Melanie Martinez’s “K-12” experience


Britni Dunn

Britni Dunn

Melanie Martinez’s show at Terminal 5 on Oct. 29 was completely sold out, with a line of eager fans that stretched around the block. The line was filled with people of all ages, some as young as nine, wearing pastels and platforms. Some die-hard fans even had the classic Martinez look: hair dyed down the middle with two different colors. A surprising number of people were wearing merchandise from Martinez’s 2015 album “Crybaby,” as well as new merchandise from the album “K-12.”

The “K-12” tour kicked off with the substitute teacher, Miss Victoria, giving her first lesson to the crowd before Martinez stepped on stage. Throughout the show, Miss Victoria continued to give lessons—six in total. Each lesson was about how to love yourself and others. Before the first song “Wheels on the Bus,” Miss Victoria asked the audience to put themselves in the shoes of their fellow audience members, to hug them or high five them because we all deserve “the same amount of love and respect that you would like to receive.”

Britni Dunn
Britni Dunn

Martinez performed in front of a giant screen that showed scenes from the album’s accompanying movie “K-12.” The audience was thrown into the world of the sleepaway school from the concept album. After Martinez’s second song, a teacher came on stage, screaming at the audience to be quiet. The performance was meant to make the audience feel as though they were students at “K-12” as well.

Each song was performed like it was in the movie: during “Show and Tell” Martinez was in a huge puppeteer’s box with her hands cuffed. During “Nurses Office,” she was pinned to a hospital bed as the nurses danced around her. In “Strawberry Shortcake,” she pulled out all the stops with a huge inflatable skirt that looked like a frosted cake.

Between each song, there was a brief interlude. Some interludes featured students of “K-12” asking what time class was or lyrically dancing to instrumentals. The students were very interactive and included the crowd in the show. During other interludes, Miss Victoria gave her lessons over the screen as the crowd brimmed with excitement, taking every word in. It made sense that there were interludes between each song because each performance had a new, unique set. One stand-out set was during the song “High School Sweethearts,” in which there was a gigantic moon projected, with Martinez laying in a four-poster bed.

The heavy-hitting song “Orange Juice” featured Martinez and her fellow dancers dancing in front of a huge tree. Dancers circled Martinez under orange lights as she crushed oranges between her fingers and threw them to the audience. The love and message of body positivity radiated from the orange lights as Martinez held her hands out while a projected tree burst into orange juice.

To close the set, Martinez stood on a platform with a large pink dress on and angel wings, looking like a genuine angel as lights shone down on her for the soft, reassuring piece “Recess.” During the last chorus, pink confetti fell from the ceiling, leaving fans screaming at the scene. Martinez thanked the crowd and walked off stage in her extravagant dress.

Miss Victoria then appeared on the screen and gave the audience an assignment before she left for good. She asked the audience to write down 10 things they would not tolerate in their lives anymore and burn it, expelling the energy of the toxic people or situations in their lives. She then asked the crowd to write down 10 things they would like to see manifest in their lives and set it by their bed to read each morning. This “homework” assignment summed up the message of the tour: to love oneself and others to manifest positive energy.

For the encore, Martinez asked, “Are you all ready for some throwbacks?” as the screen projected a book called “Crybaby” flipping pages backward, symbolizing her first album. She then performed three songs from her debut album as the fans went wild. People were on others’ shoulders, screaming lyrics and giving the stage all of their energy.

Britni Dunn
Britni Dunnmusic

For her final song, Martinez performed “Fire Drill,” an exclusive song from the credits of “K-12.” She jumped all over the stage under pink lights, screaming lyrics with her fans. When the song concluded, she introduced each dancer and member of the band, a rare occurrence of recognition for those who are not the star of a tour. Once again, Martinez thanked the crowd, told them she loved them and pranced off the stage.

Fans were in a daze and smiling from ear to ear as they left the packed Hammerstein Ballroom. The positive and loving vibrations followed them out to the street. The concert left a new feeling in the hearts of each audience member and a mission to show love to all.