"The California Dreams Tour" Starring Katy Perry
BankAtlantic Center, Sunrise
Saturday, June 11
Better than: Getting every single Disney character to sign your autograph book.
Last time America's premier pop chanteuse, Katy Perry, was in South Florida, she played to "a handful of people," she said. Saturday at BankAtlantic Center, she thanked all 12,000 in attendance for supporting her "from the bottom of [her] cotton candy heart."
Robyn was a good opening act. Her space-disco tunes turned the stage into a Nintendo game involving Princess Peach's 16th birthday. Robyn knew how to air-punch, air-box, jump in her five- to seven-foot platforms, do the robot, do the bouncy robot, and just shake it. "Dancing on My Own" got the ready-for-Perry crowd to head-bob. In between "We Dance to the Beat" and "Don't Fucking Tell Me What to Do," Robyn walked across the stage eating a banana she peeled herself -- which was oddly fitting. Robyn's backing band never stopped, which gave BankAtlantic a club feel.
Compared to her opener's slick, mature vibe, Katy Perry sang her heart out like a teenager going through something sweet and innocent and embarrassing. She sang on a giant porch-type swing, and she sang on a giant cotton-candy cloud that glided to the other side of BankAtlantic Center.
Perry seemed determined to prove she can pull off anything -- for "Peacock," while wearing a peacock tail, she mimicked how a peacock would give fellatio with her mic. In front of children, in front of their parents. It was the peacock-tailed backup dancers twirling their feathers as they moved in a circle around her that gave off too much of a Vegas show vibe. It wasn't until the eighth song, "E.T.," that the adults' enthusiasm, shown through standing and screaming, blended in with all the 7- to 13-year-olds.
For that moment, there were no little pink mountains and giant lollipops on the stage, no cotton-candy clouds, no screens of lollipops falling through the sky or of rainbows or sugar lips. BankAtlantic went black. Green and blue laser lights shot out everywhere from the stage, right up to the ceiling (the nosebleeders even got a close-up). Stars traveled at intense speeds on the three screens over the stage. And four male dancers carried Katy Perry over their heads.
"All of a sudden, I am feeling really sexy," Perry said as she wore a giant nonmatching (green, yellow, and orange) boa over her long sequin dress. Sequins were everywhere: on her dresses, shoes, guitar, mic. "Are there any sexy boys in the audience?" she asked. "I want to see the sexy boys! I want to see what's under that T-shirt. Oh, come on." That guy she was talking to in the crowd hid. She went after another. "Oh, yeah," she said as the new guy lifted up his shirt. (Did she call him "puppy"?) He was invited on the stage. Pointing at his frame, she said: "This is all sexy." She gave him the OK to give her a kiss on the cheek, and after the kiss, she booted him off. "He's gonna beat your ass. Go!" she yelled. Her husband, actor Russell Brand, was backstage. Then she started "I Kissed a Girl" as a sexy, slow ballad, showing off her vocals before turning it back into the poppy version.
Perry's songs contained some utter ridiculousness at times: The backup dancers' costumes for "Waking Up in Vegas" -- Vegas flamenco dancers to an Elvis in a white suit and red scarf to a casino dealer -- were not needed. She threw gold coins into the audience. Backup dancers also dressed up as butchers -- Perry was wearing a catsuit -- and giant steaks hung in the air. For "Ur So Gay," Perry and two male mimes played monkey in the middle (Perry the monkey) -- eventually she got the giant brownie. (Perry saying, "I won't be greedy. I just love sweet things," was joyous to hear.) "Ur So Gay" and "Peacock" aren't her strong songs, and the silliness just exacerbated that.
The latter half of the show, when the dancers consistently wore pastel outfits -- the men in different-colored, candy-cane-striped white pants -- it was all much easier to absorb. Actually once you got used to all the pastels, the show was quite amazing. Bubbles came out of the stage. There were fireworks (for the song "Firework," of course). She sprayed soapy water on everyone during "California Gurls." There was confetti. The song "Pearl" showed the smoothness of her voice. (She doesn't need all the crap on stage -- she just wanted it there.)
Arms were waving throughout BankAtlantic for her acoustic cover of Rebecca Black's "Friday." "Hot N Cold" was brilliant. It felt like all 12,000 were jumping. During this song, Perry did six outfit changes inside portable changing stations on the stage to go with the chorus line: "You change your mind/Like a girl changes clothes." The goosebumps moment came when she invited a bunch of little kids to dance on the stage while she covered Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)." After the song, she gave many of them hugs and even took a photo with the last girl up there. The Alice in Wonderland-esque film, which played on the screens and weaved throughout the show, had a fairy-tale ending: It was a love story. Her dream guy was a cupcake salesman. She got him in the end.
Personal bias: I love the song "E.T." And her style completely won me over when she put on the coolest silvery-white sequin gown-robe-dreamcoat I've ever seen.
Random detail: Two sets of five, life-sized, gingerbread-men puppets danced during "California Gurls."
The crowd: Young kids. Tons of them. Teenagers. Tons of them in multicolored wigs and self-made cat outfits. A young woman had giant, pink plastic cupcakes over her chest that turned her B cup into a DD. A neon-piss-yellow-haired guy wore a gingerbread suit (Loved it when I respotted him on the stage for "I Wanna Dance With Somebody".) Where were the aliens?
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Overheard from the guy sitting next to me who left the Jonas Bros concert after only one song because there were too many kids there: "There's way too many fucking people here." He and his two male friends (one of them had the sexiest head bob I have ever seen) left this show after about four songs.
By the way: Katy Perry used to live in Fort Myers.
Waking Up in Vegas
Ur So Gay
I Kissed a Girl
Circle the Drain
Who Am I Living For
Not Like the Movies
Only Girl (Rihanna cover)
Big Pimping (Jay-Z cover)
Friday Play Video (Rebecca Black cover)
Whip My Hair Play Video (Willow cover)
Thinking of You
Intermission (I Want Candy)
Hot N Cold
Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)
I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me) (Whitney Houston cover)