A queen of Christmas treated Cleveland to a cheer-filled show on Thursday night.
Mariah Carey brought her Merry Christmas One And All tour to the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse, backed with an army of skilled backup dancers, a live band and a gospel choir. But beyond her multiple costume changes and festive props — and one dancing Santa’s particularly sexy moves — Carey proved her superstar status with her vocal range alone, her voice skyrocketing to jaw-dropping whistle note moments on most songs.
She didn’t amp up her energy much, beyond her voice. The singer took her time striding across stage; she took her time backstage changing out of one glittery dress and into the next; she took her time getting spruced up by the two members of the “Glam Squad,” who fixed her makeup and hair onstage twice during the show; and she took her time reading audience members’ signs and shouting out festive outfits in the crowd (of which there were many).
Every time someone yelled out “I love you,” she would return with an “I love you too.”
In December, Carey was focused on her chart-topping, record-breaking 1994 holiday album Merry Christmas and 2010’s Merry Christmas II You. The two projects made up much of her setlist at the Cleveland show. There was, of course, “All I Want For Christmas Is You” (she saved it for an explosive, confetti snow-filled encore) — and also her now-iconic renditions of classics like “Silent Night,” “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home),” “Joy to the World,” “Jesus Born on this Day” (sung as a duet with Carey’s daughter Monroe) and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”
Though most of the show revolved around her festive originals and covers, the five-time Grammy award winner took a departure midway through her set, cramming in a medley of her other hits, including “Always Be My Baby,” “Dreamlover” and “Fly Like A Bird,” followed up by the sultry “We Belong Together” and the empowering “Hero,” which saw many fans belt out the chorus with the powerhouse singer onstage.
It was a welcome showcase of hits, considering the last time Carey performed in Cleveland was two decades ago, according to setlist.fm records.
But mainly, the evening centered on wholesome holiday songs, complete with snowflakes and jingle bells.
By the way — Carey really embodied that Christmas energy, both on and off the stage. Before the encore, a slideshow of photos showed Carey with her children, going sledding, picking out a Christmas tree, opening gifts and wearing festive jammies. It was a little in-the-moment reminder of what the season should, at its best: gathering with loved ones. Making memories.
And for those in attendance at the Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on Thursday night, they walked home with plenty of new memories, shared together — the lingering notes of well-worn classic Christmas songs still ringing in their ears, long after the concert wrapped up.