One fun aspect of late night music performances is how producers have found new and innovative ways to use the studio’s space. Generally an appearance on The Tonight Show 2021 is going to look a lot different than one from 2011, and not just because of the decor and set design. Now the entire studio can be used instead of just the stage, making a three-minute song feel more conceptual.
Take Demi Lovato and G-Eazy’s rendition of “Breakdown” on Tuesday night (September 28). Centering both singers in front of giant screens and surrounding them with mirrors gives the whole performance a heightened sense of drama, especially when the projections behind the singers contain gossip that starts to feel invasive.
“I miss days when I used to feel like me,” Demi sings early on as stories of their addiction problems envelop the space behind them, literally looming overhead.
G-Eazy, meanwhile, is plagued by gossip clippings about his own personal life—breakups, arrests, and more—as he tries to wade through the noise. “I fight against my demons, but they don’t fight fair,” he sings.
A headline-only performance would probably end up on one note, so the staging of “Breakdown” also uses darkness and light, echoing something G-Eazy plunges into on the track (“All alone in dark space, ain it’s no light in there”). The projections turn into naturalistic images, ending in a serene beach scene and the two performers, who remain at separate ends of the stage for the song, hug each other in an embrace.
It’s all a nice counterbalance to the song’s chorus, where Lovato exclaims, “Oh, I’m in the middle of a breakdown, honey.” At the end, their embrace is clear that no one can do it alone and asking for help is the right thing to do. The staging helps to underline this of course.
“Breakdown” is track 12 on G-Eazy’s latest album, These things happen too, which fell on September 24. Watch his Tonight Show performing with Lovato above.