PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — From the chants of “Demi” to the falling confetti, Demi Lovato put on a performance Friday night at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.
Simply put, Lovato is impressive. Her voice is dynamic and powerful, her production is committed and effortless, and her message is important and reality-tested.
“No matter how hard it gets sometimes, you can overcome it” she said from the piano bench during one of her simpler stage settings. “Don’t be afraid to ask for help.”
Before Lovato took over the evening, the crowd was treated to two different artistic appetizers.
First up was R&B Singer Kehlani, who was commanding in a translucent rain jacket and knee-high heeled boots. As they filed in, she wove through sensual selections like “Honey” to the much more twerkable “CRZY”.
The Oakland singer would be followed by DJ Khaled, who offered more of an Instagram story than a performance. In fact he paused to post to his Instagram story. “Is it ok if I put you on all my socials?” he asked the crowd with phone in hand. “Hold on, I got to make sure this goes through.”
Khaled’s set featured free preview-sized snippets of songs, punctuated by major keys shouted at the crowd. “You are all kings and queens in here tonight” Khaled proclaimed.
“When I say free, you say Meek Mill” he shouted to the Philly crowd more often than not.
The entire exercise with DJ Khaled was an interesting one, one that could not be accomplished by a less charming artist. Still, it cleared the deck and set the table for Demi Lovato. Whatever empty spaces on stage were left from the openers were filled with theatrics and power as the lights went down.
The Tell Me You Love Me tour is a showcase for the arena-sized voice of Lovato, but it’s just as much a forum for her intimate acting and personal growth.
A video interlude of a therapy session showed on the screen before Lovato emerged on a leather couch center stage for “Daddy Issues”. The twenty-five-year-old weaved her way through the floor seats in a bedazzled boxing rope in the lead up to “Confident”. She took a very voluptuary trip across a spinning bed as shirtless dancers flanked the sheets for “Lonely”.
All of these scenarios were effortless and saw Lovato at the center, strutting and confident.
The most vulnerable of moments though didn’t have a thread count or a sexy soundtrack. Seated at a piano bench on stage, Lovato spoke first of overcoming the stigma of mental health and showing self-love while discussing her journey to sobriety and the treatment center that helped her get there.
That center is CAST, a company that Lovato now co-owns and has brought on the road with her. “We bring the treatment to you guys” she explained.
Next Lovato would swallow tears as she talked about her father, his passing, and her path forward. “A part of that growing is me performing this song” she quivered before playing her song “Father”.
The touching moment rounded out a complete picture for Lovato – thoughtful, powerful, and in command.
“It’s important to love others” she announced before her final song. “But it’s more important to love yourself.”
The Tell Me You Love Me Tour continues next week with stops in Boston, Nashville, and Miami.