Last night in Vancouver, Canada, Miley Cyrus kicked off her much-hyped Bangerz world tour with both her immense talent and self-deprecation intact. In fact, if you approached the night as a drinking game centered around “famous Miley-isms” – extended tongues, strange singing cat animations, frottage and the like – well, you probably passed out long ago, never to remember the show. Cyrus delivered on the campy, the vampy and an assortment of other cheeky behaviors with a clear aim to distance herself ever further from the land of Hannah Montana. That said, looking past the “shock and awe,” Cyrus delivered fantastic vocals all evening long.
As for some of the night’s most memorable moments?
1. She looooves gooooooollllld
Available for sale next to the T-shirts and tour books was quite possibly the world’s most expensive, mass-produced rolling papers. Official Bangerz rollies were $40 a pack, which included two 24 karat sheets; the perfect gift for those who literally have money to burn.
2. Her entrance was self-mockification, magnified
When the house lights dimmed, all eyes were focused at the back of the stage where a massive 50-foot screen projected a pre-made video of Miley’s head, her eyes rolling and her mouth opening and closing, robot-style. Suddenly, out of that video “mouth” fell a massive, inflatable tongue. The actual Miley then emerged from between her own tonsils, and she took a ride to the stage floor via her pink slippery slope, while the audience screams filled the stadium.
3. Although there were multiple fabulous drag queens in the crowd, Queen Miley repeatedly won best-dressed
Designers Roberto Cavalli, Jeremy Scott, the Blonds and Marc Jacobs all made outfits specifically for this tour, and Cyrus also purchased vintage Bob Mackie outfits for the occasion. It was a cavalcade of sparkling onesies, the likes of which are only otherwise seen at world championship skating competitions. And speaking of athletics. . .
4. She may have invented a new Olympic sport: giant hot dog straddling
Cyrus’ last song before the encore was a raucous version of “Someone Else,” which turned the hockey arena into a giant nightclub. As the beat kicked up a notch, the singer climbed aboard a 20-foot long wiener, which was then raised high above the crowd. Her legs gripped that phallic pony as it carried her halfway across the arena and back again to the stage, to the audience’s delight.
5. When she says she loves pot, she means it literally
One of Miley’s backup dancers was dressed as a joint, which the singer repeatedly leg-humped during “We Can’t Stop,” the first of her encore numbers. And if the joint blew out, the rest of her dancers were dressed as giant lighters, just in case. “Always Do-Be Prepared” as stoner Boy Scouts say!
6. Speaking of Boy Scouts. . .
When Miley surprised the crowd by showing up on the opposite side of the venue for the much-anticipated acoustic part of the set, she was dressed solely in a baggy shirt — with her own glittery picture on it – and a backwards ball cap, looking remarkably like Justin Bieber.
7. Her taste in other people’s music is quite impressive
During a pre-prepared video interlude, Cyrus was the star of a black and white Madonna-esque “Justify My Love”-style montage. It was the night’s most risqué moment; footage showed quick flashes of Miley in various states of undress and bondage while the brilliantly sexy Alt-J track “Fitzpleasure” provided the musical accompaniment. During this aforementioned acoustic set – a section within which she plans to perform a wide variety of cover tunes – Cyrus sang a slowed-down version of Outkast’s “Hey Ya!” as well as an inspired cover of her godmother(!) Dolly Parton’s tune “Jolene.” It was the point in the evening where she appeared to be the most organically inspired and seemed to be having the most fun.
8. Perhaps the evening’s most shocking element of all. . .
was the fact that there really wasn’t anything jaw-droppingly shocking about the entire night. Cyrus had said in interviews leading up to this tour that she wanted people to go to the show and take her seriously as a vocalist, and it appears that she meant it. Without question, she proved that talent beyond any doubt: unlike many stadium shows, there was no vocal “doubling” (singing along to a track of oneself), and she was only mildly supported by her background vocalists. In fact, Miley’s music was front and center for much of the night, and from beginning to end – roughly 100 minutes long – she nailed her vocals throughout the entertaining evening. With barely a twerk to be found, the singer’s intended emphasis on her music seems legit; her approach may very well shift some of the attention back on her talents, and away from her infamous tongue.