When I was in high school, my friends and I listened to Kesha a lot. Frequently, I’d mention that she would be one of the few pop artists I’d love the chance to see live. Little did I know that about a decade later I would be fulfilling that wish.
As I got ready for her performance at Mystic Lake and was putting on my makeup, I questioned whether my highlight was too blinding, then remembered that too much sparkle couldn’t possibly be an issue at a Kesha concert (and even put a little extra on after that). As I arrived and saw fans decked out in glitter from head to toe, I knew I had made the right choice.
The attire of those in attendance gave me hope that the Kesha concert I had imagined years ago wouldn’t be too far off from the one I was about to experience (though I’ll admit to feeling bad for whoever has to vacuum up the aftermath).
After Kesha came forward about the abuse from her old producer and began opening up about her experiences, her sound changed. I’ll admit I didn’t stay up to date with her after that.
With her new image, I was unsure of what to expect from a live show in the now, and could only hope that some of my old favorites could still be played despite the bitter taste left by that area of her career.
Despite her past traumas, I knew that with her upbeat tunes, high energy, and the promise of leaving fans engulfed in glitter, she’d be sure to bring an incredible live performance.
With the show set to begin at 8 PM, I was unsure if there would be an opener. I looked to the stage for any clue, though all I could see was a strange-looking spaceship-tipi hybrid at the center. Not much help. All I could do was wait and find out along with everyone else.
The lights went out at 8:22 PM. The bad news was that it started later than I had anticipated, the good news is that Kesha took the stage without an opener. (Score!)
As the stage began to fill with dancers and instrumentalists dressed in white suits, the anticipation in the room began to build. Soon, Kesha emerged from the spaceship and broke into “Woman,” her women-empowerment anthem.
As the song came to a close, Kesha asked if there were any “bad a** mother f*ckers” in the building. All 5′ 3” of me enthusiastically threw my hands up in the air in solidarity and agreement, as “Woman” tends to bring that strength out of a person.
After a few more songs, Kesha’s genuine side really came through, as she took the time to sign artifacts and take selfies with those in the front row. She also accepted a ridiculous amount of gifts from them. She even pulled out a pillow with a cat printed on it (which I’m assuming is photo of her actual pet) and introduced everyone to “Mr. Pukes.”
Soon after, she dedicated “We R Who We R” to the LGBT community, and dove right into another classic favorite.
Once the song died down, Kesha ran off stage for a wardrobe change and I was left to reflect on what I’d seen so far. I genuinely forgot how many upbeat and fun songs Kesha has. What have I been doing? Why did I grow up?
After too long of an instrumental and some jarring videos of some creepy pigs setting stuff on fire, Kesha returned to the stage and kept the momentum up. At one point, the venue asked people to move back to their ticketed seats for fire safety reasons and Kesha argued against them so fans could stay up close and enjoy the moment.
At this point in the night, Kesha played a few newer songs that I didn’t know, including “Bastards” and “Rainbow.” During these songs, I reflected on the old controversy that Kesha “couldn’t sing” and that she relied on too much om autotune. To those who still believe in that lie – listen to “Rainbow” to quickly be proven wrong.
One of my favorite parts of the nights occurred during one of my least favorite songs in the set, “Timber.” Kesha had a great way of reinventing the song that originally belonged to Pitbull and featured her. She gave her microphone to fans in the crowd and let them sing his part. This was also the part of the show where I realized that Kesha can absolutely shred on the guitar.
Kesha left the stage and those creepy pigs came up on the screen again, but this time it featured Kesha in a crown near the fire like Daneyreys Targarian – cool. She played a few more favorites than told the fans, “This is our last song… secretly it’s not – it’s like one of those pretend last songs.” Then she broke into“Blow” – complete with confetti cannons and a giant LED confetti hose.
After one more outfit change, Kesha came back to play a few more songs (like we all knew she would). Of course, the night could not be complete without “TiK ToK” (and no, not the cringy Gen Z app).
Back in the day, my friends had a dance they made up to this song and we all learned it. “TiK ToK” was absolutely iconic and I’ll admit that I waited all night for this song, but honestly this is the part of the show where I got a little sad.
Don’t get me wrong, going to see Kesha as part of my job was a definite perk, but as I danced to my old favorites, I couldn’t help but look around and envy those experiencing this moment with their friends. It was hard not to picture the old high school gang by my side and long for a sugar high.
Kesha holds a nostalgic place in my heart when I think about partying with my friends all those years ago. (And by partying, I mean slamming Monsters and inhaling Doritos in my friend’s basement while Kesha plays in the background and a few people shred Guitar Hero II in the corner – you know what I mean.)
It seemed true enough that the nostalgic bliss held true for all those in attendance as well.
Blah Blah Blah
We R Who We R
Your Love Is My Drug
Take It Off