Selena Gomez exists in a curious place. She’s young enough (23) to still be considered a hero among girls who are outside and on the outskirts of adolescence, yet mature enough to sing songs with more adult innuendos, such as “Hands to Myself.”
Friday night, Gomez headlined a show at the Sprint Center that drew about 10,000 fans. She called it the Revival Tour, which matches the title of her second solo album, her first since she divorced herself from the Disney brand. The album cover features a portrait of Gomez sitting cross-legged, wearing not much at all — a declaration of a change in direction.
The show featured lively performances from a crew of dancers, who bounced and bandied around the stage throughout, music from an exemplary band and plenty of visual enticements, such as the enormous inflatable flowers that blossomed halfway through the set. Gomez changed outfits about a half dozen times, evolving from a wardrobe that at first was dark (gothic) to one that was bright and ostentatious with more spark and spangle.
Gomez is touring off the “Revival” album, which in part documents her recovery from a well-known relationship (with Justin Bieber) and coincides with their movement away from the Disney Music Group (Hollywood Records).
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In the world of big-time pop-star divas, she is a rising star who has plenty of flash but is still building up her reserve of power and panache. Friday night she displayed plenty of both before an audience of girls and women who spanned generations from preschoolers and preteens to 20-somethings. All were put on notice: Gomez no longer is a child actress churning out pop hits about puppy love. She is a woman dealing with adulthood.
The set list drew heavily from “Revival,” which is steeped in electronic dance music. Her wardrobe changes signified the changes in mood. Songs such as “Same Old Love” and “Sober” felt like lectures and eulogies for relationships gone sour. Songs such as “Survivors” told tales of emotional resurrection.
Gomez makes the most of a voice that lacks a lot of visceral traits. It’s pretty but not especially strong or blessed with a lot of range. The crowd was enthusiastic and engaged throughout the set, showering her with squeals and cheers during and after nearly every song.
The set list included a cover of the Eurythmics’ “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” that lived up to neither the original nor the darker version by Marilyn Manson. It also included earlier hits such as “Who Says,” a keep-your-chin-up anthem for young girls who need an infusion of self-esteem.
She ended with the title song from her new album, which puts her future into perspective: “More than just survival / This is my revival … I’m reborn every moment / So who knows what I’ll become.”
Friday night, Gomez made it clear that she is ready to explore all the possibilities that come with rebirth and renewal.