Carly Rae Jepsen is not who you think she is.
The fully-evolved pop queen took up residence and commandeered the Showbox stage for a 90-minute-long set on Monday night in Seattle. Middle-aged men and millennials danced as Jepsen performed “Run Away With Me” and “Making The Most of The Night”, two of the most popular tracks from her second and latest album, E•MO•TION. The record received widespread praise, stretching from The New York Times to Complex, and launched Jepsen into her 32-stop Gimme Love Tour.
Fresh off of a memorable Grease: Live performance, Jepsen was every bit theatrical as she rolled through her set. In between doling out anecdotal sentimentalities and thanking the audience for coming to spend time with her, she made time for both a costume change and indulged the crowd with a nostalgic performance of “This Kiss”. Jepsen’s audience is nearly as paradoxical as she is, as was noted by an audience member with a neck tattoo who echoed every lyric back to her in perfect time.
Throughout the show, Jepsen basked in the gleam of strobe lights, carrying herself with an air of practiced authenticity that would make Taylor Swift jealous. Before launching into “Love Again”, Jepsen artfully recalled the moment she met her lifelong best friend before dedicating the song to her, saying, “someone somewhere out there is breathing for you.” As if her perfectly paced performance hadn’t made enough of an impression, her overt genuineness was enough to make anyone cry and dance at the same time.
After introducing the audience to what it felt like to move to a new city with “LA Hallucinations”, Jepsen stepped into a short aside about a phone interview she had earlier in the day, and how the person on the other end of the line asked her which song she performed most often. The audience let out a communal laugh, revealing that they knew what was coming. As the initial violin sighs of “Call Me Maybe” breathed through the speakers, the venue’s floorboards seemed to brace themselves for the weight of a jumping crowd.
As the song came to an end, Jepsen held the microphone toward the crowd and smiled her signature Cheshire cat grin. No longer a coy songstress asking a love interest to make the first move, Jepsen knows she doesn’t have to wait for anyone and isn’t taking “no” for an answer.
This review previously appeared on KSPU.org’s blog.