Nelly Furtado with Dylan Murray and Jessica Tyler
Centre In The Square
January, 29, 2013
Armed with a pair of big hooped earrings, several jackets and few boas, Canadian pop diva Nelly Furtado hit the stage at the Centre In The Square in Kitchener, ending off a short-trip across Canada that began in Victoria less than a month ago.
Despite a seemly negative spin the Canadian media has taken with her recently, Furtado continues on despite a decline in sales for her latest album Spirit Indestructible and the spotty attendance of the entire tour supporting it. The Kitchener stop was a welcomed event for the 1,100 that were there to see a Canadian pop star who has sold more than 40 million albums and scored about 15 national hits.
Starting off rather subdued and stationary in the centre of a stage that looked like it could have been a piece of her deepest dreams, Furtado opened with a sultry version of the title track from Spirit Indestructible donning a black fedora, leather jacket and skin-tight pants. She remained mostly pinned to the middle of the stage for about the first 30 minutes as fans politely restrained their enthusiasm as well. It was almost as if the fans knew something better was coming. And this time they were absolutely right.
After a hauntingly beautiful – and rather short – Latin flavoured lounge set consisting of a solo version of Quando, Quando, Quando (originally a duet with Michael Buble) and Get Ur Freak On (the duet recorded with Missy Elliot), things really picked up and they got stronger and more vibrant as the night went on. The slowed down approach and subtle Latino embellishments propelled Get Ur Freak On as one of the finer moments in the show and showcased the versatility Furtado has. She took to the rap lyrics as if she was in a smooth battle with Salt ‘N’ Pepa.
She later had some fun with a large white bucket that fans dropped their “bucket lists” into – something she started doing on this tour to help intro the song Bucket List from her new album. She read a couple of them, including one which noted that beating cancer was on the top of their list. Furtado said it was the best one of the entire tour.
Amongst the hits were newer songs such as Big Hoops and the really cool Parking Lot, which she also performed at her New Year’s Eve concert in Niagara Falls this year. Parking Lot is the most outstanding moment on her new album with its strong and heavy dance groove and fun lyrics. The live version surpasses the original and along with Get Ur Freak On was a highlight of the night. Furtado returned for three encores, including a cover of Madonna’s Like A Prayer, which was substantially better than the original and should be part of her shows permanently. She was dressed in a long black gown for the song and really seemed at home with the pseudo-religious sound.
Ending with a heavy version of her hit Maneater, Furtado bopped around the stage, giving the show’s ending a bit of a celebratory feel.
Furtado’s sales and concert dates may not be up to the expectations of our almighty Canadian media, but for the fans who jumped to their feet throughout the show, the evidence shows that this is really only an odd lull for our Portuguese-Canadian princess.