Published on theMusic.com.au, Nov 2014
The first thing you need to know about a Katy Perry show is it is likely you will never experience another production as grand and enthralling ever again.
As the masses filed in dressed like they were attending a KP-themed Halloween party and opener Betty Who, aka Jessica Newham kicked off proceedings, the prism-shaped stage making its way into the audience and the accompanying triangular backing screens didn’t look like anything too special, but things would escalate quickly. With synth-infused pop and big vocals, a 6’4” Newham bounced around to tracks off her debut record, Take Me When You Go, which had dropped the previous day. Although born and raised and Australia, it was only her second show in the country, after spending several years honing her craft at the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston.
Set highlight came in the form of Somebody Loves You, which became a hit when it accompanied a viral YouTube video of a gentleman proposing to his partner with grand choreographed danced moves. The production of Newham’s set wasn’t anywhere near as elaborate, but her uplifting, upbeat vibes produce new age stadium pop at its finest.
In support of Perry’s latest record, The Prismatic World Tour was split into seven sections, and it was a Prismatic-themed introduction that kicked off her second ever show in Perth. Futuristic fluoro warriors with space tridents stormed the stage to booming drums and began to dance, while three large triangles lying flat on the floor slowly rose to form a 3D prism centre stage. Contagious excitement began to Roar throughout the arena when the triangle separated to reveal Katy Perry inside. Skipping ropes filled with colourful LED lights appeared at the song’s end, and Perry and her backing dancers began working out in sync. Every area of the stage was set up in way that it could rise or act as an escalator, and when Perry was left alone at the end of Part Of Me, it became evident that her backing band was yet to surface, yet still audible.
“If you don’t like germs, tonight is not your night because we are going to be sweating on each other,” she said, pitting the ‘patient’ audience against the previous night’s, and it was at This Momentthat her band surfaced. Screaming Love Me until the lights faded, she disappeared backstage for the second act, returning upon aDark Horse in ancient Egyptian attire with guest vocalist Juicy J appearing as an animated floating head on the mammoth backing screen for his lines. E.T. saw backing dancers transform into acrobats, and suspend above the stage within a prism, spinning and weaving between one another, before Perry herself was harnessed to the floating object and lifted to dangerous heights to bellow the final chorus.
You might be surprised to learn that more phones were recording for Kissed A Girl than Perry’s extravagant airborne venture, but mummified female dancers clumsily running amok on the stage were a fine addition to the song’s theme. Shredding solos and bursts of fire consumed interest while Perry prepared for the next phase.
High rolling cats doing yoga, buying designer products and sipping cocktails poolside pulled focus on the screens, while shadows shuffled around the stage moving oversized cat playgrounds and more into place. Dressed from head-to-toe in a cat suit, a solo dancer returned, tap-dancing to Kitty Purry’s re-entrance on a giant ball of thread. While the gag only lasted for slower, bluesy-themed renditions of International Smile and Hot N Cold, it showcased purfectly (sorry) her brand of quirky pop.
Another change of pace saw the stage transform into a garden with a novelty-sized daisy, with Perry – dressed like a sparkling white Red Riding Hood – leading an acoustic trilogy of hits. “Are most of you seeing me for the first time? That is so intimidating,” she said, tucking her head away from view. “I’ve changed since the movie. I don’t have blue hair anymore.”
The intimate crowd-banter continued. “There’s a guy who is dressed like me in my Roar video,” she said with a disgruntled, spine-tingling shiver. She grabbed his phone and took a selfie with him, before kicking off By The Grace Of God. She went through the contents of her garden at home, before being interrupted. “I do not grow that, whoever yelled that. Is that even legal? I definitely don’t grow that,” she laughed.
A fan left loving her Unconditionally when invited onstage to claim a pizza and selfie, and it was time to kick things back into gear with a throw back set led with an ‘80s disco-style dance party, thrusting punters into temporary stardom with a Dance Cam, but it wasn’t long before Perry snatched the spotlight back, once again strapping into a harness for some Walking On Air. Floats made their way out into the audience like the annual US Macy’s Day Parade, only it was a giant taco, poop, handbag and more that did the rounds to a mash of This Is How We Do and TGIF, while Perry cruised around the stage in an inflatable car.
Hyper Neon kicked in to close the set to the sounds of Teenage Dream, California Gurls and Birthday, the latter of the three seeing another punter invited on stage to sit upon a massive cake while Perry floated around the arena on a harness surrounded by balloons while confetti fell from the roof. But there was no way the night was over without one of the biggest hits showing its face.
“It’s time for Prism Vision,” a voice echoed through the blackened arena, over and over again, instructing punters to put on paper glasses handed out upon entry. The pink paper cut-outs intensified the chaotic lightshow and helped build the set finale to an epic high as fireworks shot from the rafters (fittingly for Firework), solidifying The Prismatic World Tour as one of the best productions of its kind. Perry may have missed WA on all of her other Australian tours, but anyone in attendance would attest that her Perth debut was worth the wait.