August 3, 2010
Katy Perry's latest concert is called the California Dreams tour, and by the diverse sights and sounds at her sold-out show last night at Comerica Theatre, the tour does seem like the wildest, sweetest, most colorful dream Perry could have concocted.
Everything was straight out of a Candy Land game, much like the video for her first single off her sophomore album as a pop artist, Teenage Dreams, "California Gurls". The show started with a mini-movie, just like Britney Spears' tour, but in Perry's version, she was a girl trapped working for a butcher who falls in love with a sweet and much tastier baker. The whole movie, which ran throughout the show, could have been enough time for her to play a couple more songs, but this concert wasn't about the music: it was about showcasing Perry as an all-around performer. She was an actress, a dancer, a fashionista (more than a dozen costume changes!) and, most importantly, someone who wanted to genuinely connect with her fans.
Towards the end of the show, Perry did a mini-acoustic set with some of her band members, talking a ton to the audience. She reminisced about her days at a first grader at Paradise Valley Christian School.
"I love Scottsdale, even though I can't see that damn camel in the mountain," she said. She called herself an Arizonan and said she felt like a kindred spirit with the Valley fans. When the house lights came on, she actually looked at people in the audience, pointing out signs and outfits and talking one-on-one with people. She brought dozens of admirers on-stage to dance with her. For as much success as this 26-year-old, who dominated this year's Grammy Awards, has had, she really is still down-to-earth and doesn't fail to remember the people who got her here.
Her witty banter and funny comments were the best part of the show, but there was plenty to keep fans entertained throughout the night. The set was massive, with giant lollipops jutting out of the center of the stage, candy canes lining the walkway to the platform and real fireworks that shot out during her hit "Firework". There were even aerial rigs that dancers dangled off of.
And then there were the outfit changes. The gown-like getups weren't too flattering, coming across as bulky -- that was just because she had more clothes underneath that she revealed later--during one song, magician quick-change-style. Her dancers and back-up singers changed clothes just as much, and it was really fun to watch the myriad of selections.
It wasn't all eye candy and fun and games. Perry has phenomenal pipes, and she powered through about 20 songs during her 2-hour set, playing all her hits plus tracks from both her current disc and debut album as a pop artist, One of the Boys. Perry's live vocals are very impressive, as she hit high notes, went off on runs and didn't leave much singing up to the audience, instead taking care of her songs herself, on point.
She also did a fun medley of covers during what she called "Katy-oke," doing songs by Rihanna, Jay-Z and Rebecca Black--much better than the originals. Perry broke it down deftly with her own renditions, even switching up her hit "I Kissed a Girl" into a soulful jazzy number that turned into a straight-up rock jam.
The low point of the night was a string of slower, harder songs that started with "Circle the Drain". While that song is strong and powerful, and she delivered it well, that portion of the show seemed disjointed with the rest of the fluffy theme. She performed it in a cat suit, complete with cat ears, but the darkness brought down the energy. The downer track "Who Am I Living For?" should have been left off the set list, and "Not Like the Movies" was too similar a performance to her Grammy performance--not to mention, it's too slow of a song to keep people standing in their seats.
But overall, Perry put on a high-energy spectacle that was just as goofy and fun-loving as her. The music, the acting, the stand-up comedy, the beauty--Perry covered all her bases and really put on a full, fun show that would have made any of her fans happy. Hopefully she'll keep dreaming of new ways to package her sound that were just as entertaining.
Personal Bias: Ever since Perry hugged me a few years ago, it's hard not to like her.
The Crowd: While the majority was teenage girls, there was a lot of diversity, including guys, 20-somethings and moms.
Overheard in the crowd: "If I was a little girl, this show would have been awesome."
Random Notebook Dump: Show opener Robyn was really, really impressive. Her vocals, dance moves and energy were awesome.
Waking Up in Vegas
Ur So Gay
I Kissed a Girl
Circle the Drain
Who Am I Living For?
Not Like the Movies
Only Girl (In the World) (Rihanna cover)
Big Pimpin' (Jay-Z cover)
Friday (Rebecca Black cover)
Whip My Hair (Willow Smith cover)
Thinking of You
Hot n' Cold
Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)
I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me) Whitney Houston cover
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.