Live: Katy Perry Is Soaking In It At The Prudential Center
Finally, after that lengthy justification of why Teenage Dream really did deserve that Album Of The Year nod from NARAS last winter, Perry and her band pulled up some stools to the edge of the stage. "Do you love music like it's another limb, or a sixth sense?" she asked. Rapturous roars from the crowd. This was the intro to her medley of cover songs that included a pitch-shifted version of Rihanna's "Only Girl (In The World)" (the key change made it sound unexpectedly great); the chorus to Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin'" (who knew that we'd hear a Pimp C shout-out at a Katy Perry show); "Whip My Hair" (seriously thought she was about to cover "Airbag" when this particular bit started); and Rebecca Black's "Friday," which the entire arena knew and which the girls behind me were particularly excited to hear.
Perry has taken up "Friday" as a cause, even going so far as to cast Black as the bad girl in her reference-confused video for "Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)" It's easy to see why; not only does doing so appeal to her oh-so-contrarian nature, "Friday," for all its inanity about fun and weekends and such, captures innocently that sort of childlike wonder that Perry is so obsessed with soaking herself in, but can't tone down the dick jokes and look-at-me quasi-bisexuality enough in order to completely capture. (It's also incredibly hooky in a way that Dr. Luke is no doubt studying as he hunkers down in his bunker getting ready for Perry's next album.)
From there we were in the home stretch; Perry climbed on a crowd to sing her weepy ballad "Thinking Of You," covered "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)" in an effort to underscore the total '80sosity, man of "Last Friday Night," and performed some clothes-changing magic tricks during "Hot & Cold" that I'm still trying to figure out. (Seriously, two of her dancers threw confetti at her and, poof, her dress changed. It was one of the few times during the show where I went, "ohhhh," and meant it.)
For the big finish Katy brought out her contribution to the It Gets Better-core canon "Firework," dedicating it to "everybody in the room." "I believe in people," she declared. "Do you believe in people?" This pronouncement was a bit hard to swallow given the lyrical nastiness of "U R So Gay" and "Circle The Drain," but it got the crowd roaring, and yes, I did mumble along with the chorus a couple of times. Becauseto go back to the idea of pop as personaif, say, Ke$ha was performing "Firework," I'd probably have much less of a problem singing along with its declarations of everyone having something special within.
"California Gurls" and a happy ending where Katy found her cat and got her guy (a cute baker with a secret double life as a gingerbread man) closed out the night, and all of Katy's candy pals came onstage, including two guys dressed in those complicated one-person chorus line outfits that I'd only seen in re-enactments of the Village People's act during minor-league baseball games. And then the whipped-cream cannons came out, soaking the people who were closest to the stage in white goo that stubbornly clung to their hair. It was fitting that even as people were making their exit, they'd be walking that line between "gross" and "fun" that Perry teetered over for most of the evening.
Critical bias: I am going to go insane if I don't get "E.T." out of my head before the end of the day.
Overheard: "Fuck you, Katy Perry, I don't have a boyfriend!"
Random notebook dump: The fashions on display at last night's show were almost more impressive than the ones walking around the rotunda at Lady Gaga's concerts, if only because of their ramshackle charmsome young ladies quite successfully replicated the candy-buttons dress and peppermint bustier from the "California Gurls" video, but others were more creative, festooning cut-up t-shirts with puff paint, sporting tutus and taking the "candy" ideal to new conceptual levels. (My favorite: The girl who repurposed her Brownie uniform to be a devotional to her sweet-appreciation skills, complete with chocolate-chip-cookie beret.) How many of these homemade-frock-wearing fans are going to become the next generation of Etsy merchants?
Robyn set list:
Fembot / Bad Gal
Dancing On My Own
We Dance To The Beat / Don't Fucking Tell Me What To Do
Never Will Be Mine (w/Rye Rye)
Call Your Girlfriend
Hang WIth Me
Katy Perry set list:
Waking Up In Vegas
U R So Gay
I Kissed A Girl
Circle The Drain
Who Am I Living For
Not Like The Movies
Only Girl In The World / Big Pimpin' / Friday / Whip My Hair
Thinking Of You
Hot & Cold
Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)
I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)