Ariana Grande @ Bell Centre – August 6, 2015

Ariana Grande The Honeymoon TourAs the lights went down and another round of teenage girl screams pierced the night on the massive video screen right behind the stage there was a little snippet of Miss Grande saying that her show should be “Good music, good music and a great time. I want to make sure my fans have the best night of their lives”.  Just those few words and seconds tell you a lot about young pop star Ariana Grande.  Despite her just being 22-years-old her 90 minutes onstage was very workmanlike and professional.  No sign of the behaviour that got her in her first bit of hot water in her young career when she licked a donut on a counter in a shop.  It was all about singing, dancing and making her fans happy.

 

Despite the reputation of many of her peers, Ariana Grande is a pop princess who can hit those high notes.  Almost effortlessly the petite slip of a young woman belts out notes and songs like nobody’s business.  She has been compared often to Mariah Carey and while I don’t think she quite has that diva’s range, her voice is nothing to sneeze at.  I would estimate a four octave voice along with a proficiency at her falsetto.  Meaning she can hit every note without missing a beat.  At times soft and sultry while others booming and powerful, there is not a run this young lady won’t attempt.  Sometimes there were too many runs and vocal gymnastics for my liking, but the crowd certainly ate it up with a spoon going by the screaming and shrieking happening from the approximately 12,000 strong at the Bell Centre.

 

While still in her teens Ariana Grande got her start in show business on the Broadway stage then she moved on to doing a couple of series on Nickelodeon.  That means that the girl has pipes, can act and that most of her fans are young.  She is obviously conscious of the age of most of her fans as her show is pretty much squeaky clean with no language or overt sexuality.  There is also a level of professionalism that you don’t see too often from performers this young.  No fooling around or even too much chit chat in between songs (just a couple of thank yous and one other time she went off script to thank Lucas the security guard who caught her shoe as it flew off her foot mid song).  It was a tightly run ship this Honeymoon Tour show maximizing the amount of time for songs, dancing and pyrotechnics.

 

That is not to say that she is not having fun.  How else could you describe someone who wore a couple of different pairs of cat ears throughout her show?  Each selected to go with the costume she was wearing at the time?  Ariana Grande still has that kid in a candy store vibe about her loving life as a star and her time on stage.  With an ever present smile on her face it is hard not to like her and her catchy pop tunes.  Also the sometimes distracting big stages used for these types of arena shows actually added to the whole effect.  It was a rather simple two-tiered white job with plenty of openings that she or her dancers could be lowered or rise out of.  For the opening number her dancers were expelled up into the air making their eye catching entrance.  A floating cloud and gliding chandelier allowed the petite singer to get high above the stage and give her fans a different perspective.  The great laser lights along with the hundreds of glowing cat ears that changed colours in time with the music also were above average and nice touches.

 

ariana grande bell centre 20153From the opening notes of her collaboration hit with Jessie J and Nicki Minaj, “Bang Bang”, to the über smooth ditty “One Last Time” to the big finale combo of “Break Free” and her first hit “Problem” fans were screaming approval.  The only misstep of the set was the “I’m Every Woman/Vogue” mash up, which seemed to not register with the young crowd.  She works hard to keep her young fans engaged whether it is on social media which she chats with them a lot or on stage.  Her big voice and ear for what is or makes a catchy tune will carry her far in the music world.  This Honeymoon is not going to be followed by a quickie divorce.

 

Setlist:

  1. Bang Bang (Jessie J cover)
  2. Hands On Me 
  3. Best Mistake 
  4. Break Your Heart Right Back 
  5. I’m Every Woman / Vogue (Chaka Khan/Madonna mash-up)
  6. Be My Baby 
  7. Right There 
  8. The Way 
  9. Pink Champagne 
  10. Tattooed Heart 
  11. One Last Time 
  12. Why Try 
  13. My Everything 
  14. Lovin’ It 
  15. Love Me Harder 
  16. All My Love (Major Lazer cover)
  17. Honeymoon Avenue 
  18. Break Free 

Encore: 

  1. Problem 

 

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