|Pop singer Demi Lovato brought her summer tour 2012 to the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre in Toronto on Tuesday July 3, 2102. (MICHAEL PEAKE/QMI AGENCY)
In her short 19 years on the planet, teen-pop singer Demi Lovato has had many titles.
- Disney star on Camp Rock and Sonny With A Chance.
- Ex-girlfriend of Joe Jonas and rumoured gal pal of One Direction’s Niall Horan, although she denied the latter as recently as just a few days ago.
- New judge on upcoming second season of The X Factor in the U.S. along with Britney Spears.
- And rehab survivor for treatment of cutting, bulimia and bi-polar disorder as detailed in her 2012 MTV documentary Stay Strong.
Yes, Lovato has been through the wringer, which makes her all the more relatable than most fresh-faced Disney stars that too often grace the stage with a perfect image but without the vocal and musical chops, stage presence or plain character to back it up.
Not Lovato, whose powerful pipes and confidence were on full display on Tuesday night in front of a surprisingly small, if very vocal, crowd of 4,500 mostly female fans at the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre.
Maybe her honesty has cost her some audience, in terms of numbers, but her candour is refreshing.
“When I was in treatment you guys helped me stay strong,” said Lovato, before she sat down at the piano to play Skyscraper, the first single from her third studio album, 2011’s Unbroken, late in her hour-and-20-minute show.
It was one of many songs she played off Unbroken that shows of her many musical sides include rock chick and hip hop queen.
Backed by a six piece band, Lovato kicked the night off with a pair of rockers All Night Long and Got Dynamite, emerging from beneath the stage at the top of a small staircase in a retro-looking pair of red leather shorts with the tips of her long blond hair dyed pink.
She was also sturdy on such pop songs as Get Back, showed off her acoustic and electric guitar skills on Catch Me and Don’t Forget, respectively, and handily covered Lil Wayne’s How To Love and Chris Brown’s Turn Up The Music producing two of the biggest responses of the night.
At its best, her big, bold voice recalled that of Kelly Clarkson on both soaring ballads like My Love Is Like A Star and Lightweight, and more club-oriented songs like Who’s That Boy and You’re My Only Shorty.
Lovato is nothing if not versatile.
Meanwhile, Nashville pop-rock band Hot Chelle Rae (they named themselves after a stalker girl fan pretending to be an online model) opened for Lovato with a brisk and lively 35 minute set that highlighted singer Ryan Follese’s strong voice.
Rounded out by Follese’s brother Jamie on drums, lead guitarist Nash Overstreet (brother of Glee’s Chord Overstreet) and bassist Ian Keaggy, the foursome proved better than their lame group name (c’mon!) performing such breakout 2011 hits as Tonight Tonight and I Like It Like That.
All Night Long
Catch Me/Don’t Forget
My Love Is Like A Star
Fix A Heart
How To Love (Lil Wayne cover)
Who’s That Boy
You’re My Only Shorty
Here We Go Again/La La Land
Turn Up the Music (Chris Brown cover)
Give Your Heart A Break