Selena Gomez At The Air Canada Centre

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By Nick Krewen
Toronto

If she is indeed taking an extended hiatus from music to pursue her acting career as she claims, Selena Gomez's Stars Dance Tour 2013 is leaving her fans with a taste of what to expect when she eventually returns.

On Aug. 24 at Toronto's Air Canada Centre before an estimated crowd of 11,000 fans — many of whom were in the single digit age range and looked up to the wholesome singer/songwriter as a role model — Gomez proved herself to be an adept entertainer gifted with the similar skill sets of her peers: host, vocalist, dancer, and the ability to develop a thematic concept for an audience.

In this case, the video sequences that glued the show together and allowed Gomez to change costumes in between songs — there were a total of five costume changes  — were based on our heroine falling asleep on her desk on a map of stars, and engaging in a dream sequence during which she chose different white doors that led to different opportunities.

Donning a midriff-baring white embellished top and same-colored bell bottomed pants, with an eight-member dance troupe and a six-piece band in tow (the tour and her latest album mark her first without backing band the Scene), the 21-year-old pop princess led her entourage through a history that began with "Bang Bang Bang" and "Round & Round" from her earlier days with the Scene, and continued with "Like A Champion," from her latest, and more "adult" album, Stars Dance. Additional high points of the night included Gomez's performance of her Top 40 hits "Love You Like A Love Song," "Naturally" and "Who Says," as well as a spirited medley featuring Priscilla Ahn's "Dream" and New Zealand vocalist Lorde's recent hit "Royals."

Gomez's 18-song set was a friendly mix of romantic dance/pop, driving rhythms and earnest balladry. She often used the S-shaped stage that extended into the first 10 rows of the venue to visit her fans and high-five members of her adoring crowd as she sang and strutted around the ramp. Taking the time to address the crowd and imploring them to believe in themselves and never change were just some of the positive messages Gomez provided throughout the night.  

After closing her set with the 2010 Top 40 hit "A Year Without Rain," Gomez reemerged for an encore that featured the hits "Come & Get It" and "Slow It Down," the former of which garnered an MTV Video Music Award for Best Pop Video on Aug. 25.

Set List:

"Bang Bang Bang"
"Round & Round"
"Like A Champion"
"B.E.A.T."
"Stars Dance"
"Write Your Name"
"Birthday"
"Love You Like A Love Song"
"Love Will Remember"
"Dream"/"Royals" (Priscilla Ahn and Lorde covers)
"Who Says"
"Whiplash"
"Naturally"
"Undercover"
"Save The Day"
"A Year Without Rain"

Encore
"Come & Get It"
"Slow Down"

To catch Selena Gomez in a city near you, click here for tour dates.

(Nick Krewen is the Toronto-based co-author of Music from Far and Wide: Celebrating Forty Years of the Juno Awards, a contributor to The Routledge Film Music Sourcebook and has written for The Toronto StarTV GuideBillboardCountry Music. He was a consultant for the National Film Board's music industry documentary Dream Machine.)

 

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