Self-love, bubble-gum pop, and happiness combined is the personified manifestation of Carly Rae Jepsen.
Returning to Australia for The So Nice Tour, Jepsen performed at the iconic Forum Theatre on March 13th, her first of two sold out shows in Melbourne. No stranger to the venue, having performed her last tour there in 2019 (which was amazing), 4 years is still a long time between dance cards, and her adoring fans, as well as Jepsen, didn’t just come here to dance (pun intended).
Just shy of Mardi Gras and World Pride in Sydney, for many, this was the next best thing, or even better. After all, how often do you get to see such a formidable professional with the sweetest voice and catchiest tunes, that loves her adoring fans as much as they love her?
While there were some attendees like me who had seen Carly during her last visit, there were even more that were seeing her for the first time. At the front of the long queue that circled around the block, were fans that had flown in from Adelaide to see Jepsen as she was not bringing her tour to their city. Excitedly, the fans shared that they had been queueing since 8:30 in the morning.
Upon entering the venue, and as the patrons quickly gathered, my experience of The So Nice Tour was more than just a concert, it was a celebration. Whether it be a personalised Pride add-on, or celebrating romantic love, self-love, and life, Carly Rae Jepsen masterfully enchanted the Forum Theatre into her own cathedral that preached of love, support, acceptance, understanding, inclusivity, and above all, fun. Jepsen even had two outfits for the occasion, one a single-strapped aqua blue sparkly mini dress with matching knee-high boots, and the second outfit being a one-piece blue and white tie-dyed jumpsuit. Both were stunning on her.
I was surprised how many on the dance floor were actually dancing, waving their hands in the air, and living in the moment with her, rather the view I’m more used to which consists of a sea of phones. But Carly was an equally matched ball of energy, she ran from one end of the stage to the other and was very interactive with her fans by making eye contact, holding hands, pointing affectionately at them, and even collecting gifts from fans in the front row.
The difference between Jepsen and other artists though, is that she means it. You can tell that she is genuine and so grateful for her loving fanbase. And knowing her market, the colours of the lights that flashed behind her throughout the show were all intentional colours of the rainbow. A supportive ally and full of love in all the right ways.
Accompanied with a 6-piece band that included two back-up singers, song wise, Carly Rae Jepsen’s setlist was filled with all the catchiest of tunes including ‘I Didn’t Just Come Here To Dance’. Kicking off with ‘Surrender My Heart’, patrons were jumping, dancing, and singing along from the get-go. In fact, I don’t think I have ever witnessed a concert where the entire venue knew every lyric for the entirety of the performance, but at this gig, they did. And if you didn’t know the lyrics, you’d know them before the end of the song.
With genres of funk, pop, disco, and dance infused, I could not imagine anyone not having a good time at this show. Every song was a delight in their own way. Of course, the hits were all there including ‘Call Me Maybe’, ‘I Really Like You’, ‘Run Away with Me’, ‘Now That I Found You’, and ‘Too Much’. During ‘Call Me Maybe’, Jepsen even went down to the barrier to interact with the front of the crowd, the ones that waited in line for hours, and while I couldn’t see her for few moments, the cheers of joy from the audience filled every inch the venue.
Honestly, there were so many great moments and no bad ones. But if I had to choose highlights, groovy tune ‘Julien’ was great to hear live with Jepsen blatantly sharing after the song that Julien turned out to be a “dick”. ‘When I Needed You’ and ‘Emotion’ were excellent sing-alongs, although in all fairness, every moment was a sing-along and we were all one gigantic choir in what felt like The Church of Carly Rae Jepsen. ‘Beach House’ even had the band singing along, which sounded incredible. You just had to be there. By the end when Jepsen performed pride anthem ‘Cut to the Feeling’, you would have been hard-pressed to find anyone not smiling and dancing in elation.
Overall, The So Nice Tour’s first Melbourne show was a wonderful night for everyone. And hopefully when Carly Rae Jepsen visits Australia again, it won’t take another four years. Sooner than later, please!
Carly Rae Jepsen has one more show in Melbourne tonight, the final show for the Australian leg of her tour.
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Photography by Rick Clifford.