Demi Lovato shares her emotional struggles at Las Vegas show

The psychiatrist Demi Lovato asked the just-plain-old-Demi-Lovato a serious/rhetorical question.

“Have you been obsessing much?” the former posed to the latter, peering through black-rim glasses as her other self lay reclined on a leather therapist’s couch.

“Have you been breathing much?” she may as well have asked in a scene that took place during a video interlude in which the 25-year-old pop star portrayed both mental health professional and patient.

Seconds later, there the couch was on stage at the MGM Grand Garden arena, Lovato still sprawled upon it, this time in thigh-high black boots.

Just in case you didn’t know what you were in store for as Lovato’s “Tell Me You Love Me World Tour” stopped in Vegas on Saturday, Lovato brought visual cues as she spelled out her intentions in all caps: The therapy session didn’t end when the aforementioned clip did, it just moved from office to arena, swapping doppelganger shrinks for a few crotch-grabbing dancer dudes.

“Yeah, I get a little obsessive,” Lovato purred during “Daddy Issues” over oscillating synth and a playful bass line, flaunting her emotional baggage like Louis Vuitton luggage early on in her performance.

This was a night of full-throated pop pathos.

“I know what it’s like to cry. A lot,” Lovato acknowledged at one point. “It sucks.”

A former Disney TV star who once opened for The Jonas Brothers on tour, Lovato has wrangled with addiction and arm-wrestled adulthood, besting the former — she’s been sober for six years this month, she announced from the stage — still tussling with the latter.

As such, Lovato is an endearingly flawed presence, and a unique one in pop music, a singer whose big voice frequently details what it’s like to feel small. Her show follows suit: On Saturday, Lovato generally bucked the traditional pacing of an adrenalized arena concert.

It began with Lovato alone on stage, belting out torch song “You Don’t Do It For Me,” a moody kiss-off that eschewed the expected high-energy start (“Why would she open with that?” a crowd member in the stands asked her friend, ready for revelry, getting the opposite).

In the run-up to her encore, when most performers choose to leave the stage with a bang, Lovato performed a three-song suite of ballads while seated at a black piano.

One of those songs, “Father,” served as an antecedent for “Daddy Issues,” where she documented a turbulent relationship with her dad, who died in 2013.

“I told myself I would never sing it live,” she said of the tune’s highly candid nature.

But she did so anyway, and that’s one of the reasons Lovato can fill large halls: She’s unabashed in her emotional bloodletting, and in this way, her music parts the veil on her celebrity to an extent, her insecurities as prominent as the tattoos on her forearms.

None of this is to suggest that Saturday’s show was all pop star scab-picking: Lovato donned a shiny pink boxer’s robe and sang from the crowd for a time during “Confident,” performed a peppy cover of Luis Fonsi’s “Échame la Culpa,” bumped and grinded with a near-pneumatic pelvis on “Sexy Dirty Love,” and sang backed by a kiss cam during “Give Your Heart a Break” (The best shot was of a bro lovingly smooching his beer can).

As the show worked toward its conclusion with an exultant “Sorry Not Sorry,” a self-help sermon delivered with gospel-like fervor, Lovato paused long enough for one final bit of life-coaching before ending with the title track to her latest album, “Tell Me You Love Me.”

“Love yourself,” she instructed. “Not that I’m someone who should be giving advice,” she added as plenty in the crowd chuckled along, knowingly.

Contact Jason Bracelin at or 702-383-0476. Follow @JasonBracelin on Twitter.

Entertainment Videos
Tattoo'd America Invites You To Have Fun, Take Pictures
Kassandra Lopez at Tattoo'd America Invites You To Have Fun, Take Pictures. (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Making gluten-free pizza at Good Pie in Las Vegas
Good Pie owner/pizzaiola Vincent Rotolo makes his gluten-free pizza.
Rockabilly fans enjoy Las Vegas weather poolside
Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekender runs Thursday, April 18th through Sunday, April 21st with a huge car show on Saturday featuring The Reverend Horton Heat, The Delta Bombers and The Coasters. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Brownie sundae at VegeNation in Las Vegas is completely vegan
Donald Lemperle, chef/owner of VegeNation in Las Vegas and nearby Henderson, NV, makes his sundae with ice cream made with coconut and almond milks, a brownie made with coconut flour and oil and organic sugar and cacao, and fresh fruit. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Taste of the Town: Henderson Booze District
Those who like to support local businesses and sample local products will find the best concentration in an unlikely spot: a Henderson industrial park.
Founder of Las Vegas theater talks about a favorite play
Ann Marie Pereth, founder of A Public Fit Theatre Company, speaks to the Review-Journal about which play she would see every day if only given one option. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
New Avengers S.T.A.T.I.O.N interactive exhibit
The new exhibit features original and recreated props and plenty of interactive features. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Writer's Block and Lucy are open in Las Vegas
The Writer's Block and Lucy are open in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas ice cream shop offers everything in the kitchen sink
Have you ever wanted to eat an ice cream sundae out of a kitchen sink? Who hasn't, right? At Sloan's, located inside the Venetian, you can do just that. (Mat Luschek / Review-Journal)
Maxie’s in Las Vegas puts eggs Benedict in a box
Chef David Mangual at Maxie’s in The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas makes his eggs Benedict in a brioche “box” layered with spinach, bacon and tomatoes and topped with poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Caviar Twinkie Served at Stripsteak in Las Vegas
Stripsteak Executive Pastry Chef Vivian Chang and Chef Gerald Chin create a novel savory food item that looks like a familiar sweet treat at the restaurant in Las Vegas. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal)
NAB attendees battle to qualify for Fortnite event
NAB is sponsoring an online video game event with Epic Games’ Fortnite allowing attendees to qualify to go head to head with top players. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Arctic Shrimp Sandwich at Saga near Las Vegas
Chef Gert Kvalsund, a native of Norway, founded Saga Pastry + Sandwich in Henderson to give Scandinavians a taste of home. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar talk UNLVino
Guy Fieri and Sammy Hagar talk about the upcoming UNLVino vent. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Christie Brinkley at Smith & Wollensky
Christie Brinkley, in town for her run in “Chicago” at the Venetian Theatre, paid a visit to the Grand Canal Shoppes’ still-under-construction Smith Wollensky on Monday for a ceremonial first toast at the bar. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Two artists create a mural for peace in Las Vegas
2 artists create a mural for peace in Las Vegas (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Inside Kaos nightclub and dayclub
A look at new club at Palms.
CinemaCon Brings Theater Professionals To Caesars
CinemaCon is not just celebs, it's also a place where theater owners can browse the latest in seats, projectors and concessions. (Mat Luschek/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas restaurants provide a taste of ballpark food
The Las Vegas Ballpark, home to the Las Vegas Aviators, will serve food from Giada De Laurentiis and a team of favorite local restaurants. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Taste of the Town: Bobby Flay Opens Shark at the Palms - VIDEO
Bobby Flay opens Shark at the Palms; his first high-end restaurant in 15 years.
Chef Marc Marrone at T-Mobile Arena
Chef Marc Marrone has opened a bao cart at T-Mobile Arena. (Al Mancini/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bellagio fountains celebrate 'Game of Thrones'
A medley of the theme for HBO’s “Game of Thrones” and the song “Winter Is Here” from the show premiered at the Bellagio Fountains water show on the Las Vegas Strip on Sunday, March 31, 2019. The new number will run in rotation through April 13. The series premieres its eighth and final series on April 14. (Mick Akers/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegan Aunt Chippy talks about being on Jimmy Kimmel's show
Concetta Potenza, Aunt “Chippy” to Jimmy Kimmel, talks about her first time being featured on her nephew’s show. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The "Flight Unknown" At Bar Centro at Bazaar Meats Las Vegas Features 5 Innovative Cocktails
The "Flight Unknown" At Bar Centro At Bazaar Meats Las Vegas Features 5 Innovative Cocktails (Janna Karel Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cotton candy crowns pancakes in Las Vegas
At Maxie’s at The Linq Promenade in Las Vegas, executive chef David Mangual fills pancakes with fruit and cream cheese and piles on pastel cotton candy, which is melted in a stream of chocolate syrup. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
Bananas Foster Pancakes go up in flames at The Stove near Las Vegas
Chef Antonio Nunez at The Stove in Henderson, near Las Vegas, flames the pancakes tableside for a fiery presentation. Heidi Knapp Rinella/Review-Journal
El Loco Rollercoaster at Circus Circus' Adventuredome
The El Loco rollercoaster opened at the Circus Circus' Adventuredome in February 2014. It features a 90-foot ascent, followed by a drop that produces a negative 1.5 "verticle G," a 180-degree turn, and reverse 240-degree roll that turns into an inverted drop. The coaster reaches a maximum speed of 45 mph and is the only indoor coaster of it's kind in the U.S., and is the second indoor El Loco coaster in the world, according to MGM Resorts.
Bartending flair competition at the Nightclub & Bar Show
Highlights from the ten contestants who competed for the Shake It Up Flair and Classic Competition at the Nightclub & Bar Show at the Las Vegas Convention Center. (Rachel Aston/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @rookie__rae
Justin Kingsley Hall shares details on his next gig
Chef Justin Kinglsey hall shares some details about the newArts District restaurant he's developing with Kim Owens. (Al Mancini/Las Vegs Review-Journal)
Film prompted Carrie Hogan to found 2 farmers markets in Las Vegas
Carrie Hogan founded Fresh 52 Farmers and Artisan Market in Las Vegas after realizing she had to do something about the influence of factory farms on the food supply. (Heidi Knapp Rinella/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Home Front Page Footer Listing