write about pop culture, with a grain of salt and at least a small sense of irony.

    • OKNowWhat

      Actually, in a way I stand corrected because you did nod to her vocal talent towards the end of the article, so in that way.. partially repealed.

    • Aristocles

      What a joke. What are you a 40-year-old Cyrus fan?

    • Goose

      This is irony, right? Gross. You must be male. That would explain it, dad.

  • KJ

    Where do these 75 cent tickets come from?! Must know!

  • Aristocles

    If you’re whacked on Molly it’s probably a great show.

  • Goose

    I think “Cotton Mather” and “OKNowWhat” are the same person and are in love with Miley.

  • R.D. Bone

    what a laugh-Smelly will get sick-how about not spreading herpes to all your underage fans?? and the fact that the Smelly Circus is nothing more than a front for pedophiles to stalk down 13 years olds -it’s like Smelly is setting up the perfect scenario for literally thousands of young girls to be abused-she promotes lude behavior and drinking doing drugs and who is waiting in the shadows but hundreds of pervs offering to buy them alcohol get them Molly and admire the thong they wore under their clothes to get out of the house-say their are cute while acting out like Smelly-it’s wrong and evil and seems like revenge -as if Smelly is so bitter about losing her childhood that she is literally trying to steal the innocence of every child alive right now-this isn’t all fun and games-the underlying motivation is just pure evil and and Smelly is the Devil’s bee-yotch right now-stop laughing about it and acting like it is a joke lest your 14 year old relative falls prey

    • Alesha

      Get over yourself.

  • Alesha

    Were we at the same show? I was sitting in 311 and could hear her perfectly. More than perfect. Looks like you had better seats too. Haters are gonna hate.

  • diamond

    i worked on the tour, closely with miley. she does not sing to any backing tracks. if you know that there were sound issues, and you are indeed a journalist, why not check and listen to the multiple recordings of the other gigs that are posted all over the internet ? the crowd loves the show and she is an awesome performer. why are you so bitter ? its sad to read such a weirdly mean review of a show with a lot of energy put into it.