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Concert review: Ke$ha in Utah

Published February 19, 2011 12:09 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

While the concert wasn't bad enough to make Ke$ha fans demand their $$$ back, the first Utah show of the 23-year-old dance-pop princess was an unsatisfying Friday girls-night-out.Ke$ha, who is a style-conscious hybrid of singer and rapper who sounds like a Valley Girl, had neither the stage presence nor the charisma to captivate the audience's entire attention, though it wasn't entirely her fault. Once again, the venue Saltair turned the evening into a frustration from beginning to end.But first off. there is Ke$ha. She is good-looking blonde with a penchant for glittery outfits that show a lot of skin, which kept at least some of the guys' attention. (The packed venue was mostly stocked with teenage girls.) The set featured many vertical and horizontal metallic beams that essentially divided the backdrop into four sections, Brady-Bunch style. In the middle was a diamond, and it was inside this tight pararellogram where the singer spent the first four songs inside of.Luckily, by the time of the fifth song, she escaped the diamond and came onstage with several back-up dancers who weren't required to do any intricate choreography. It looked as if the only live instrumentation was a guitarist and a drummer, though most of the dance music is synthesized. (A keytar was spotted at one point, distressingly.)It was when Ke$ha was free on stage that she was most appealing. Her best songs are dance-floor anthems such as "Your Love is My Drug" and "TiK ToK," where her man-devouring lyrics show a personality that isn't cookie-cutter. It isn't merely a girl power that she exhibits that her teenage fans adore; it is a girl dictatorship.But there were missteps throughout her 80-minute set, and not just limited to the childish human-sized pear and human-sized penis that danced clumsily onstage during "Grow a Pear." Ke$ha has so far released only one album and one EP, and her material features a lot of mid-tempo clunkers that evaporated any momentum and made the middle third of the show as danceable as a Lawrence Welk ballad.The limitations of Saltair were readily apparent from the get-go, with a 25-minute-long traffic jam that began more than one half-mile from the highway off-ramp. One road into Saltair ensures a bad experience even before you enter the parking lot.Once inside, the concessions booths are understaffed, and the line for the women's restroom at one point spanned the entire width of the rectangular venue.Worst of all, the stage is too low. I am five-feet-and-ten-inches when I don't slouch, and I still had problems seeing what was happening on stage. Anyone shorter than 65 inches simply cannot see the action at all. Add this to many of the teenagers holding their camera-phones above their heads, and others sitting on their boyfriends' shoulders, and you might as well sit on the floor, because your vantage point will be about the same.And don't even try to get near to the stage. The crush of bodies, heavy perfume and body odor made it impossible to breathe, let alone dance.At its best, it was a dance party that at least had plenty of songs that its fans knew and sang along to. At its worst you felt like a Santa Claus who for some reason wandered on the Saltair stage Friday night for no apparent reason. You weren't sure why he — or you, for that matter — was there.