There is only one concert at the fair this year that featured a solo female headliner and there is also only one concert at the fair this year that only featured female performers and it was the pair of Iggy Azalea and Demi Lovato.
While the fair is normally filled wall-to -wall with bright, blonde hair, cowboy hats and denim, Sunday night it transformed into a completely different atmosphere, a more accepting and thoughtful crowd that is more likely to talk about their inner demons and sing their hearts out to songs that resonates with who they really are, rather than hide behind the mask of mindless melodic tunes and generally repetitive lyrics of country music.
Lovato stands as a symbol to many young women that you can be strong, powerful, have sex appeal and insecurity and also acknowledge your flaws as a regular person as she has in one of her most recent songs, “Sober,” in which she admits to relapsing just after celebrating her sixth year of sobriety. This news came just over a month ago and those close to her, even Azalea, have been quoted in articles and gossip pieces as being worried about her. On Tuesday, it was reported that Lovato overdosed on heroin and would be entering rehab.
Lovato has a connection with her fans that is just a little different from normal celebrities and performers because of the grittiness of some of her messages and the very human emotions she expresses. In an article on Page Six last month written by Jessica Sager, Lovato was quoted saying, “I changed my clothes, but I still had my diamonds on — millions of dollars of diamonds on in an AA meeting, and I related more to the homeless people in that meeting who struggled with the same struggles that I deal with than the people at the Met Gala…”
The concert began with a set from Azalea who strutted out onto the stage in long boots, fishnets and what can only accurately be described as a thong that left very little to the imagination. Flanked on either side by two hip-hop backup dancers Azalea took over the crowd with one booty shaking anthem after another that had 14-year-olds all the way up 50-year-olds getting loose in the aisles. As the melodies for each new song began flirting with my ears I was shocked to realize that I knew way more Azalea songs than I thought I did.
As a whole, the crowd skewed younger and it was never more apparent than when it became clear that Demi was about to go on stage and 3,000 phones were raised in the air ready to record her entrance.
Lovato took us all through an emotional rollercoaster, starting the night with some songs off her newest album like “Sexy Dirty Love,” and “Daddy Issues,” and then transitioned into a slower vibe, playing guitar herself and at times back-to-back with the lead axeman of the band, who looked exactly like your lead guitarist should look, before speeding things up once again.
At times, you could forget about just how powerful Lovato’s voice is only to be reminded when she belted out a lyric with such force that you felt it bounce around inside your head like a fly trapped in your car, eventually finding its way out the window but not before raising your heart rate.
The entire night was a beautiful juxtaposition, a female rapper from Australia and pop diva performing at a country fair in the middle of nowhere and they did not pander one bit. Neither of them said Y’all or talked about roping or cattle — they were confident in who they were and they were themselves, changing nothing because they were in a small country town. Even as Azalea was twerking in front of a 30-foot screen to the gasps of many moms or when Lovato grabbed one of her male dancers and shoved his face in her crotch, they were unapologetically, unabashedly themselves, and I think that is the most important message of all.
PHOTO BY BRITTANY APP