3Arena, Dublin ★★★★✩
POP powerhouse Demi Lovato brought a lump to the throat and a tear to the eye as she kicked off the latest leg of her world tour with a soul-baring performance.
Proving herself more than just another chart princess, Lovato spoke honestly about her bipolar disorder and her difficult relationship with her mentally ill dad.
Seated at a piano shortly before the encore, the 25-year-old from New Mexico told the audience that since his death the anger she felt towards him had blossomed into love. This was by way of introducing Father, a belter that plucked unashamedly at the heartstrings.
‘My show isn’t about changing costumes and dancing,’ she said. ‘I put my everything into it.’
The one-time Disney Channel star was true to her word. The booming Warrior confronted internet bullying, of which she has suffered her share.
And her 2017 roof-raiser Tell Me You Love Me was elevated into a heart-on-sleeve epic with assistance from a local university choir, visibly chuffed to be sharing the stage with pop royalty.
The evening wasn’t all slow and serious. Solo, her new collaboration with Clean Bandit, delivered perky thrills and showcased her force-of-nature vocals. Cool For The Summer, meanwhile, was the equivalent of splashing in a fountain on a hot day. ‘I just wanna play with you… I just wanna have some fun with you,’ she teased as she suggestively cuddled one of her female dancers.
The phwoar factor soared further on Lonely, with Lovato cavorting on a bed flanked by male hoofers with exposed torsos. It was slinky and sensual — a splash of spice before the emotional hurricane that was to come as she wheeled out her big ballads and wrestled her demons.