Carly Rae Jepsen Venetian Theatre, December 30
It was nearly 8:30 p.m. in the Venetian Theatre, and Carly Rae Jepsen had yet to take the stage for the first of her three-night mini-residency. A chant of “Carly Rae” started up but didn’t last too long, perhaps because it was past some of the attendees’ bedtimes. Jepsen emerged shortly thereafter to perform an exuberant, giddy and musically accomplished set for an audience filled with teens, tweens and their bored and/or bemused parents, along with a healthy number of genuine adult Carly Rae fans. Over 85 minutes, Jepsen ran through every song from her fantastic 2015 album Emotion (plus a few of the bonus tracks) and half of her nearly-as-fantastic 2012 album Kiss.
As pop concerts go, it was decidedly low-key, despite taking place in the still-lavish former home of Phantom: The Las Vegas Spectacular. Jepsen’s goofy enthusiasm propelled a show with no costume changes, no video screens, no moving stage sets and no dance numbers (“I’m no dancer myself,” Jepsen admitted when encouraging the somewhat sedate audience to get moving). On record, Jepsen often lets the songwriting and the arrangements take the spotlight, but the live setting gave the onetime Canadian Idol third-place finisher a chance to show off her voice without overpowering the hooks or the backing band.
Aside from an acoustic version of “Curiosity,” the performances were extraordinarily faithful, and the show felt like it was missing a bit of musical variety. A well-chosen cover song or even a number from Jepsen’s little-heard 2008 debut album might have effectively shaken things up, but Jepsen stuck with the songs that fans clearly wanted to hear. Although dancing was only sporadic for the majority of the show, most of the audience was on its feet by the time Jepsen got to set-closing hits “Call Me Maybe” and “I Really Like You.” If anybody had been ready for bed before the show began, they were wide awake by the end.
“Run Away With Me”
“Making the Most of the Night”
“Tiny Little Bows”
“I Didn’t Just Come Here to Dance”
“Tonight I’m Getting Over You”
“When I Needed You”
“Let’s Get Lost”
“Call Me Maybe”
“I Really Like You”