Katy Perry delivers Vancouver sheer bliss and shows pop stars how it's done
At Rogers Arena on Tuesday, September 9
Not that she wants or needs your pity, but it can’t be easy being Katy Perry. As we saw in her 2012 concert film Part of Me, just because everything looks flawless on the surface doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty of turmoil within.
Consider the indignity having been married to professional horndog Russell Brand, and then going two rounds in the tabloids with walking penis John Mayer. Imagine being kicked off Sesame Street for shoving your partially exposed world-famous knockers in Elmo’s face. Think what it would be like to have that famously nasty skank Taylor Swift accusing you of stealing her backup dancers.
And, mostly, consider having to top yourself every time you take a massive Vegas-style spectacle out on the road and into North America’s finer hockey rinks. The last time Katy Perry pulled into Vancouver, her California Dreams tour wasn’t so much a concert as a shock-and-awe spectacle. Think Candy Land lollipop forests, gyrating Elvises, and dancing gingerbread men, plus cannons shooting endless wads of white foam. Most memorably of all, there was also an eat-your-heart-out–David Copperfield end segment where Perry somehow changed dresses a half-dozen times on-stage in the span of three minutes, including once in a three-second glitter shower.
So what did we get this time with the Prismatic World Tour? Well, for a start, an older and wiser pop star, with the singer at one point acknowledging that her fans are still with her as she approaches her 30th birthday. We got a more infectiously charismatic Perry with a deeper catalogue who’s better at connecting with a crowd than she was three years ago. And, most importantly, we got an A-list multimedia blowout that was impossible not to love, even if you wouldn’t know Katy Perry from Linda Perry or Perry Solkowski.
Understanding the importance of starting these things with a bang, America’s Other Pop Music Sweetheart rose out of the stage in a Luxor Casino–black pyramid. Launching into “Roar”, she quickly took her place beside of a phalanx of dancers sporting neon-lit glass Mohawks, finishing things up with an illuminated skipping-rope routine that suggested she probably did pretty well in P.E. back in high school.
Forgetting for a second the retina-frying laser displays and massive Terminator-style jaguars on the massive video backdrop, the first genuine holy-shit moment took place four songs into the show. After briefly disappearing backstage for a costume change, Perry again rose out of the stage with her legs clamped around a godlike stallion. And no, we’re not talking about Mayer re-entering the picture. Dressed like Isis ready for a night of clubbing in old Egypt, Perry rode her giant golden steed to centre stage during “Dark Horse”, emerald-green cobras, 24-karat cat people, and that guy who pimps Ramses condoms swaying to the beat on the video portion of the proceedings.
That folded seamlessly into something that looked like The Mummy as reimagined by Sir Mix-a-Lot. As Perry proudly announced that she was going to sing the song that put her on the map, a gaggle of bandaged creatures with watermelon-sized cans and Hindenburg-issue booties shook it to “I Kissed a Girl.” If you've got an anaconda that don’t want none unless someone's got buns hon, it was three minutes of sheer bliss.
On her last appearance in town, Perry spent a good part of the night shrieking “How you doing Vancouver?”, which admittedly was better than “Hello, Cleveland”, but eventually wore thin. This time she was not only a regular Chatty Cathy, but one who was clearly up on current events. After venturing that she was about to ask a controversial question, she enquired as to whether there was a teacher’s strike going on. When the response was a shrieked yes, she suggested that her predominantly young and female fans had no excuse not to party.
And party they did. By the time it was all over, Perry had flown around the hockey rink while tethered to a bunch of fake balloons for “Birthday”, taken a stroll 30 feet above the stage for “Walking on Air”, indulged in a Flashdance-style shower in powdered milk for a bump ’n’ grind “Hot N Cold”, and generally showed Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Shitney Brears how it’s done.
Impressively, there was something for everyone. Kids were hauled on-stage for impromptu pizza parties and birthday celebrations. Moms got the opportunity to get out of the house and dance in their seats with a freedom they hadn't enjoyed since the reign of Debbie Gibson. As if the endless parade of skintight body suits weren't enough, dads were also treated to a loving look at the headliner's proudly displayed taco.
Being bored wasn't an option, and not just because things ended with a fireworks display straight out of Vancouver's famous Festival of Fight.
It might not be easy being Katy Perry, but there’s no denying that she’s pretty goddamn good at it.
Sep 10, 2014 at 4:28pm
Maybe I'm just overly sensitive to language that describes women in disparaging terms, but surely a laudatory review of Katy Perry's concert could've been written without calling another female pop musician a "famously nasty skank."
Sep 10, 2014 at 5:25pm
The comment about Taylor Swift was ironic.
Sep 10, 2014 at 7:00pm
It was the best concert I've ever been to. I am a mom, who escorted her teenaged daughter to the concert, and I wasn't hyped about it before I got there. However, she had me at "Roar" and it just went straight uphill from there. Awesome. What a voice. What a performer.
Sep 10, 2014 at 11:26pm
Mike Usinger is a genius
Sep 11, 2014 at 8:42am
Great review apart from the skank remark - point is, I thought that Mike Usinger would be too cool to rock out to Katy Perry, who I used to think was godawful - "UR SO GAY" - WTF? - until I noticed that her songs were super catchy and that she was writing a lot of them. Sounds like the show was awesome!
Sep 11, 2014 at 8:56am
Her voice is auto tuned, she is singing into a computer and that machine is doing the rest. Please be a good parent and inform your child that she is a fake singer but a real performer. Perhaps if you have time show your daughter some real music from artists who don't use computers to sing or at least make sure she knows the difference. There are far too many kids today that are misinformed as to what is real and what is not.
Audio engineer who works there.
Sep 11, 2014 at 5:46pm
She was amazing i cannot stop thinking about it. The best part was where i sat was right at the tip of the stage it was nice seeing her right in front of me. I highly recommend watching her concert you will be blown away by her voice and stage performances.
Sep 11, 2014 at 7:13pm
Who cares? She had a good time! She loved it!
Sep 11, 2014 at 9:28pm
Whatever Katy is not shy about Drama either. They both need to get over for the fans but those dancers where contracted and should have known better they we're being selfish and looking out for $$ if anyone should be hated its them they would probably leave Katy for Gaga next and the cycle goes on.
Sep 11, 2014 at 9:31pm
Who gives a shit? Kids don't care whether or not their favorite musician's voice is auto tuned. Do you really think they sit there after discovering the artist is a sham, and all of a sudden decide to NOT like the person's music anymore?
Instead of trying to burst bubbles, use your time to acquire some interpersonal skills. No wonder engineers have the highest percentage of Asperger Syndrome out of any profession; this coming from a guy whose family is full of them (engineers, not Asperger's)