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Meghan Trainor At Radio City Music Hall, Thursday, September 8th, 2016, Reviewed

 

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How do you hate on a pretty but pretty in a normal way, 22 year old, superb songwriter, whose average audience member is a ten year old girl? Thursday night she followed “Mom” -whose hook goes “ain’t nobody got a Mom like mine” with “Dance Like Yo Daddy” -where she brought out and danced with her Daddy, who tributed her “Friends” (“nobody knows me like them”),  whose penultimate song of the set had her hugging audience members onstage AND ON FILM BEHIND HER, and whose message is, even more than opening act Hailee Steinfeld’s (who followed a cover of Justin Bieber’s “Love Yourself” with),  “Love Myself”. From her body positive “All About The Bass” to her rings of truth “Dear Future Husband” (“if you treat me right, I’ll be the perfect wife”) and the superior not performed “Title” (“don’t call me a friend, if I hear that word again you might never get a chance to see me naked in your bed” -I guess that’s why she didn’t sing it!). As a man with a teenage great-niece, those are the sort of messages I would love her to absorb.

So how do you hate on Meghan? I wrote this at her Irving Plaza gig, March 2015 (Here) “On stage she considers Taylor Swift and Ariana Grande as her competition and if it hurt her third album, the disappointingly overproduced though not bad Title, it stank up this oddly antiseptic gig.” She was better at Radio City, and she does a fine job of protecting her audience and being herself, she danced, she had a live band behind her, the atmosphere was popping and the little girls were having a blast. She dances, well, she dances and she sings, sometimes out of breath. The sound bores me a little, and she will never be the woman who wrote those first two terrific albums, not anymore. They are better than both Title and Thank you (though not the Title EP). I really hate what they did to Meghan, she is a unique songwriter, very wise, great lyricist, good melodist, but she is stuck being a tier better than generic popster. She has the songwriting skills of a Taylor Swift, but it is hard to hear it.

The evening wasn’t unpleasant, openers were Latin American danceband Common Kings, a terrific band who deserved the gig, and Hailee Steinfeld, a youthful 19 year old actress who takes music seriously. Meghan performed for less than 90 minutes, and seemed to open herself up like a flower. Singing “A Friend To You” to her friend with benefits in the audience, and “Hopeless Romantic” to a guy who wasn’t’ there, normal romantic malaise becomes a shared experience. With friends, family, even her Grandparents from Nantucket, in the audience, it was a straight reflkection of the girls in her audience a rotation later Hell, she invited her saxophone player James Spacey on “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” to sing with her because his family was here. The concert was  a gentle, sweet affair but the music was just not there.

I wish Meghan would go back to her roots, she is a clever, witty, smart kid, a real talent. Maybe the world knows something I don’t know, there was a time I thought she was heading for true greatness, now…This is the third time I’ve seen Meghan, she has improved with each performance, so maybe greatness is exactly where she is heading.

Grade: B

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