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Gimmie Love, Carly Rae Jepsen

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Illuminated smartphones and cameras were held up by frenzied tweens and teenagers who were eagerly waiting for the Canadian singer and songwriter to come onstage. It was evident that these fans did not care how loud, boisterous or excited they were.

When Carly Rae Jepsen walked onstage with her bandmates to greet the audience, grinning with gratitude from the uproarious applause, cheers and the occasional “Slay me, Carly!”, she did not need a pretentious or theatrical entrance, humbly advancing to her microphone stand with glee. Her appearance was further hyped by opening acts Cardiknox and Fairground Saints.

Jepsen visited the Upstate Concert Hall on March 22 in Clifton Park as part of her “Gimmie Love Tour,” promoting her third studio album “Emotion” which came out late last summer. She sported a mustard yellow blazer, matching yellow dress pants, a black shirt with faint white stripes, a simple necklace and black-and-white thick soled shoes.

With her rebellious black bob and post-modern sense of style, this petite 30-year-old displayed impressive vocals and frequently interacted with her fans, dropping down to take selfies, beckoning people to sing some lyrics by presenting her mic to their enthusiastic faces, and winking at others.

Opening her concert with “Run Away with Me,” the album’s saxophone-infused power pop second single, she invited her fans to forget about their troubles and enjoy the night, a theme she continued with “Making the Most of the Night” and “Good Time,” her 2012 top 10 summer hit with electronica group Owl City.

Her album-namesake song, “Emotion,” further showcased Jepsen’s quirky disposition, while her guitarists and drummers helped to elevate the song’s pop production. As she continued performing other numbers like “I Didn’t Just Come Here to Dance,” “Boy Problems” and “Love Again” which never ceased to get her fans singing along, even if off-key, a highlight was “This Kiss” which exuded the appropriate amount of cheesiness and romance. As she stood to the side, two of her male guitarists playfully shared a quick and sweet kiss at center stage, eliciting an instant plethora of sharp screams, squeals and supportive applause. The slower, sultry ballad, “All That,” was acclaimed for its 1980s feel and aptly diverted from the largely upbeat set list.

Jepsen’s personal side emerged as she told an anecdote of a past relationship with “When I Needed You,” reminding her audience that they should not change for anyone else. Her message was clear with its lyrics “Sometimes I wish that I could change/But not for me, for you/So we could be together, forever/But I know, I know that I won’t change for you/’Cause where were you for me/When I needed someone?”

Despite some poignant and darker lyrics, she bounced back with her signature optimism and positive nature with “Gimmie Love,” its pulsating bass and overall synth-pop melody breathing new life to the night. Remarking to the eager audience, she sang that “when I’m close to you, we blend into my favourite colour,” gesturing everyone to swing their arms up high and revel in how music united them all that one night.

Her compact appearance and limited dance moves were overlooked because of her remarkable voice, which told her fans that she was confident she didn’t need to rely solely on “Call Me Maybe” to sustain her musical career.

Speaking of which, “Call Me Maybe” obviously garnered the loudest response of the night as everyone knew the lyrics of the song that invaded 2012.

Concluding the hour-and-a-half concert with the teasing and witty single, “I Really Like You,” Jepsen placed a hand over her chest, beaming as her fans cheered and iPhones thrust up to film her simply exit the stage.

With no elaborate dance routines or Lady Gaga-esque theatrics one would expect at a pop concert, Jepsen’s girl-next-door attitude, relatively short build and only one wardrobe change indeed fashioned a sense of intimacy.

Perhaps her “Gimme Love Tour” was not only about promoting her junior album. It gave her fans a private show, its nature heartwarming enough to liven their nights up.

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