JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

August 31, 2011
Gexa Energy Pavilion
Dallas, TX USA
Review by David Huff
Photos by Barry Bond

Selena Gomez

The masses arrived in all shapes and sizes braving the sweltering heat. Young, old, moms, dads and just about every age range in be‘tween’ were in attendance this evening to pay homage to singing sensation, Selena Gomez. Yet another product of the Disney Channel pipeline, the 19-year old was bringing her glitzy stage production back home to Texas, where the The Wizards of Waverly Place star was born.

I’ll be honest here. The only Selena I’d ever heard of departed this world way before her time. The fact that this particular performer was named after the slain Latin star was sadly lost on this crowd. But let’s face, tonight was a celebration, and these kids were here to party (well, as much as they possibly could with adult eyes keeping a careful watch). These kids were all excited to see the “older” woman in Justin Bieber’s life strut her stuff live. The anticipation of her arrival kept everyone in the crowd buzzing through the first two acts. Interestingly enough, this was one of those rare events where people-watching was just as entertaining, if not more so, than the actual show would be.

Selena Gomez is one of those rare performers who parents feel comfortable exposing their children to. Of course, when you’re stamped with Disney seal of approval, well, it doesn’t get any family friendlier than that. Without a doubt, this was a great bonding experience for parents and their kids. It was a chance to let their daughters, and a few sons as well, act and dress a little kooky. And believe me, the fashion statements some of Selena’s admirers expressed themselves with were definitely a bit out there. Then again, where else but Texas would you see moms walking about sporting cowboy boots to go with their chic shorts. Yes, this was one of those rare occasions were flip-flops and boots co-existed in complete harmony with one another and no one thought the wiser.

The opening act on this triple bill was 17-year old vocalist Christina Grimmie. Honestly, I really liked this performer. Accompanying herself on piano, she played a tremendous set that unfortunately, was just too adult for this young audience to truly appreciate. When she sang a powerful song like “Liar, Liar”, it went right over the heads of the kids in the crowd. That was too bad. Watching Grimmie on stage, I could understand how this young teen became a YouTube sensation. You’re definitely going to hear more from her in the future. I wouldn’t be surprised if Disney hasn’t got something in the works for her right now.

Speaking of Walt’s company, you couldn’t get away from the powerhouse corporate brand this evening. Everything Mickey was on display for the young at heart to either listen to, or get their pictures taken with. Cell phones were definitely overloading various networks with wireless activity as kids and adults alike, uploaded pictures onto social sites. The merchandise booths were humming with activity as well. The lines were long and deep as parents bought whatever their kids desired. Like I said, Selena Gomez was a great bonding experience for families, and an economic boom to young Ms. Gomez’s bottom line.

All-Star Weekend was the second act to appear on the bill. Yet another Disney product, this San Diego outfit was discovered through a talent competition courtesy of another Walt subsidiary, Radio Disney. The ‘tween’ set definitely loved this Fab Four. They screamed on cue, danced in their seats and in the aisles, and proudly waved signs proclaiming their support during the during the group’s 35-minute set. Was this music disposable pop? Yes. Will All-Star Weekend be remembered by this audience five years from now - highly unlikely. Then again, it didn’t really matter. These musicians were living their dream, fulfilling others, and having a great time doing it.

Selena Gomez started her show at 8:20 sharp. When she appeared on stage, the noise from the crowd was deafening. I was so shocked by the sound, it literally took me back in time 30 years ago to the very first time I saw Rick Springfield perform live at a theater in Dallas. The then soap opera heartthrob was tearing up the charts with his hit single “Jessie’s Girl”. He was flying out on weekends from the General Hospital to perform live around the country. When he appeared on stage, you couldn’t even hear yourself think. Selena was the same way. Let me tell you, these kids had some powerful lungs on them and had no problem exercising them. Selena basked in the afterglow.

I’m probably going to be the odd man out here, but I had a real problem with Selena’s wardrobe choice this evening. For some reason, she felt the need to accentuate her chest and for this crowd, it just seemed wrong. Selena Gomez may have the hot body of a 25-year old, but she’s got the face of a 12-year old. Someone needs to remind this young woman that displaying her assets for all to see isn’t exactly the cool thing to do. It’s tough enough for girls to grow up these days. Selena’s ‘flesh for fantasy’ display on stage made that process even more complicated to say the least.

Selena Gomez performed an assortment of hits from her three albums. It’s a pretty fair statement that most the adults in attendance tonight had little or no idea what any of songs were. For this show, it didn’t matter. This was one of those events you simply did not say no when your child, specifically your daughter, asked if you would take her to the concert.

At the end of the night, everyone left satisfied. It’s a safe bet no parent had any problem getting their offspring to go to sleep when they got home. Yeah, there’s nothing like three exciting hours of PG entertainment to soothe the savage beast within.