When I first listened to Selena Gomez’s latest album, I wondered how the material would sit with fans.
The American pop star, who spent her earlier years in the music industry churning out bouncy pop tunes like Who Says, Naturally and A Year Without Rain with her then-band Selena Gomez And The Scene, slowed things down quite a bit in her second solo effort Revival.
(Gomez released three albums with Selena Gomez And The Scene before branching out as a solo artiste in 2013.)
The 24-year-old singer has grown up. Not only did she have to navigate that often confusing, self-identification time in one’s life that is young adulthood, Gomez had to think about how she was going to move on from her Disney image (she led the cast of Disney Channel’s Wizards Of Waverly Place for four seasons).
She also had a very public six-year on-and-off relationship with fellow pop superstar Justin Bieber and all the emotions that comes with it to unload.
Perhaps that’s why Revival saw a more melancholic and reflective Gomez with most of the album comprising slow and mid-tempo tunes.
As such, how would her fans, nicknamed Selenators, who are used to her repertoire of uptempo, danceable hits, receive the new material?
If the audience’s reaction during her concert in Shah Alam, Selangor was anything to go by, Gomez has nothing to worry about.
Some 4,000 fans screamed when Gomez kicked off her concert, which is her second stop in the Asian-leg of the Revival world tour, as part of an effort to promote her new album, around 9pm.
The audience lapped up both her new songs and old favourites. Uptempo crowd pleasers like Who Says, Slow Down and Love You Like A Love Song definitely got the crowd grooving along. Gomez also got the crowd snapping their fingers to Hands To Myself.
While the beats kept thumping through the 70-minute set, she also made room for quieter moments such as during her performance of lesser-known new tracks Sober and Nobody which held the audience in rapt attention.
Gomez even got a bit pensive, giving a contemplative speech midway through the show. “After the first show a few days ago, I kind of had this moment where I want to always be who I am with you guys, I never want to feel like I’m not being 100% with you. There are things that I keep to myself for sure,” she shares.
“But when it comes to my music, especially with this album, I really wanted it to be something that came from my heart, that I experienced, that I felt. And all I ever want to promise to you guys right now is that I will always tell you the truth and I will always be grateful to you guys.”
We’re not sure what the singer is referring to here. Perhaps time will tell.
This comes after the singer posted a soul-baring but also rather vague message on Instagram after her show in Jakarta last weekend, stating: “I need to rethink some areas of my life.”
When it comes to her vocal performance, although Gomez is no Mariah Carey, she proved during the concert that she had a breathy, smoky tone that is unique.
However, there were times where I couldn’t really make out what Gomez was singing. I wished the accompanying music was dialled down a notch as they overpowered her vocals especially during Good For You.
All eyes were certainly on what the singer wore for the night. Last week, PAS Youth dakwah committee chairman Hafez Sabri called for the concert to be cancelled as Gomez’s sexy appearance would tarnish the sanctity of the month of Syawal.
Her first number was a black long-sleeved top matched with long, flowy pants. Gomez was clad in a similar all-black ensemble throughout the rest of the evening, accesorised by a sparkly denim jacket or a red-and-black plaid shirt tied around her waist.
With the exception of her second outfit – she wore a silver sequinned spaghetti-strapped dress – which to some may come across as rather revealing, all in all, Gomez did appear more modestly-dressed compared to other stops of her world tour.
Ultimately, the concert is proof that her Disney days are long gone, that she has grown up and Gomez is defining herself as an artiste and as an individual in her own terms.