Carly Rae Jepsen called on Melbourne – and it was an absolute delight

Carly Rae Jepsen ★★★★
The Forum, March 13

When it comes to Canadian pop star Carly Rae Jepsen, people fall into two camps. The first is made up of those shocked to hear she’s still making music after her 2012 global smash hit Call Me Maybe.

Carly Rae Jepsen performs at the Forum in Melbourne.Credit:Rick Clifford

And then there’s the dedicated contingent who know the truth: that Jepsen’s infectious, bubblegum pop is pure joy to behold. And it was these chosen few who sold out the Forum on Monday night for Jepsen’s second-last Australian show of The So Nice Tour.

In case you were unaware, Jepsen has been consistently dropping records and singles for the past decade. She’s currently promoting The Loneliest Time (2022) but she’s also released Dedicated (2019) and, of course, the unmatched masterpiece Emotion (2015).

During Monday’s show she played over 20 songs from this deep catalogue. Bangers Run Away with Me and Cut to the Feeling had the room jumping, while her new stripped back ballad Go Find Yourself or Whatever provided a moving change of pace during the encore. There were some B-sides and even a choose-your-own-adventure in which the crowd opted to hear Your Type over Cry.

Disco vibes: Light, colour and plenty of sequins complemented Carly Rae Jepsen’s enthusiastic performance.Credit:Rick Clifford

Seeing Jepsen live is a truly jubilant experience. Since selling out the venue in 2019 for what many whisper was one of the last truly great nights in the “before times”, Jepsen seemed once again at home on the Forum stage.

The set-up was fittingly reminiscent of a 1970s disco-variety show with a billowing iridescent curtain backdrop, stairs for strutting and a crest of playful lights serving to complement Jepsen’s beaming and enthusiastic performance.

For all the upbeat brilliance, lyrical majesty and bright vocals, there was a subtle restraint and warmth in Jepsen’s minimal choreography and interactions with her band. And when she lovingly reached for the audience the mutual, palpable adoration was reflected right back onto her sequined mini-dress.

Taking the tour name to heart, the crowd were truly “so nice”, singing along to every word, dancing, swaying, embracing and beaming for the duration of Jepsen’s tight 90-minute set. A couple of sound glitches were drowned out by the outpouring of vocal love from the packed room, and before the show was through Jepsen promised (to paraphrase her viral TikTok snippet) she’s coming back for us, baby.

But until her next tour, whenever that may be, we have the rapturous memories of how over a (long) weekend in Melbourne, for a devoted few, Carly Rae Jepsen turned the world to gold.

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