Wednesday 11 December 2019

Review - R&B: Jason Derulo at the O2 in Dublin

Jason Derulo
Jason Derulo
Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

"Keep calm and talk dirty to me," pleads a Jason Derulo T-shirt slogan in the exact same font as the famous motivational poster. It is all yours for €20 at the merchandise stall.

A pair of hot pants emblazoned with "Marry Me" will set you back €15, while an almost identical pair in fetching pink with "talk dirty to me" costs an extra fiver.

The Miami-born pop star has seemingly got the art of flogging souvenirs down to a fine art. Signed CDs retail for €20. There are signs all over the O2 directing you to the nearest merch outlet.

The tactic neatly nails the best way to make money out of music in 2014, which is basically to tour your ass off and never miss an opportunity to flog your brand.

Derulo cuts a suitably striking figure as he cavorts around the stage showing off his torso and crooning his way through a high-octane set of pop, R&B, dance and even a brief flash of dubstep.

His presence elicits some of the loudest screaming I've ever heard at a pop concert. He actively encourages such shrill shrieking, exhorting the crowd to "scream so loud that they can hear you in London". My ears still haven't recovered.

In an age when Beyoncé and Rihanna source the very best live musicians they can get, Derulo, resorts to the simpler format of a single accompanist perched behind a bank of keyboards and machines. He more than compensates for the lack of musicians in the dancing department, as a small army of choreographed talent bring his raunchy R&B to life.

Some lucky ladies get a chance to sit on Derulo and his dancers' backs while they perform an impressive 10 push ups. You clearly have to be as fit as a fiddle to audition for Derulo's road show.

There is a smattering of cover versions including a fine take of Lorde's 'Royals' and even a weird blast of an electrified 'Seven Nation Army' by the White Stripes. Derulo changes his outfit a few times, but generally the recurring theme tends to be about accentuating his pecks.

Derulo's physically demanding live show is all the more impressive when you consider that he was nearly paralyzed in a severe life-threatening accident in 2012. He has since said that the incident served as a wake up call and he has stopped drinking every day, which surely a lot of artists do to wind down after a show or a long session in the studio.

It appears to have given Derulo focus and a new found appreciation for life's fragile brevity.

Jason Derulo has come a long way from opening for Lady Gaga in 2009. On tonight's evidence, the sky's the limit.

Irish Independent

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