Demi Lovato’s Electric “HOLY FVCK” Tour Sends Shockwaves through Wallingford, CT

Jennifer Moglia, Music Manager

I usually credit emo bands like Sleeping With Sirens and Fall Out Boy for getting me into the music that I like now, but I would be remiss if I didn’t credit the Disney Channel and Nickelodeon artists I listened to growing up as well. From watching Miley Cyrus play guitar as Hannah Montana to singing along to songs from “iCarly” and “Victorious,” for every scary new emotion I had, there was a 30-minute episode and a three-minute original song at the end of it to make me feel better.

Demi Lovato was undoubtedly a huge part of my childhood, and I’m sure that many other teenagers and 20-somethings would say the same. Watching her fall in love and find their voice in the “Camp Rock” movies and do it all over again on “Sonny With A Chance” was one of my favorite things to do, and certainly helped shape who I am today.

The now 30-year-old artist’s eighth studio album “HOLY FVCK” came out about two months ago, with multiple tracks going viral on social media. Lovato pulls no punches with the lyrical content for this record, with “29” about being groomed and “SKIN OF MY TEETH” about going to rehab, both very personal subjects that she explores intimately in these songs.

Right after WQAQ 98.1 FM and the Student Programming Board’s Fall Fest event, I was on my way to the Toyota Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, Connecticut for the first time. For someone who’s picky about their concert venues, I absolutely loved this one.

An employee directed my friend and me to the VIP entrance so we didn’t have to wait in as long of a line (shoutout to her) and once we were inside, all of the merch was on display right next to the entrance. The vibes in the lobby of this venue were very similar to that of the Rocky Top Student Center on York Hill’s campus; Quinnipiac students know what I mean, but for everyone else, it was a warm, cozy, ski lodge-type of feeling.

When we got to our seats, the opening act, Royal & The Serpent, had just started. The only way I can describe this band is a mixture of emo and hyperpop, almost like Paramore meets 100 Gecs, and I absolutely loved them.

I didn’t recognize any songs by them at first, but I was having a blast watching frontwoman Ryan Santiago’s stage presence and unhinged energy play out with the crowd. They closed with “Overwhelmed,” a song that I did recognize for going viral on TikTok a few months ago.

Demi Lovato opened their set with the title track of her new album, and the crowd went absolutely crazy. I’ve never seen so many fans so passionately dedicated to one artist – some screamed “I love you” towards the stage at every chance they could, some dressed up as Lovato’s Disney Channel characters, and some could not stop hugging the person they were with during the more emotional moments.

I liked that the set began with songs from the new album, including “FREAK,” “SUBSTANCE” and “EAT ME,” the latter of which featured opener Royal & The Serpent. The lyrics in “EAT ME” see Demi speaking to their critics, telling everyone that she can’t be the Disney darling they grew up idolizing, and they’ll have to accept her for who she is, a message that I think is definitely worth delivering.

The highlight of the concert for me was hearing Demi, at 30 years old, sing songs that I blasted on my iPod Nano in elementary school, like “Here We Go Again,” “Don’t Forget,” “La La Land” and “Remember December.” They breathed new life into otherwise outdated tracks with her new all-female rock band, including longtime Alice Cooper guitarist Nita Strauss, backing her up.

Demi emphasized the fact that it was a dream come true for them to have a band made up of all women, and that feeling of inclusivity and community was present throughout the whole night. Seeing someone you grew up watching on Disney Channel hold up a pride flag while you’re singing a song about women loving women in a room that holds up to 5000 people is nothing short of a life-changing moment.

The rock versions of Lovato’s radio hits were a pleasant surprise – I never expected to be banging my head to songs like “Confident,” “Sorry Not Sorry,” “Heart Attack,” and “Cool For The Summer,” but if attending Demi Lovato’s “HOLY FVCK” tour has taught me anything, it’s to expect the unexpected. I walked into the Toyota Oakdale Theatre tonight expecting to have fun seeing an artist from my childhood, but I left with my inner child feeling healed and my current self feeling empowered and inspired.