A few thousand junior high girls, their moms and roughly seven guys showed up for Monday night’s Ashlee Simpson show at the Santa Barbara Bowl. While no tabloid-worthy mishaps occurred, one thing was more then evident at the first stop of her national summer tour — the younger Simpson sister remains completely unworthy of the adulation her surprisingly loyal fan base rains down upon her.
Warming up for Simpson was the latest star of an MTV reality show, Ashley Parker Angel. Long story short, the show worked and the crowd at the Bowl, though excited to see a reality TV star, seemed slightly let down when he rushed through a 25-minute set, threw in the obligatory “be my friend on myspace” plea and walked off the stage, giving the performance the feeling of a quickie radio fest appearance rather than an actual direct support set.
Just as the sun set over the hills, the house lights went down, cell phone cameras went up and 3,000 teenage girls launched into near Beatle-mania shrieks as Ashlee Simpson, fresh off a nose job and sporting blonde extensions, emerged on the impressive stage.
As for the big question, was she lip synching? Sadly enough, she was not. In fact, her voice, though not capable of much range, sounded strong and stayed that way for the whole set. That’s not to say that she is now somehow an amazing singer. Simpson was wisely backed by not one, but two female singers who handled the hard parts.
In terms of the show, though, it was as expected. Awful pop anthems delivered unconvincingly, uncomfortable suggestive dance moves, text book crowd interaction and a back up band trying too hard to be cool.
If the night had any value at all it could be found in the crowd. Regardless of what was happening on stage, the concert provided a positive outlet for a ton of young girls who spent the night singing, laughing, dancing and generally having a great time.
As for Simpson herself, the night mirrored her whole daddy funded career — it was all too easy. A large and adoring crowd once again assured her that despite being a mediocre singer and performer, she really must deserve all her fame and fortune. One couldn’t help to wonder what a joy it would be to fill the Bowl with a few thousand hostile metal heads all under the false pretense that Slayer would be performing. Then maybe, just maybe, Simpson would finally have the chance to put in a little hard work.