Save On Foods Memorial Centre, Victoria - March 21, 2007

-- Sun Media

, Last Updated: 8:49 AM ET

VICTORIA, B.C. - Nelly Furtado got Loose, but not completely out of control, as she kicked off the Canadian leg of her world tour on Wednesday night in front of a sold-out hometown crowd.

"It's like a big living room!" said the Victoria-born, Toronto-based Furtado, 29, as she gave a shout out to many family members and friends in attendance for her hour-and-45-minute show at the Save On Foods Memorial Centre.

Touring in the support of her most successful album yet, 2006's Loose, Furtado picked up on the disc's Miami recording roots by performing on an all-white set that included a ruffled curtain and palm trees painted on two backdrops.

But while the music on her latest disc may be the most sexually drenched and club-oriented of her career yet, the singer herself was demure over the course of four costume changes that saw her in everything from a fuschia, strapless evening gown to an all-white ensemble of shirt and pants.

Furtado was more sophisticated than sexy, even though her backup singer did take over on lead vocals at one point to sing Justin Timberlake's Sexy Back while the tea-drinking main attraction changed outfits off stage.

Backed by a six piece band, including Toronto rapper (and opening act) Saukrates on percussion, and four dancers, Furtado was first seen arriving via helicopter as part of a pre-filmed segment while Afraid played.

Once the moving video screen was raised up, Furtado - decked out in a black sequined top, billowing black pants and black stiletto heels - appeared at the top of stairs leading down to her stage while she sang Say It Right, the third hit from Loose.

The only problem was that she often seemed too far away from the audience, with the floor section all of their feet while those in the stands mostly remaining sitting down.

It took Furtado a good three songs into the concert, during Powerless (Say What You Want), from her 2003 release Folklore, before she made a solid connection, prompting a major clapalong when the house lights were brought up.

That lovefest continued during the next song, the '80s-era Madonna-reminiscent Do It, also from Loose, but it was when Furtado made more interesting choices that she shone brightest.

In that vein, highlights included dramatic presentations of the ballads, Showtime and Try; an acoustic version of Gnarls Barkley's Crazy that inspired an audience singalong; getting a young female fan to get on stage and whistle during All Good Things (Come To An End), and a drastic remix of her first-ever hit, I'm Like A Bird, from her 2000 debut, Whoa, Nelly!

Also good was Give It To Me, the first single from Loose producer Timbaland's new album Shock Value (due April 3), and other hip-shaking club songs of Furtado's like Glow, Promiscuous, Party, No Hay Igual, Maneater, and the sports anthem Forca which saw a succession of plastic soccer balls thrown or kicked off stage.

"This song is about football!" yelled Nelly before it sunk it she had crossed the pond after five weeks of touring in Europe. "I just got back to Canada. This song is about soccer!"

After delivering an impromptu a capella performance earlier in the day when a medley of her hits failed during a dance recital in her honor at City Hall - where it was proclaimed Nelly Furtado Day - the singer showed she has moxy.

Now if that freshness could only translate into her live show, which at times came across too stagey, she'd really be on to something special.

SET LIST:

Afraid (on video)

Say It Right

Turn Off The Light

Powerless (Say What You Want)

Do It

Wait For You

Showtime

Crazy

In God's Hands

Try

All Good Things (Come To An End)

Sexy Back (performed by her backup singer)

Give It To Me

I'm Like A Bird

Glow

Forca

Promiscuous

ENCORE:

Party

No Hay Igual

Maneater


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