- Live Review
- 07 Feb 23
The energy-fulled Canadian pop superstar kickstarted her UK & Ireland 'So Nice' tour on Saturday with two sold out nights at the Dame Street venue.
It's been a hot minute since Carly Rae Jepsen graced Ireland with her presence, but we're overjoyed to have her back in town.
Performing two sold out nights at Dublin's 3Olympia Theatre with all the peppy enthusiasm and professionalism you'd expect from a pop connoisseur, the 37-year-old appeared carefree throughout the colourful, fun-filled event which saw her blast through a career-spanning setlist.
Initially finding an acoustic folk debut in 2008 with 'Tug of War', Jepsen was more widely introduced to audiences through the Grammy-nominated album Kiss, which included smash single and viral hit 'Call Me Maybe' and Good Time' with Owl City. Since 2012's breakout, the Canadian has partially avoided the mainstream and found herself a darling of the indie-pop, disco and synth-pop scenes. Welcomed with open arms by the queer community in particular, the musician's third and fourth albums, Emotion (2015) and Dedicated (2019) are chock full of '80s-driven bangers.
Her exceptional sixth album, The Loneliest Time - released last October - looks to culminate every facet of a 15-year career. "I’m quite fascinated by loneliness. It can be really beautiful when you turn it over and look at it. Just like love, it can cause some extreme human reactions," Jepsen tweeted at the time of the LP's announcement. The 'So Nice' tour combines Dedicated's sister albums, with her Irish dates providing the start of the tour leg around these parts.
The star of the show was supported in Dublin by French singer-songwriter Lewis Ofman (Lewis Delhomme). Fresh off the release of his debut album, Sonic Poems (2022), and a high-profile Carly Rae Jepsen collaboration ('Move Me') - the young producer has quickly emerged as one of the year's breakout talents with a brand of synth-pop that's upbeat, fun and complex without being overthought or inaccessible.
Incorporating elements of French touch, classic house and Italian disco, with hints of drum 'n' bass, OfMan's varied sounds are full of bouncy bass lines, bright cheery chords and winding melodies. Brands like Versace, Gucci, Nike, Diptyque, Kitsuné and J Weston are all hopping on the Lewis Ofman fan train, utilising his music as part of their campaigns.
Getting the crowd warmed up and ready for a dance party, Ofman does his job in style. It won't be the last we see of him tonight, as Jepsen invites him back onstage in Act 2 to give 'Move Me' its live debut.
With a sleek lights show in place, the room goes dark at 9pm on the button before Carly Rae ascends to the top of the staircase. Dressed in a daring, red glossy PVC dress (Valentine's Day is right around the corner, after all), Jepsen's blonde hair couldn't be more different to the brunette look many associated her with when 'Call Me Maybe' arrived with a bang.
Opening with 'Surrender My Heart', it's a glamorous opening to her set. The singer returned to Broadway in the vibrant video for the song, filmed in partnership with Lenovo and Intel and directed by Brantley Guiterrez. The clip showcased Jepsen preparing for and then putting on a staged show, with 30 Rock's Jane Krakowski playing the director.
'Summer Love' is next up before a surprise third track selection: fan favourite, 'Run Away With Me'. Many in the crowd acknowledge the "boldness" of choice, featuring colourful confetti canons 10 minutes in. Why not celebrate early? The audience know every word to the electro-pop anthem, which initially arrived in 2015 with Emotion. It marked a turning point in her sound, inviting in a more dance-focused hybrid fanbase while retaining her vulnerable, universally relatable lyricism.
'Talking to Yourself', 'Too Much' and 'Julien' continue down the love song route Carly Rae adores to traipse down - and it's what we adore her for. Consistently wearing her heart on her sleeve, the musician moves around the stage with ease, refusing to stop between songs even for a moment. How is this woman staying hydrated? It's a mystery.
She delivers 'Bends' in a live debut, before the gorgeously dreamy 'Western Wind'. Her vocals sound pitch perfect the entire night, blending earthly piano and synths with gentle percussion. 'Bad Thing Twice' is also sung for the first time on the tour, with Jepsen visibly excited to see how each Loneliest Time track is received by fans. In a word: rapturously.
"Is it my, is it my destiny? / I wanna do a bad thing twice / A critical, critical test to mе," she sings, confessing her habit of repeating mistakes in relationships and attraction. Working with her band of longtime collaborators, she seemed downright delighted, beaming at the musicians as she gave notes after each meticulous run-through.
Her attention to detail has helped build her a devoted fanbase ready to make memes of her every move, and a critical darling. An underdog following her 2012 No.1, her songwriting is second to none - as shown by her penmanship with collaborators. There's no one like Jepsen in terms of locating a melodic sweet spot.
'Emotion' gets deafening screams from the audience, who are predominantly young and wonderfully diverse in gender. The baritone voices belting out the lyrics over 80s synths are near-comical, proving it's not boyfriends dragged to a pop show: "In your fantasy, dream about me / And all that we could do with this emotion." Always feelgood, Jepsen is a force of nature, beaming at the crowd non-stop.
'Favourite Colour' precedes 'Call Me Maybe', which leaves a ringing in my ears after the sheer wall of noise. The opening chords to the addictive banger gets the deserved reaction, with Carly Rae seemingly having as much fun as she was in 2012 with the hit. 'Stay Away' and 'For Sure' complete Act 1, before she undergoes a quick outfit change - and presumably gets a chug of water. Seriously, is she not tired?
Act 2 opens with 'So Nice', a saccharine track praising healthy compassion in a partner, before the "very forward part of the set" arrives with 'I Really Like You' and 'Want You in My Room'. Her frankness and candour mingled with infectious choruses win over any doubters, as does the live debut of 'Shooting Star'.
2019 b-side 'Now That I Found You' traces the high you get when a new love starts to change your life, while 'Go Find Yourself of Whatever' brings the tempo down to an intimate portion of the set. Accompanied by acoustic guitar (and wind machines), Jepsen sits down for the performance, infusing country and folk into the simple but raw number.
"You feel safe in sorrow / You feel safe on an open road / Go find yourself or whatever / And I wake up alone, you made me vulnerable," she belts to a receptive crowd. Her vocals sound untouchable, and the change of pace is welcome. Tongue-in-cheek, satirical single 'Beach House' kicks up the speedometer, acting as an ode to the struggles of modern dating.
Describing a catastrophic period in her dating life, the hilarious song jumps from boy to boy as they state: "I've got a beach house in Malibu / And I'm probably gonna hurt your feelings" (or harvest your organs). 'When I Needed You' finishes off Act 2 in style before the expected chants of "Olé, Olé, Olé" ring around the venue.
The three-song encore cements the pop status of the evening, and her penchant for lustful romance tracks that somehow always retain a sweetness. 'I Didn't Just Come Here To Dance' is a flirty highlight, before Rufus Wainwright collaboration and album title track 'The Loneliest Time' brings it all home. It's a standout of the night, especially when Jepsen belts out the now-viral bridge moment: "What happened was / We reached the moon / But lost in space, I think we got there all too soon / But you know what / I'm coming back for you, baby / I'm coming back for you!" (The "I'M COMING BACK FOR YOU" screeches from the crowd were beyond impressive.
Finally, it's time for 'Cut to the Feeling'. Soaring vocals, spine-tingling synths and an audience dancing in unison; the chants of "I wanna cut to the clouds, break the ceiling / I wanna dance on the roof, you and me alone," in the chorus must be one of the noisiest on the entire tour.
The earworm aficionado (and 2007 Canadian Idol winner) ran through 26 songs in just under two hours time, proving why she's an underrated Queen of Pop and staple of the queer community in particular.
Running the gambit of emotions and themes, centred around life as a free spirited young woman trying to find success and love in today’s world; Carly Rae Jepsen's So Nice Tour is a rollercoaster of pure joy and wholesome devotion to pop. We hope she never stops.
Listen to The Loneliest Time below.
- Live Review
- 11 Sep 23