Hilary Duff’s sold-out set at New York’s prestigious Radio City Music Hall was somewhat of a mixed bag. Sure, there were legions of wildly hysterical 4-to-14-year-olds incessantly chanting her name before the show. Sure, she’s a Disney-product phenomenon (though currently trying to spice up her appeal, i.e. the new cover of Maxim) with a built in Lizzie McGuire-loving fan base whose parents are willing to fork over dough for Duff tickets, T-shirts and glow sticks.
And for those folks, sure, her show was probably worth the price. She had a big enough backing band and flashy choreography and sparkly outfits. Add to that an amiable, loving attitude and what else would you need? Oh right, singing.
For Duff, “singing” kind of stretches it, considering she spent most of the night lip-synching. At times you were left wondering why she even bothered to fake it. But be it a live vocal mix or not, she still delivered enough dance-friendly pop tunes to get the little tykes bouncing up on their seats and singing.
Particularly of note were the hits from 2003’s “Metamorphosis” such as the well-known “Laguna Beach” theme song “Come Clean” and a jazzed-out ska take of “So Yesterday.” Songs from her latest album, “Dignity,” such as the sultry “Stranger” and the beat-heavy “With Love,” had a darker electro vibe that highlighted the mature direction Duff appears to be taking.
The 19-year-old pop star also threw in a few mediocre covers, including the Go-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed,” Pat Benatar’s “Love is a Battlefield” and Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus,” all of which were completely lost on anyone born after 1995. It was almost humorous as Duff encouraged the confused youngsters to fist-pump along as she sang, “We are young, heartache to heartache.”
But whatever the tune, Duff tapped into the crowd’s rambunctious energy and gave them a well-produced stage show. Maybe next time, she’ll even have the mic on.