Carly Rae Jepsen will forever be known best for “Call Me Maybe,” the hit single the Canadian singer released in 2012. If you were near anything that emitted sound during that summer, you heard the song. She followed that up with a second album, Kiss, which was her first to be released in the United States. None of the singles off that album could match the popularity of “Call Me Maybe,” however; her third album, Emotion, was critically acclaimed, appearing on multiple year-end best albums lists, but still wasn’t a commercial success.
Though lacking that elusive second hit, what Jepsen does have is a loyal and incredibly enthusiastic fanbase that showed up in droves for her show at Turner Hall Friday night. This was a crowd that was ultimately there for her, but they had an energy she thrived on, as well as the openers, Fairground Saints and Cardiknox. Both openers struggled with a murky sound quality, but Fairground Saints had an enthusiasm and varied folk sound that left you wanting more after they finished their 30-minute set. Cardiknox, whose latest album came out Friday, brought a similar energy, rocking the set as if they were the headliners.
By the time Jepsen took the stage, the crowd was psyched for her performance, and she started off with “Run Away With Me,” the first track off Emotion. The soaring, well, emotion of the song captured the essence of falling for someone and just wanting to take off and savor the moment, and felt perfect for the start of the set. From there, she found a good rhythm, traversing material from the latest album before getting to “This Kiss,” and continuing to power through the dance-friendly songs. She also performed a song called “Fever,” which will be released on an album of Emotion remixes. Even that song was received incredibly well by the audience.
Although Jepsen is probably best known for her sugary sweet songs about crushes, the most emotionally grabbing songs in the set came sequentially with “Tonight I’m Getting Over You,” a kiss-off anthem directed at a relationship that never was, and “Your Type,” in which she sings, once again, about an unrequited love, but admits, “I still love you, I’m sorry I’m sorry I love you / I didn’t mean to say what I said / I miss you I mean it I tried not to feel it / But I can’t get you out of my head.” The appeal of Jepsen’s music comes from the incredible relatability of her songs. You can go out for a night on the town with your friends and dance the night away with an attractive stranger to get over your ex, but getting over an intense crush isn’t that easy. Over the course of two songs, Jepsen perfectly captured that part of human emotion and the agony.
The evening did have a couple of stumbling blocks. However, Full House‘s Danny Tanner came by to clean things up. Bob Saget, who had been performing at the Pabst Theater earlier in the night, came out on stage in what Jepsen called the best moment of her life. The two performed the Full House theme song, which Jepsen sings for the Fuller House reboot. What could have been a charming moment seemed largely lost on those in the audience, most of whom never really cared for Full House and likely aren’t that nostalgic for the ’90s. “Good Time,” a song off Kiss Jepsen recorded with Owl City, managed to improve on the album version, but still lacked the energy behind the rest of the set.
Ultimately, Jepsen provided the crowd with an evening that felt in step with the persona presented in her songs. She is the woman who wants an adventure and to enjoy every single moment with a man. It was clear to even the most cynical of attendees that she seemed to enjoy the nearly 90-minute set with her fans. Even if she never finds the commercial and viral success of “Call Me Maybe” again, she will still have an audience willing to be there and forget about the world for a while.