Concert review: Liberty and Victoria Justice for all
blog by Avery Hartmans • August 12, 2012 @ 12:03pm
If you were looking for all the pre-teen girls in Buffalo on Saturday night, I found them: they were at the Victoria Justice concert at the Erie County Fair.
The Buffalo.com Grandstand was packed long before Justice even hit the stage, confirming just how popular her Nickelodeon sitcom, Victorious, really is. Decked out in pink, zebra print and rhinestone-encrusted everything, the little girls in the audience may have been the most die-hard fans of any artist, ever.
Opener Matt Bennett, otherwise known as Robbie Shapiro from Victorious and Helen’s stepson from Bridesmaids, performed fan-favorites “I Think You’re Swell” and “Broken Glass.” Bennett’s clever lyrics were a hit with the moms in the crowd, but most of the audience was too young to understand his jokes about blood diamonds or donating his kidney to the girl he liked. And his jeans were just a little too skinny for my taste.
Bennett’s set only lasted a half hour and Victoria Justice displayed a little diva behavior, taking a surprisingly long time to come out. One person sitting near me remarked, “Come on, Victoria. Most of these people need to get to bed soon.” One of the hazards of performing for a tweenage audience, I suppose.
Justice hit the stage around 8:45 p.m., emerging from inside a translucent cube wearing silver metallic skinny jeans, a black sparkly asymmetrical sweater and black combat boots. Backed by a surprisingly young band, she opened with “Make It Shine,” one of her more popular Victorious hits. Even though the audience was nearly hysterical and bouncing up and down uncontrollably, I had no problem seeing Justice, even 12 rows back, since most of the crowd was under four feet tall.
Right away, it was clear that Justice is not another teen pop-star churned out by the Disney Channel/Nickelodeon machine. Although she has all the characteristics of a child star who will never break out of the mold (unbelievably wholesome, so adorable it almost hurts), Justice has that something extra. She immediately connected with the crowd, actually knew which town she was in (unlike Matt Bennett) and seemed to genuinely have fun. Plus, girl’s got some serious pipes.
Justice performed “Beggin’ On Your Knees” and a new song, “Faster Than Boys,” in quick succession, and by then I was sold. Her mature, alto voice can go low one second then hit the high notes with no problem. By the time she covered Amy Winehouse’s “Valerie,” it was obvious that Justice has what it takes to be a real-life star.
The show was a little heavy on covers for my taste, however. Justice and fellow Nickelodeon star, the overly-enthusiastic Max Schneider, performed a Bruno Mars medley, and she later covered Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida,” which was poorly-suited to her voice. Justice can sound unexpectedly soulful and her voice was the wrong substitute for Chris Martin’s wailing. But she did have the audience sing the “oh”s toward the end of the song and, since it was such a young crowd, it sounded like a really peppy children’s choir.
Although 19-year-old Justice still has a long way to go before she becomes a full-fledged star, she’s on the right track, especially when compared to other stars her age. The only thing Miley does these days is take naked photos, and Selena Gomez is only famous for dating Justin Bieber. Yet despite Justice’s relative fame, impressive talent and impossibly shiny hair, she seems down-to-Earth and actually kind of goofy. She’s the type of girl you’re jealous of, but simultaneously want to be best friends with. Either way, I’m rooting for her.
Photo from enjoythepics.com.