Miley Cyrus is pop music's Toxic Avenger. This might sound odd, but it sprang to mind while watching her moral panic inducing spectacle. As a show, it resembled a giant cartoon from schlock filmmakers like Troma, except instead of OTT violence it was sexuality thrust, literally, in your face. Therefore we had Miley simulating sex on top of a car, riding a giant hot dog and, of course, Twerking away.
It was crude, yet if contemporaries like Beyonce deliver shows with overt 'believe in yourself' messages, then there was something entertaining in the demented, knowing trash culture theatre Cyrus served up. A giant version of her recently deceased dog appeared, with glowing eyes, and her hard-working dancers frequently donned ludicrous costumes. This, at least, donned down the sexual antics, given that it's hard to take raunch seriously when delivered by someone dressed in Sesame Street inspired garb.
Some of the gestures, and marijuana references were wearisome, yet the biggest problem was that her songs were even skimpier than her outfits. Her club-friendly tunes, in particular, lack inspiration, with the likes of Love Money Party and 23 tediously following a template of uncreative noise.
Yet there were surprises in store. Cyrus was a ball of energy, but she impressed most on slower numbers - a stripped back segment that rolled through covers of Dylan, Dolly Parton and the Arctic Monkeys harked back to her country-pop origins, while the balled Drive and a no frills Wrecking Ball displayed a powerful voice. She bantered away merrily, too, and her happiness at accepting gifts from the crowd seemed sweetly sincere. One of those gifts was a knitted version of a certain part of the male anatomy, though. Her fanbase know her well.