When Kesha spoke to Billboard last month ahead of her 2021 return to the road, she promised to take concertgoers to “a planet that is extremely psychedelic, joyful, debaucherous, wild — a place where people can be themselves.” The pop star delivered in spades when Planet Kesha touched down in New York City on Tuesday (Aug. 31) at Manhattan’s The Rooftop at Pier 17 as part of its summer concert series.
Inviting her glittered-up audience to be “the coolest version of yourself,” Kesha led by example, strutting across the stage in leather chaps cut into stars while her muscular backing band ripped through her signature Hot 100 chart-toppers (“Tik Tok,” “We R Who We R”), cheeky stompers (“Cannibal,” “Take It Off”) and funky fan favorites (“Woman,” “Raising Hell”).
Stage fog snaked around giant inflatables (a cactus, rainbow and mushroom) as her backup dancers swerved and served, joining her for some playful choreography on “Woman” and getting a beer shower to cool off during “Tik Tok.” Toward the end of a turnt set, Kesha tossed a couple of towels she used to wipe down at fans who were only too happy to accept the sweaty souvenirs.
For the encore, she donned a white robe that billowed in the wind as she delivered “Praying,” telling the crowd that “New York and this song have a special, sacred place in my heart” thanks to her stunning performance of it at Madison Square Garden during the 2018 Grammys. While that affecting ballad ended the night on a note of resilience and strength, the overwhelming tone of the night was ‘dirty dance party.’ It was loose in spirit but tight in musicianship, with the crowd relishing the chance to get crazy at the open-air rooftop venue with a killer view of a city that’s finally opening back up after a tough quarantine. “When you find your happiness, guard that sh-t with your life,” she advised at one point, and she certainly seems to have found hers these days.