A little over a year ago Miley Cyrus wrapped her 78-show Bangerz World Tour. Saturday, she played the 2,888-person capacity Fillmore in Detroit, showcasing her free collaboration album with psychedelic rock band The Flaming Lips, Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz. And as Miley explained The Milky Milk Milk Tour: “smaller venue, same amount of balloons.”
After an opening set by Dan Deacon worthy of a Van Goghian double amputation, it wasn’t clear if the show would be worth the nine hours in the freezing snow. Miley can sometimes be just plain ridiculous. Some of the Dead Petz material flirts with the line between music and noise.
She can be on drugs. She can be provocative. She may not fully grasp large issues such as white privilege. But despite all of her shortcomings, from the moment she took the small stage, “Dooo It!” didn’t sound as shitty as it usually does and she encapsulated the crowd for a two-hour trip into her most recent musical facet.
She followed “Dooo It!” with its Bangerz-equivalent “Love Money Party” hyping the already-spirited crowd. Complete with dozens of three-foot balloon spheres, “DO IT” nylon blow-ups, champagne bottles and a stage packed with Miley, her band, Amazon Ashley and a crew of random hippie friends/dancers, Cyrus was the focal point of the most stimulating show in recent memory.
As queen of excess, Cyrus donned a slew of ridiculous costumes, including (but in no way limited to) a baby, a pair of bedazzled milk cartons, a stick of butter and a purple-haired unicorn with an unreasonably large faux penis. The outfits topped off the psychedelic staging consisting of a mirror ball the size of a piano, fog machines, graphic screens and light up cords hanging up from the ceiling. That, combined with the bulk of Dead Petz, resulted in an aesthetically pleasing, sometimes overwhelming, show that allowed Cyrus’s raw vocal talent and genuine personality to shine.
The new sound focuses on space, animal or weed-inspired tracks. Actually, they’re all weed-inspired — some are just more upfront about it. The songs boast enough catchiness to roll with a crowd. Hippy-dippy “1 Sun,” vagina jam “Bang Me Box” and “I Forgive Yiew” were among highlights. Even the monologue-heavy “BB Talk” was an honest, comical lead-in to the pre-“Fweaky” strip tease which began as Cyrus in BB costume, ending with a heart bikini top and high-waisted bottoms.
Slower moments emphasized Cyrus’s talent and tenderness. She covered “You Are My Sunshine” to mass crowd participation as well as debuting a new track, which seemed to nod to her country roots. The climactic screams of “Twinkle Song” blur the line between beautiful and egregious, landing near cathartic. And toward the end of the spectacle, the bass lines of “Evil Is But A Shadow” were the closest thing to a musical orgasm, with beats distinctly vibrating through the chests and over the skin of attendees.
Cyrus’s new direction aside, she knows what her fans want when she closes out the show with “We Can’t Stop.” The banger from two summers ago united Miley’s fans as glitter cannons exploded and a two-person rainbow costume waltz around the stage.
The Milky Milky Milk tour isn’t the little sister to Bangerz Tour. It’s the stoner cousin who is always down to try something new and “fweaky.” Showcasing her new material, Miley acknowledges the success of what came before her (something she avoided with Bangerz) and gave some of her closest fans a peek into what’s next. She might not be the artist she has the potential to be, but with Miley Cyrus and Her Dead Petz and the Milky Milky Milk tour, she’s closer than ever.