An hour before the hour before the doors open is a swarm of starchy hair bows breaching a concourse that cannot hold itself with the amount of JoJo Siwa costumes running along the edge of downtown city traffic.
One of the booths flogging JoJo Siwa D.R.E.A.M. merchandise sits in the middle of the lower level, placing its fingers around the neck and choking out the feet as people walking to either side have to wrangle the mess of not stomping on tiny toes. There is no line at any of the men’s toilets.
Mother and daughter duo The Belles get half of the stadium speakers. At least, the distant sounds with the cover songs suggest the cadence of warming up the warm up. And then they bring in their own song or two before they step aside the opening thirty minutes for the stage to change dress.
Clear cups of beer stagger back and forth across the night. The adults filling up the row keep juicing their milk from the bar at the kids’ concert. Only five songs in and they are sloshed, each staking claim to the designated drinker of the night. They are at least keeping the spill to their side of the seats, even if their alcoholic stench wafts endlessly in all directions.
D.R.E.A.M. itself is never explained. All this talk about taking the audience to Dreamland and yet the acronym sits as is. Yes, Siwa keeps spelling it out, but are we really going to go with that obfuscation?
Siwa’s dream bow, the size of large neon lights, disappears to start the narrative. It’s a bow of its own volition and the chase to recapture it allows for a detour through “Kid In A Candy Store” and a cover of “I Want Candy” before it shows up to deliver its peace.
Running out in the middle of it all with a short jacket decked in yellow dazzle and gems, Siwa goes through a quick hits Queen medley. A version of “Crocodile Rock” sits on the back half of the night to pepper in another classic. There’s enough scratch and dry in the vocals to complement the backing track playing the studio recordings of songs like “Every Girl’s a Supergirl” and others.
High energy leaves for little time between costume changes. The breaks are quick. The next song plays. It’s roller shoes all night long until the second half, and even then there’s much gliding back and forth. Things don’t slow down at all until Siwa catches a breath behind a piano.
From the back a kid loses their grip on a $15 glow bat featuring Siwa’s face wrapping plastic around an expanded foam cylinder. About the length of an arm, there isn’t enough heft to it to swing and smack across the brow. It catches a lot of drag screeching across the way.
There’s a pause at the end. A slight wait not entirely outside the bating of an encore, but not long enough to count as one. “Boomerang” plays out on the screens to what ends up being the closer. Two hours and over. JoJo is out and done for the night.
Deciphering EE from the DD row at the 7 September 2019 leg at KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky.
Reviewed on Sunday, 15 September 2019