Concert Reviews

Last Night: Katy Perry and Robyn at the Verizon Theater

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.

It only became more of a spectacle from here.

After the teasing track "Peacock," Perry appeared clad in a lemonade dress and fuzzy rainbow boa, accompanied by slow, detective-like jazz. She actually looked kind of classy. 

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. 

Other costumes included a demon-tailed catsuit and a white dress with jujubes pasted on. 

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. 

As far as I know, the flute goof was part of the show. 

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. 

DJ Skeet Skeet mixed pop songs while the crowd was finding seats. The DJ mixed an interesting John Legend cover of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" 

Critic's Notebook
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.

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Shahryar Rizvi
Contact: Shahryar Rizvi