By Anya Whitlock
Artist: Katy Perry
Date / Venue: Friday December 19th, Vector Arena, Auckland
The giggly neon explosion of Katy Perry fans had taken hold of the streets of Auckland long before reaching the doors to the Vector Arena. Excitement breeds more excitement and rickshaw bicycles blasting her tunes and masses of blue wigged Tweens present obstacles to returning my date (my 6 year old niece) back to her parents in one piece.
Tove Lo from Sweden is the warm up and ticks all the pop boxes... Gorgeous, manufactured, talented and comes up overall decidedly average. The graphics, back up drummers and light show just save it for me.
There is a huge wait for Katy Perry to come on stage during which my niece crawls onto my lap and falls asleep. The Mexican waves, screaming and city of flashing Katy cat ears apparently being not enough stimulation for the younger audiences.
After 40 minutes black floods the arena and mohawked glow stick warriors emerge from the ground, side of stage and fly from ceiling. Katy Perry emerges from a myriad of co2 blasts in front of a pyramid, which drops away for the grand reveal. She's squiggled with glow wire undulating through every colour of the spectrum. I try to wake up my niece to hear her favourite song 'Roar'. The geometric animal graphics are beautiful and intricate. The lighting and synchronisation of the performers is truly world class.
The stage set up is cool, a massive "V" shaped catwalk segregating rich children and competition winners into the middle. The thin end of the "V" has been widened to create a mini stage in the centre of the arena, which is put to great use later in the show for the sentimental songs.
Katy is on form and her pitch is incredible for all the running around she is doing, a concert like this is a pretty incredible feat of endurance and she does a good job at keeping the energy high. I can't help but think of the moment in her movie where she is crying behind stage right up until the moment she goes on and find myself pondering throughout the concert what really lies behind the colorful charade.
Back to the show now and hydraulic revolving platforms and various structures transform the stage into a pop playground. Katy starts cheerleader-with-tourettes-like motivational speeches the 3rd song in, and are frequent throughout the show both in the middle of and in between songs.
'Supernatural Alien' is worth a mention with two acrobats on a suspended on a twisting turning diamond structure Cirque du Solei style and finishing with Katy being hoisted into the air underneath it by the belt, singing away while arched backward and spinning pretty damn fast.
We then went back in time to Egypt, which happened to have hot gladiator back up dancers, picking the ladies up and frequently making sure Katy's skirt was hitched up high enough.
'I Kissed A Girl' was pretty funny... The back up dancers had mummy (as in bandages and undead) fat suits on, that were only fat in the bum and boobs. Two guitar players flew around the stage and I couldn't help but wonder how they got to this concept... Well we've done it all with this damn song and we're so sick of it, this is what's happening now ok team?
Next up was the tap dancing kitties complete with to scale scratch mansions as stage dressing during 'Hot n Cold'. Costumes were completely over the top, cheesy and awesome. Katy's bright pink cat suit with plunging neckline to her navel was my niece's favourite outfit. Mine was the dancing can of sardines next to her, with a close second being the mouse that threw huge chunks of cheese to fend off the other cats.
There we're many musical interlude tributes to other musicians including Madonna and Snoop Doggthroughout the show. Katy really knows how to take people on a journey. Many of the transitions between songs we're filled in clever ways, with story, light and graphic. The hyped up beginning and main body of the show ebbing away to a lullaby for 'By The Grace Of God'.
A 2-hour extravaganza was too much for my tiny companion so we headed home just before the finale. Unfortunately we weren't able to make use of our 3d Katy Perry glasses, which I waited 30mins in the merchandise line to receive... I assume it was for an unforgettable psychedelic light and colour uppercut to the frontal lobe. But we had had our fill of overblown candy coated pop for the evening and went home to have our dreams filled with the extraordinary world that is Katy Perry.
Katy Perry is also playing the Vector Arena tonight for another sold out performance!