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Miley Cyrus fills KC’s Sprint Center with a randy, rowdy show

Miley Cyrus performs at the Sprint Center Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014.
Miley Cyrus performs at the Sprint Center Tuesday, Aug. 12, 2014. The Kansas City Star

Just when you think you’ve seen it all, Miley Cyrus comes back to town.

In April, Cyrus canceled her scheduled performance at the Sprint Center after suffering a severe allergic reaction to an antibiotic, which hospitalized her for several days.

After she was forced to cancel several other shows, she rescheduled the rest of her spring tour, including her show at the Sprint Center.

On Tuesday night, she returned to Kansas City, in better health and in a randy, rowdy mood, drawing a crowd of nearly 10,000 in a similar mood.

Cyrus is touring off her “Bangerz” album, released in 2013. From the outset, the Bangerz Tour, which opened in Vancouver in February, has generated plenty of notoriety for its salaciousness.

Since her Wonder World Tour in 2009, Cyrus, 21, has been distancing herself from her days as the star of “Hannah Montana,” a Disney Channel show programmed for preteen and adolescent girls. Though she still attracts plenty of adolescent fans, the Bangerz Tour makes it abundantly clear her new market is males and females in their late teens and early 20s — young, sexually active adults.

With much visual and aural fanfare, Cyrus entered the arena by sliding down an enormous model of her tongue, which delivered her to the back of the stage. From there, the show was a blitzkrieg of music, dance, costume changes and burlesque theater. For most of the show, she wore something that bared much of her backside, which she regularly shook at the crowd.

She was surrounded by a host of visual distractions, including a five-piece band and two backup singers; a large screen that broadcast some lively videos and graphics; a team of as many as 14 dancers who wore an array of costumes; and several gargantuan props, including an orange ostrich-like puppet, which she danced with, and an inflatable dog that looked more than 40 feet tall.

As the tongue-slide delivered her onstage, Cyrus opened with “SMS (Bangerz),” then “4x4,” which included a chorus line from her team of dancers. After that came “Love Money Party,” in which Cyrus danced seductively (and posed spread eagle) atop a gold car that sprayed fake money around the stage and into the crowd up front. She followed that with “My Darlin’,” a pop-rap number built on the Ben E. King classic “Stand By Me.”

Visually, her show reflects influences of some of the world’s best live entertainers: Cher, Madonna, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga and the Scissor Sisters. It’s campy and vampy and uninhibited theater with bombardments of visual treats and plenty of shtick unlike any other.

And for that, Cyrus deserves much credit.

During “Do My Thang,” she spit mouthfuls of bottled water upon the crowd up front. During “#GetItRight,” she bounced on a huge bed with about a dozen of her dancers, everyone wearing nothing but boxer shorts or other underthings.

Before “Adore You,” she gave a sermon about “being who you are.” Then someone pitched a large bra onstage, which she wore over her costume, saying, “This is the first bra I’ve worn in four years.”

She was showered with gifts all night long, including stuffed animals and a french fry costume, which she wore during several songs.

The set list included all of “Bangerz” and a few covers, including the Beatles’ “Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.” For part of the set, she performed on a stage at the back of the arena, where she sang two other covers: Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and the Smiths’ “There Is a Light That Never Goes Out.” Because she can sound at times like a post-1990s Stevie Nicks, that one sounded like a Fleetwood Mac ballad (“Fireflies” came to mind).

Cyrus gave Kansas City lots of love.

First, she thanked the hospital for taking care of her during her illness in April. She also thanked Jeremy Scott, a native Kansas Citian who is one of her fashion designers, telling the crowd there is plenty of creativity coming out of this part of the country.

She closed with “Party in the U.S.A.,” one of her most popular anthems, punctuating the song with another barrage of visuals: smoke, flashpots, confetti.

It was a fitting climax to an orgiastic show, one that her audience had been anticipating for more than four months.

She made it worth the wait.

To reach Timothy Finn, call 816-234-4781 or send email to Follow the Back to Rockville blog on Twitter @kcstarrockville.


SMS (Bangerz); 4x4; Love Money Party; My Darlin’; Maybe You’re Right; FU; Do My Thang; #GetItRight; Can’t Be Tamed; Adore You; Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds; Drive; Rooting for My Baby; There Is a Light That Never Goes Out; Jolene; Bakers Twerk It Dance; On My Own; Someone Else. Encore: We Can’t Stop; Wrecking Ball; Party in the U.S.A.

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