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Monday, February 29, 2016

Live Review: A 42-Year-Old Goes Solo To A Carly Rae Jepsen Show

Posted By on Mon, Feb 29, 2016 at 12:00 PM

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Here's what's fun/horrifying: being 42-years-old and sober, and heading out at 9 o'clock on a Saturday night to catch Carly Rae Jepsen, a teen pop star, at the Warfield. A Canadian Idol alumna who was most recently seen as Frenchie in FOX's Grease Live, she's also the artist behind E•MO•TION, the most egregiously underrated album — not to mention one of the best—of 2015. Naturally, I had to see her at this year's Noise Pop Festival.

And I went alone. My friends wouldn't come with me because they listen to exhausting, pretentious music that I appreciate to their faces but ridicule behind their backs. (I'm a horrible friend.) And my boyfriend couldn't come with me because he isn't real and only exists in my head. So I trudged it out solo.

Fully expecting to be the only 40-something at the Warfield, I was surprised by the diverse range of people within the predominately white rainbow of attendees: young pre-tween girls clutching each other with excitement over Jepsen's impending appearance; wasted, acne-studded college students in Stanford tees; heaps of gay men sporting tank tops and, much to my horror, shorts; and a smattering of self-consciously cool adults who, like myself, also worship at the spun-sugar topped alter of E•MO•TION.

For those not in the know, her third effort landed with little fanfare (and nary a Grammy nomination) but proved intoxicating to critics. It's a fully realized and complete '80s/early'90s-tinged pop album with no misses. None. It is, at the risk of hyperbolizing, the perfect album. Better than Taylor Swfit's 1989. Better than The Weekend's Beauty Behind the Madness. Better than Adele's 25.

Since then, Jepsen has evolved into something of a cult figure for her adult fans. Well, at least for me. So I had to see her. After all, I'm a sucker for any girl singing in the upper register.

The 30-year-old Jepsen opened with "Run Away With Me," which the audience sang along with word-for-word. She followed it with the Sia-penned "Making the Most of the Night." Refusing to play up to her freshly churned indie cred, Jepsen performed like the teen idol she is: sweet, brimming with energy, and full of mutual admiration for the audience. The only hint of sultriness came from the mild rasp in her voice.

"I've got a bit of a cold. I hope you don't mind," Jepson explained. "But I'm gonna keep battling out here with you."

And victorious she was. She played almost every song on her 2015 album, reserving a few moments for other ditties — most notably 2013's viral earworm "Call Me Maybe."
Near the end of the show, the gods made it clear that it was time for me to go. As Jepsen closed with "I Really Like You," a messy lady on the floor, with a hairdo that could be best described as perfectly Stockton, tossed her Vodka-cranberry on me for unknown, presumably dark reasons.

As her embarrassed friends pulled her aside for a proper admonishing, I tucked my phone into my Coach bag and headed for the doors. My back ached. My feet hurt. My eyelids hung low. But though my body told me I'm too old for this shit, at least my 16-year-old heart still high fived me for making it out alone on a Saturday night.
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Brock Keeling


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