By MIKE CHAIKEN
The temptation is there to just categorize Meghan Trainor as a simple pop singer with a resume of clever songs.
After all, tracks like “Me Too,” “All About That Bass,” “Lips Are Moving,” “Dear Future Husband,” and “No,” are clever, sugary pop confections. They don’t pretend to be anything more than they are, fun and full of addictive hooks.
However, there is evidence in Trainor’s catalogue that she aspires for more than being a cartoon pop star. For instance, her “Like I’m Gonna Lose You” was a great, mature ballad.
Seeing Trainor in concert, you can tell that she’s just setting the stage for something more than being a YouTube distraction.
At the Mohegan Sun Arena on Sept. 22, I was reminded of musical artists who aren’t yet on the radar of many of the young female fans at the jam-packed show.
Watching Trainor, first and foremost, I was reminded of Bette Midler.
Midler started off her career with fun hit songs. But in concert, she won many more fans by demonstrating her skill at being an all-round entertainer, who could sing pop songs, standards, and serious heartwrenching ballads. She was a great singer and turned to be a great actress—easily handling drama and comedy.
It was clear watching Trainor’s show, she wanted to give fans a show and not just a concert of well-known songs. It was fun to watch her and to listen to her—not just her strong voice but her banter with the audience. It was amusing to watch her bring her father out to dance with her dancers on stage. It was fun watching her bring her fans out on stage with her at the end of the night (before the encore). And her costume changes to add a little bit of flare to the show also echoed other great entertainers such as Cher and Diana Ross.
The show was full of energy and Trainor made it a point to give the audience what it paid for with strong renditions of her catalogue.
Trainor’s performance at the Mohegan Sun indicated that if the singer’s handlers play their cards right, allow her to grow as an artist, and resist the temptation to overexpose her to the point where fans get sick of her, she will be a singer whose career has legs.
Stepping onto stage immediately before Trainor was Hailee Steinfeld, who was first introduced to the world as an actress in the “True Grit.” As a singer, Steinfeld proved to be a strong pop diva in the Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera mode. Her stage show was simple—her voice against a backing track as she interacted with a team of dancers. The set was short but fun and it left you wanting to see more.
Common Kings had the arduous task of trying to grab the attention of fans more interested in Trainor and were dripping in slowly from the parking lots and restaurants at the Mohegan Sun. However, their brand of reggae and soul-inflected pop was a good choice to set the stage for the headliner.
I give Meghan Trainor at the Mohegan Sun Arena on Sept. 22 four out of four stars.
PHOTOS by MIKE CHAIKEN