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Sunday, Dec 21, 2014
Arts & Music

Miley: Provocative 'Bangerz' tour about being carefree

BY ED CONDRAN
Tribune correspondent

Published:

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No pop star has morphed like Miley Cyrus over recent years. A half-decade ago Cyrus, who was working the Hannah Montana persona then, dedicated a song to her grandpa during her wildly successful “Wonder World” tour.

Don't count on such sweet gestures from Cyrus during her “Bangerz” tour, which stops Thursday at the Forum in Tampa. It's just a guess, but the odds are that her grandpa might have some issues with the suggestive, to put it Miley, er mildly, and scantily clad singer, unless he's an exceptionally liberal dude.

The poster girl for twerking, who is the most sexually provocative performer on the road, with apologies to Lady Gaga, will blitz fans with stimuli. Expect an array of visuals, endless costume changes and a bunch of songs from “Bangerz,” and some choice covers thrown in for good measure at the Forum.

“My goal was just to keep (the concert) really fun,” Cyrus said during a recent teleconference. “It's about being fun and carefree. That's what the show represents.”

Cyrus stressed that she would mix up the set, which is laudable since most big productions are the same in every town. “Every show is going to be different,” Cyrus said. “I don't want to rehearse too much because that will take the fun out of it.”

The daring pop star has been good to her word. She has mixed up the set list. Cyrus earns points for her covers, which range from a killer version of Dolly Parton's “Jolene” to an inspired take on the under-heralded “Summertime Sadness,” which was only released in 2012 by the sultry Lana Del Ray, who is subtle in terms of sexiness, at least compared to Billy Ray Cyrus's daughter.

Cyrus should be lauded for her good instincts. She knows how to pick songs and how to manipulate fans, the industry and the media. Contemporary provocateurs are in short supply. Say what you will about the tongue wagging diva. Cyrus knows how to work it, as well as twerk it.

Part of the audience's evening of entertainment is self-deprecating humor by the never-too-serious Cyrus. “I'm not a person who has a hard time making fun of myself,” Cyrus said. “So the whole thing of making (fun of) the way people perceive me, doing that even more and making kind of a caricature of myself. It's fun to do that.”

Cyrus says that her acoustic set will be free form. She claims that the length of it will depend on the audience. And who gives stuff away at concerts these days? The benevolent Cyrus will reward fans, who spend filthy lucre on her tickets.

“Stuff will be falling from the sky,” Cyrus said. Prepare for some sort of space junk, possibly some expensive merchandise. That's just fine with the generous Cyrus.

“I've already made the money that I need to make,” Cyrus said. “My priority is making sure the fans get the show they deserve.”

Part of the appeal is that Cyrus' show will be just that, a show. Those sort of events are in short supply these days. Cyrus loves to titillate, and there's plenty of room for that in this age of bland live performance. Cyrus will go out on a wire perhaps clad in a swimsuit and a mink coat. The stylish Cyrus dresses to impress and will stop at nothing to entertain.

“Let's have fun,” Cyrus said. “That's a good thing.”

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