And the pop singer’s fans, her loyal animals, were right there with her.
Thursday’s show at Stir Cove marked the first time she performed since announcing new music, her first in five years.
And it was the first time she performed any of those new songs.
When it came time to play “Woman,” Kesha got emotional, stepping away from the microphone as tears streamed from her eyes.
Fans chanted her name and boyfriend and backup singer Brad Ashenfelter gave her a hug. She returned to the microphone to address her fans again.
"It’s been so long since I got to perform new music,” she said. “We’re gonna probably do it. Here’s the thing: It could suck.”
Along with her band, The Creepies, Kesha wailed through her empowerment anthem, singing “I buy my own things, I pay my own bills/these diamond rings, my automobiles/everything I got, I bought it” and the chorus of “I’m a (expletive) woman, baby, that’s right” as fans shouted the words right back at her.
The “Tik Tok” pop singer has been embroiled in lawsuits with former producer, Dr. Luke, but after he was removed as head of her record label, Kesha emerged with news that she’d have a new album, “Rainbow,” coming next month.
Performing “Woman” for an audience of thousands marked a triumphant return.
It was exciting, most of all to Kesha.
She gushed to her fans after, asking how they liked it and grinning ear-to-ear when they cheered.
“It’s the first time we’ve ever performed it. Ever,” she said. “I know that it seems silly I cried… This is a very special night for us.”
Thousands strong, her fans wore glitter and bright colors. They came in groups of girls ready for a night out and crews wearing matching glitter and face paint. They sang every word to songs such as “We R Who We R,” “Dinosaur” and “You Don’t Own Me.”
And when Kesha prepared to perform “Take It Off,” she welcomed fans to take off whatever clothing and toss it onstage. Bras, panties or “whatever,” she said, were welcome.
And they came. Kesha hung bras from her bandmates’ instrument stands and attached a rainbow T-shirt to her mic stand.
As usual, Kesha’s show felt like a big party. On a stage covered in Christmas lights and tinsel, Kesha pranced around and excited fans in a fringed western outfit while her band, The Creepies, played rock versions of her hits behind her.
Only a few songs felt like their original recordings. The Creepies gave “Blow” an almost country vibe and “Boots & Boys” had a thick, funky feel.
When it came time to close the show, Kesha welcomed her fans to get loud, so she could determine exactly how many songs to play.
The Creepies kicked into the keyboard melody of “Tik Tok,” and young fans rushed to the stage as she sang the words, “the party don’t start til I walk in.”
Kesha’s singers ran around the stage in mascot animal costumes, confetti and fog blew into the air, and the song’s final chorus came with a shower of glitter and confetti.
She did indeed return for an encore that included “Timber,” her hit collaboration with Pitbull.
Kesha was all smiles as her band played songs both old and new — especially new.
“I want to thank you for sticking with me,” she said.
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Black Label Society | Jan. 3, 2018 | Sokol Auditorium
Good thing I brought my earplugs. Black Label Society (and openers EyeHateGod and Corrosion of Conformity before them) were thunderous. The walls of Sokol Auditorium shook Tuesday as Zakk Wylde lead his band through more than 90 minutes of chugging, completely shredded metal. Read more...
Chris Stapleton | Nov. 20, 2017 | CenturyLink Center
Chris Stapleton wasn’t going to let the last night of the tour be like any other night. To close out this stint on the road, the country star changed things up by bringing out friends, changing up his set list, playing one wild cover and debuting a few previously unheard new songs. Read more...
Garth Brooks | Oct. 23, 2017 | Pinnacle Bank Arena
The stage is where Garth Brooks is meant to be. It’s his home. He owns it. It’s his. And it’s where he reigns as the king of country music. For a few hours in Lincoln, he welcomed us into his home and rained down a litany of smash country songs. Read more...
Ed Sheeran | Sept. 12, 2017 | CenturyLink Center
All he had was his voice, his guitar, his songs and a chorus of voices ringing out from the crowd. And more than 15,000 fans hung on every note. Sheeran played the whole 90-minute show on his own. Read more...
Maha Music Festival | Aug. 19, 2017 | Stinson Park
When the sun went down, Maha Music Festival really heated up. Evening came, but the sky lit up with pulsing light, thumping music and the voices of thousands of screaming fans joyously singing along with Run the Jewels, The Faint and Sleigh Bells. Hip-hop duo Run the Jewels capped off a day of wonderful music with an hour of fast-moving, hard-hitting hip-hop to cap off the best Maha yet. Read more...
Kendrick Lamar | Aug. 18, 2017 | Pinnacle Bank Arena
Kendrick Lamar didn’t need anyone else. He owned the stage all on his own. To chants of “Kendrick! Kendrick! Kendrick!” the rapper appeared onstage at Pinnacle Bank Arena all by himself, and he held down a massive stage without a band, without a DJ and with only his fiery raps to keep a packed house enthralled. Read more...
Coldplay | Aug. 14, 2017 | CenturyLink Center
With a litany of hit songs, a sold-out arena full of fans and a lengthy list of arena tricks, the British rock band made a stunning show. Coldplay’s pop is suited to an arena, and the band knows how to work a room. Songs such as “Yellow” and “Clocks” were welcomed by more than 13,000 fans at the arena. Read more...
Green Day | Aug. 12, 2017 | CenturyLink Center
That’s how you do a rock show. Before the first note was even played, Green Day was inciting the audience into a rock ’n’ roll riot, and they didn’t stop for two hours. The punk rock giants and Rock and Roll Hall of Famers screamed through more than two dozen songs in front of a packed house of more than 9,500 dedicated fans, which sang every word to songs like “Basket Case” and “Revolution Radio.” Read more...
Paul McCartney | July 23, 2017 | CenturyLink Center
Sir Paul did it all. He played guitar, bass, keyboards and piano. He commanded the stage with his band and on his own. He did his first-ever recording from his first band and his most recent, which was made with pop and hip-hop stars. In Omaha, Paul McCartney did old, new and everything in between, and his fans loved him for it. Read more...
Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit | July 5, 2017 | SumTur Amphitheater
In front of 1,600, country, rock and folk singer-songwriter Jason Isbell worked through nearly two hours of music that featured the raw “Cover Me Up,” the blistering rock of “Decoration Day” or the empowerment of “White Man’s World.” Read more...
311 | June 30, 2017 | Downtown Lincoln
For one night, 311 was home. The band returned to its home state to perform in the shadow of the State Capitol, and a home crowd showed up Friday to pack the downtown streets and groove with the hybrid rock, reggae and rap group. Read more...
Soundgarden | May 12, 2017 | Westfair Amphitheater
Soundgarden is a versatile and dynamic band, at once thundering hard rock and soaring anthemic grunge. The band can be virtuosic and melodic while still being achingly heavy. They’ve penned instant hits as well as plenty of weirdo rock jams, all of which they played at 89.7 The River's Rockfest. Read more...
Billy Joel | March 26, 2017 | Pinnacle Bank Arena
We know the songs. We know the words. We know “Piano Man” from the first delicate notes through the final rousing chorus. And so did the packed house at Pinnacle Bank Arena — sold out, nearly 15,000 strong and there to, you know, forget about life for a while. Read more...