“It was my only time to sing with you, Miley, and I fucked up,” Coyne said afterwards (for the record, he didn’t – the cover was notably and surprisingly well done), prompting Cyrus to ask if he was drunk. “I’m a little bit drunk right now too,” she revealed. “Let’s do it again.” So in an unprecedented pop show moment, Cyrus played the same song twice in a row just because she could. “This is the best night of my entire life,” she shouted after.
The two-part encore was expected: Cyrus performed her singles “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” before concluding with a raucous version of “Party In the U.S.A.,” during which she pretended to blow President Lincoln as fireworks and confetti flew.
PHOTOS: Miley's 'Bangerz' Tour Open in Vancouver
It was “Wrecking Ball,” though, that aptly punctuated the show. Cyrus has often allowed her shock value production and visuals to overshadow her music, and instead of distracting us with the image of her nude on a massive ball, here she stood alone on the darkened stage and just sang. The deeply emotional quality of the song translated better than it ever has previously – even Cyrus found herself choked up during the final chorus, tears sparkling on her cheeks.
That was the singer’s greatest triumph on her Bangerz Tour, which continues through April 24 with openers Sky Ferreira and Icona Pop, both of whom pumped up the crowd with abbreviated, energized sets that were immediately forgotten once Cyrus slid down that tongue. For Cyrus, this tour is an opportunity to express herself in an extended version, one that contextualizes each song in its own strange world. She did that in a smaller way at last year’s AMAs and iHeartRadio Music Festival, but given two hours of freedom, Cyrus is clearly able to generate both emotional gravity and buoyant fun.
At its best the Bangerz Tour is a drug-induced fever dream, replete with flying hot dogs and psychedelic video imagery of a zombie Cyrus riding a jet ski through purple water while a baby doll head shoots lightening at her. It’s a forum for the singer to do whatever she wants – even if that means playing a song her fans have never heard of twice in a row. The theory that if she’s having fun we will too was tested last evening, and so far it holds true.