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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, July 15, 2011 - Volume 39 Issue 28
Katy Perry's fireworks dazzle Key Arena
Arts & Entertainment
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Katy Perry's fireworks dazzle Key Arena

by Albert Rodriguez - SGN A&E Writer

Katy Perry
July 2
Key Arena


They came in different colors, shapes, and sizes. They came wearing blue wigs, pink wigs, and daisy dukes with bikinis on top. They came with boyfriends, girlfriends, partners, moms, dads, and small children. They all came, 20,000 of them, to see Katy Perry.

The pop superstar, who on this night earned nine MTV Video Music Award nominations - the most of any artist - sprinkled her sugary magic upon a full house at Key Arena with a show that was candy-themed and dazzlingly sweet.

She exploded from the start, opening with 'Teenage Dream' wearing a white shiny dress adorned with pinwheels and a pair of glittery red shoes, just like Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz, which inspired an intro video played on five large screens just before she appeared. As many times as I've listened to 'Teenage Dream,' it's never sounded this good.

'Hummingbird Heartbeat' was next, followed by 'Waking Up in Vegas' from her first album, One of the Boys. The latter number featured an Elvis look-alike and her dance squad in showgirl outfits.

For 'Ur So Gay,' Perry wore a ruffly blue cocktail dress and matching metallic headpiece as two mime artists danced alongide her, then offered her a pot brownie. Yes, it was that kind of concert - nutty, fun, and unpredictable. She wore a feather ensemble for 'Peacock,' which was highlighted by the aforementioned mimes doubling as trapeze performers.

Perry then paused to scope out the crowd, raucous from beginning to end, and proceeded to invite a young guy to join her onstage, on one condition: that he remove his shirt. The fearless 18-year old named Thomas was escorted shirtless to the platform, where he got his nipple pinched and cheek kissed by the diva.

Wearing a sexy, sheer gown with a tri-colored neon boa, Perry began 'I Kissed a Girl' as a ballad and then boosted the pace to finish it off as a bouncy pop-rock piece. During the song, she slid five feet directly under her guitarist's legs. It came to a close with two female dancers romantically entwined.

Slightly disappointing was 'E.T.,' which featured Perry in a black catsuit and a series of laser lights flashing out to the audience while the lyrics scrolled inside one of three cloud-shaped screens on stage. It lacked the sharpness and thrust of the actual track. 'Not Like the Movies' found the singer-songwriter on a swing as a series of bubbles ascended from both sides of the stage. The stage, by the way, was decorated in lollipops, frosted cupcakes, and candy-cane-painted ramps.

'Some of the coolest people come from Seattle,' stated Perry during a break, and continued by announcing her MTV VMA nominations. 'I'm giving you guys a little extra tonight, just because,' she said, beaming.

The show hit a snag when Perry opted for an acoustic karaoke medley of favorite songs, including Rebecca Black's 'Friday' and Willow Smith's 'Whip My Hair.' It was silly and absorbed too much time. But she made up for it soon after by floating off the ground, literally, on a pink cloud from the stage to the other end of the arena. When she got to the opposite side, she played 'Thinking of You' on a glittery guitar.

Speaking of costume changes, Perry went through seven of them in one song, 'Hot 'n' Cold.' But she kept the same outfit on when she ran through a terrific rendition of 'Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.).' Her cover of Whitney Houston's 'I Wanna Dance With Somebody' was average, though at least it had a good vibe. Perry closed the main set with 'Firework,' complete with - what else - fireworks! The whole crowd sang the words loudly.

This was a surprisingly engaging performance from Katy Perry, who continues to skyrocket much like Lady Gaga. You almost can't compare the two because each has their own style, own vision, and own potential. But whereas Gaga persistently wants to push the envelope and comes across at times as plain weird, Perry seems content to just keep it simple, and keep it real.

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