Katy Perry, Robyn
Verizon Theater in Grand Praire
July 28, 2011
Better than: the petroleum aftertaste of cherry chapstick.
A lingering cotton candy scent filled the Verizon Theater last night as four displays beamed the beginning of the Wizard of Oz-inspired story that would thematically tie together Katy Perry's California Dreams Tour performance. The stage lights revealed an on stage cut-out landscape with lollipops and frosted hills. Perry entered this setting performing the track "Teenage Dream," dressed in a dotted dress with spinning peppermints.
Alas, all of Perry's elegance capsized when she requested that the dudes in the audience take off their shirts for an opportunity to get on stage. She ended up ushering to stage a shirtless grown-up yahoo with scattered tattoos. His name was Jay.
While still in jazz mode, Perry began singing the first chorus of "I Kissed a Girl" before segueing the song back into its original pop-rock mode.
The entire set composed of mimes and trapeze artists, a troupe of Candyland-inspired dancers and a humanoid slot machine -- who's also a slut, as Perry divulged on stage. "Pearl" saw her sitting on an elevated pair of trapeze performers. The piano ballad "Not Like The Movies" saw her sitting on a swinging bench, with cartoons projected behind her. "Hot N Cold" saw her donning a dazzling number of dresses in just a couple of minutes.
After that track, the curtain dropped as Katy and band took the forward arm of the stage for an acoustic "Katy Karaoke" segment, where she leveled with the youth by covering a couple of Youtube meme hits like "Friday" and "Whip My Hair." Katy took a flute for Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin'" and set it to a pillow while a pre-recorded flute kept playing.
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The set continued with the green lasers and strobing text of "E.T." and a dance mashup of suggestive sugary-food pop songs like 69 Boyz's "Tootsie Roll" and Kelis' "Milkshake." The varied set ended with a massive blow-out for "California Gurls" as beach balls, a confetti shower and two whipped-cream cannon electrified the audience.
Scandinavian pop star Robyn opened the night surrounded by a symmetrically-placed backing band in white work-wear. She opened with the track "Fembot," followed by a number of electro tracks off of Body Talk. Guest emcee Rye Rye appeared on stage for the track "You Never Will Be Mine," a nice touch compared to most pop artists, who dance around recorded guest vocals.
Personal Bias: For sure, I'm not Katy Perry's target audience. Robyn, however, fits my demographic pretty well with her sci-fi sound and bug-out dance moves. Most people I talk to praise Robyn for her "authenticity." I just like her electroclash persona. Also, Robyn's ad-lib dancing evoked my youth more than all the implied pot brownies and lollipops Katy had to offer.
Random Note: Former MADTV actor Will Sasso played the big bad butcher in the video segments.
By The Way: The stage pyrotechnics on "Firework" brought me back to the last time I saw sparks at a show. Luckily, this show ended without a hitch. Good times.