Meghan Trainor knows her fan base well.
At the New York City stop on her That Bass tour on Friday (March 13), the Irving Plaza audience was composed mostly of preteen girls and their parents, standing relatively tall and clutching their daughters’ down jackets and scarves. And as the young ones screamed to deafeningly levels, the 21-year-old breakout made sure to give credit where it was due: “Moms! Shout out to the moms dancing their butts off tonight — you look great!” she said, also noting, “My parents are here — give it up for the people who made me!”
Meghan Trainor Joins Elite Company With Debut No. 1 Single & Album
With her retro aesthetic, empowering lyrics and textured alto, Trainor emerged onto the mainstream music scene proud of her atypical pop-star figure and relatively wholesome stance — and listeners agreed, as she became the 13th female artist with a debut No. 1 song and album (“All About That Bass” and Title), and the fifth to directly follow that debut single with a second top-five hit, “Lips Are Movin.”
And her tour didn’t disappoint her loyal fans, their newly won-over parents, and even the handful of tipsy twenty-somethings unfamiliar with her catalog (and oft-stated opinion of their whispers about her appearance). After opening acts Sheppard and Matt Prince (and a changeover playlist that got the most sing-alongs when Ariana Grande‘s “Break Free” came on), Trainor swayed through her hour-long Title set with vocal precision and natural showmanship, belting into an embellished microphone atop a matching stand. The seasoned songwriter’s set list jumped from her album’s sweet, strategically youth-skewing takes on dating (“Title,” “Dear Future Husband,” “Walkashame”), breakups (“My Selfish Heart,” “Mr. Almost”) and friendship (“No Good for You”) while also touting the body positivity songs that first caught the world’s attention (“Close Your Eyes,” “All About That Bass”).
The Nantucket native also showcased her musical diversity: touting her penchant for reggae during a instrumental break, rapping effortlessly on her drummer ode “Bang Dem Sticks” and accompanying herself during “Credit” on the ukulele. “You girls are getting me all emotional singing all the words like that,” she said of the latter, telling her team, “Did you hear that? I told you that should’ve been a single!”
Trainor stretched her set in ways that felt authentic to her throwback, uplifting brand: with a dance break on Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars‘ equally retro “Uptown Funk” — “I didn’t fall! Did you see that? That was amazing — did you like it?” she laughed afterward — and an onstage meet-and-greet with two young girls wearing her light-up crowns. “Scream for my beautiful queens!” she instructed the audience before leading the girls in a dance: “All you have to do is come up in front of all these scary people and swing right and swing left.”
The lifelong performer took advantage of the venue’s intimacy while also seizing the opportunity to serve a spectacle — a promising preview to the arena tour that would probably support her sophomore major album. In front of a Lite-Brite-like backdrop projecting “M. Train,” hearts and rainbows, she never stopped dancing with her two backup singers and two dancers, altogether showing off moves reminiscent of American Bandstand episodes. But between verses, she also constantly encouraged the crowd not only to sing along and dance — which they did to every word, loudly — but also to “show two hands — who here’s beautiful?” and “raise your hands here if you’re different,” and occasionally even complimenting someone specific in the audience, “You look so pretty tonight!” And with gratitude, she told her “Megatron” fan base, “Thank you for supporting me since day one, which was about a year ago. Thank you for coming to the Grammys with me, thank you for making my album number one on the first try.”
But before closing the show with her breakout hit and a slew of giant balloons and confetti, Trainor thanked her two most devout fans in her “What If I” introduction. “I’m gonna be really adorable right now, so don’t panic: I dedicate this next song to my parents for being in love for so many years. I love you guys, and someday I want to be married just like that. … I love you, Mom and Dad.”
“Dear Future Husband”
“No Good for You”
“Close Your Eyes”
“Like I’m Gonna Lose You” (with Matt Prince)
“Bang Dem Sticks”
“Uptown Funk” (dance)
“My Selfish Heart”
“Lips Are Movin”
“What If I”
“All About That Bass”
This article originally appeared in THR.com.