Music Review: Miley Cyrus concert at The O2, Dublin
Miley Cyrus makes trying too hard feel like an art-form. There's naughty dancing of course – she will eventually have to come to terms with the fact that the first line of her obituary will contain the word 'twerk' – but that's just the start of the high-octane neediness. On her latest tour, a midpoint acoustic section finds her attempting to put manners on The Smiths' 'There Is A Light That Never Goes Out' (even non-Moz disciples will be appalled).
Later, she mounts a giant inflatable hot-dog and soars around the O2, wisecracking about the size of her 'wiener'.
For all the effort, Cyrus' post-Hannah Montana incarnation has conspicuously failed to yield an actual hit (unless YouTube viewings are now our sole metric for stardom). She's had several near misses – tunes you quasi recognise, a few that seem worthy of investigation (such as the brooding 'Rooting For My Baby'). However, it can't have escaped her that the loudest singalongs are for unplugged tilts at Dolly Parton's 'Jolene' and 'Summertime Sadness' by Lana Del Rey.
As spectacle, the Bangerz show undoubtedly delivers. It begins with Cyrus swooshing into view on a 'tongue slide', wearing a barely-there halter top festooned in rhinestone and Rolling Stones 'lips' motif. Subsequent set pieces include a three-storey plastic pooch, Cyrus (right) cavorting on a gold jeep in a dollar-bill skirt and synchronised hoofing from dancers in teddy bear costumes.
With the concert short of a sell-out, the endless pyrotechnics are surely impacting on her bottom-line and questions must be raised about the ultimate objective of the endeavour. Is it to progress her career? Or simply to take a wrecking ball to the cult of Hannah Montana? You wonder, too, whether the parents who brought their pre-adolescent children appreciate the video interlude in which a three-quarters nude Cyrus writhes and wobbles, careful positioned sticky tape nominally preserving her modesty.
In a venue garlanded with multi-coloured balloons of the sort you might find at a children's birthday party, Cyrus resembles the world's naughtiest Barbie doll. Alas, the fusillade of shock tactics is unconvincing – as with her notorious twerking encounter with Robin Thicke at an MTV awards ceremony, Cyrus' waggling of tum and bum feels like a plea for attention rather than confident provocation.
Famous since the age of 12, at 21 Cyrus is visibly wrestling with who she is and what she wants from life. It will make for a great behind-the-scenes documentary one day. As pop entertainment, it comes off as over-heated and a little desperate.