Tuesday, August 4, 2015

MTrain Tour | Meghan Trainor with Life of Dillon & Charlie Puth

"Ohio, I heard if you say a certain phrase... O-H?" asked 21-year-old singer-songwriter Meghan Trainor, who was amazed by her sold-out crowd of over 10,000 fans in the Ohio State Fairgrounds' Celeste Center. "I-O," the audience shouted in reply. "That is sick," she laughed. 

Her audience of fervent Ohioans wasn't much different from those of most female pop powerhouses: tons of children in homemade t-shirts with their parents, teenage girls and young women who pulled their boyfriends by their hair into the venue, drunken middle-aged women who get down to every song, and - my demographic - gay men. And like most pop stars, Trainor's fans are intense. They paid modest attention to opener Life of Dillon and unsurprisingly offered a warm welcome to Charlie Puth (of "See You Again" fame), but they really let loose for Trainor as she entered the stage for "Dear Future Husband." She led sing-a-longs for portions of nearly every upbeat song, and her fans knew every single phrase they were expected to sing - even for filler tracks that were only included on the deluxe pressing of Title, like "No Good For You" and "Mr. Almost."

Perhaps one thing that Trainor didn't gauge is her dense population of young fans. I saw parents' eyes widen as she sang, "We all make mistakes in the drunk world / Everyone here's done the walk of shame," to her audience that was composed hugely of children under 12 years old. The most awkward moment arrived when Charlie Puth returned to the stage to duet on "Marvin Gaye." Many kids - my young sister included - looked in the opposite direction when Trainor and Puth wailed, "Let's Marvin Gaye and get it on," in front of the giant electronic backdrop that played clips of couples following the lyrics' instructions.

Any uncomfortable moments were quickly glossed over with Trainor's pitch-perfect vocals, bubbly stage presence, and carefree catalog, though. The innocence that those parents expected shined through on new tracks "Good to Be Alive" and "Feels Better When I'm Dancing." The latter track pulled her from her '50s doo-wop safety zone into steel drum-fueled, summery territory with ample dance breaks. And for any of those who doubted her core musical ability, she wowed the crowd with a performance of "Like I'm Going to Lose You" and pulled out her trusty ukulele twice during the show for stripped renditions of "Title" and a mash-up of her own "3am" and Jason Mraz's "I'm Yours." Last month's vocal cord hemorrhage didn't set her back one bit; her vocals still gleamed.

Spare a few inappropriately-placed shouts of "hey" and "c'mon," she never missed a beat for the 90 minutes she was on stage. She proved entertaining for die-hard fans and casual listeners alike; even the unhappy young man who sat in front of me, presumably forced to be there by his parents who were having a grand ole time, found moments of interest in her biggest hits, "Lips are Movin'" and "All About That Bass." At a ticket price of roughly $35 each (which included fair admission for the day, as well), the MTrain Tour offered a lot of bang for the buck. Thinking about catching another stop on the tour? Do it; it's worth it. Hop aboard and enjoy the ride.

The MTrain Tour runs through September 13, 2015 and will make stops at multiple state fairs. Tickets for remaining dates can be found on Ticketmaster.

EDIT: Unfortunately, Trainor hemorrhaged her vocal cord once again after a bronchitis infection and announced on August 11 that the MTrain Tour must come to a halt. It is unknown if remaining dates will be rescheduled.

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