Emotions filled the room.
Pop star Kesha was thrilled to get back on tour Thursday night at Mystic Lake Showroom after a gut-wrenching lawsuit against her superstar producer and record label. Gay fans were glad to get away from the tragedy of the Orlando nightclub massacre. And teens and 20-somethings were excited to party like it was 2012.
That’s when Kesha was a princess of pop, boasting three No. 1, dance-happy singles including “Tik Tok” and seven other Top 10 hits. However, her career got derailed by a trip to rehab and her controversial, female star-endorsed lawsuit charging sexual harassment against producer Dr. Luke and breach of contract against Sony Music.
She lost in court in April, then made a cameo appearance at the massive Coachella festival a few days later and sang an uncharacteristic downtempo Bob Dylan song on the Billboard Awards last month.
But Thursday marked her leap back into the business, the opener of a 13-city tour. The timing couldn’t have been better for an artist who declared “there are rainbows in my blood.”
With the tragedy at the Orlando gay club behind and Pride weekend straight ahead, it was an evening of rainbow-loving, frothy fun. Throw in the fact that this could have been, like, the most rad high school graduation party of, like, 2012. What’s not to like? Just dance the night away with confetti, beach balls and more cheesy props than you’d find at a park-rec rave, including a giant inflatable rainbow.
While the beats were buoyant, the production seemed a tad low-budget, with just two musicians (keyboardist and guitarist) and two dancers — but plenty of costumes for Kesha and her two beefcake boys.
The blonde star with the fluorescent rainbow streaks in her hair wore sequins, feathers and panties emblazoned with “MEOW” on the derriere. She clearly didn’t skimp on the outfits — or the fun.
The 29-year-old electro-pop hitmaker danced with more abandon than grace, kicking like a chorus girl and, at one point, jumping into an inflatable, confetti-filled wading pool fit for a 2-year-old. She sang and rapped with more enthusiasm than passion on songs about escapism, carrying on like a proud star-in-limbo who knows she’ll forever have a spot on the Pride Festival circuit.
Although she was talkative, Kesha made no reference to her lawsuit or her return to the road. She did address the Orlando situation and the importance of self-love. “For me, be yourself unapologetically please,” she implored before singing her lone new number, “True Colors.”
A collaboration with DJ Zedd, the song had the right sentiment but rather un-dynamic music. No problem because it was the old hits that mattered in the 75-minute set, as the fans — many dressed up like it was a glitter-themed Halloween party — danced and sang along to “Die Young” and “We R Who We R” like they were not only songs of their high school years but also anthems for life.
Opening was Wrabel, a keyboardist who called his laptop his band. He couldn’t decide if he’d rather channel Coldplay’s Chris Martin or Gavin DeGraw. Either way, he was unmemorable.