IMG_3848-10-bannerMiley Cyrus in The O2, Dublin, 20th May 2014

The tongue-wagging, butt-twerking, controversy-attracting show that is the Miley Cyrus ‘Bangerz’ show exploded in Dublin tonight, and er… it was quite the spectacle.

Before the carnival kicks off, though, Sky Ferreira provides support with some happily catchy, up-beat tunes – energetically executed and performed wonderfully. Memorable hooks and stunning vocals characterise her songs, which flit between synth-enriched soundscapes such as I Blame Myself and piercing guitar riffs like those on Heavy Metal Heart. The sound is a bit off, with the kick drum in particular pounding far too loud, but Ferreira’s voice demands the listener’s attention, and that’s all that matters.

Miley herself emerges out of a giant image of her head on top of a tongue-slide and this is just the start of what is an insanely wacky show. “Strutting my stuff” she croons on SMS (Bangerz), and indeed there is quite a lot of ‘stuff’ being strutted out in her revealing outfits. A dwarf and giant dancers accompany Ms Cyrus onstage as she grinds on a blow-up doll and waves about an inflatable banana. The only appropriate response is to look on in open-mouthed awe.

4×4 sees the appearance of an outfit made of dollars, a gold jeep and even more incredibly sexualised dancing. The songs themselves are mildly catchy with appealing synth lines and Cyrus’ stunning vocals shining through everything she does. My Darlin ushers in a set of tunes that fit into a more classic pop template, with Cyrus really belting out the choruses with passion. Rooting For My Baby is a delightful pop number that stands out among the other ‘twerk-pop’ tunes exhibited tonight, resonating with its emotion and sincerity, proving Cyrus isn’t all about the skimpy outfits.

Do My Thang sees Miley returning to her twerktastic best (or worst) with some kind of strange hoedown routine happening in the middle of the stage. The main talking point in this tune comes at the end of the track, where Miley asks the audience to play a game of of ‘Can you be sluttier than America’ and proceeds to spit water into the crowd. Of all the bizarre and ridiculous things that Miley does this evening, this is almost certainly the most disgusting and bewildering.

At this stage Miley is being so outrageous that the appearance of a giant dog with laser eyes isn’t even surprising. We’ve learned to expect the unexpected. Cyrus returns in a pair of crotchless pants for Can’t Be Tamed which is just another item to add to the rapidly expanding list of insane, borderline scary antics she provides this evening. With the shock factor beginning to wane slightly, a mid-set blip ensues, and Drive in particular is a dull, forgettable track.

Just as interest in Miley begins to fade, she mixes it right up, and settles down in a more reasonable costume with a live acoustic band for a set of three covers. Summertime Sadness is an acceptable interpretation, showcasing Cyrus’ voice, but perhaps lacking the intensity of the original. Next comes The Smiths classic There Is A Light That Never Goes Out, and Miley meekly drawls her way through this iconic track, and only when she opens up her voice and belts out the words does the song come anywhere near tolerable. The only semi-good thing to emerge from this monstrosity of a cover is that perhaps a whole hoard of 15 year old girls may go home and and fall in love with The Smiths’ version. Maybe. Miley goes some way to redeeming herself on Jolene, with an appealing country lilt creeping into her voice. The arrangement is tight, and this performance is one of tonight’s best.

We move on to hip-hop Miley now, and 23 is where she really disappoints. The girl can’t rap, and this tune falls flat, cutting short the refreshing acoustic session that was showing a more delicate side to Cyrus. Someone Else is closer to familiar territory for Cyrus, and just as we think we’ve seen everything from the girl, she pulls off another dramatic act of pure madness. She mounts a giant hot dog that proceeds to fly around the venue. Yes, really, a giant hotdog. That flies. Wow. One can only gape as she glides offstage as the music rises to a heroic crescendo.

Wrecking Ball and We Can’t Stop feature in the encore, and while you may say what you like about Miley, about how she parades herself in front of her young audience, there is no arguing that these are two top-notch pop tunes. Wrecking Ball in particular, with its dramatic dynamic changes, is stunning. Party In The USA finally brings an end to this enthralling spectacle. An obscene amount of confetti showers performers dressed up as American landmarks, while the manic Cyrus remains as energetic as ever, descending out of sight waving and swearing.

Miley Cyrus shocks, appalls and delights in equal measure, and though you may point out her casual swearing and suggestive costumes and dancing as a negative influence on her young audience; you have to admire her gall for pulling it all off. As for her music, she covers a broad spectrum of genres from pop to indie and hip-hop to country; some of which work, some of which flop badly. Ultimately Cyrus showcases her amazing vocals and, whether you want to or not, she put on a show that will not be easily forgotten.


Miley Cyrus Photo Gallery

Photos: Kieran Frost