* Prices may differ from that shown
"I hope that it's going to engage all of your senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch" - Katy Perry
Sight and sound needs no explanation, but as for the others... As well as there being a array of candy available to buy, the entire arena was fragranced like candy floss and berries [Katy's next perfume will be called 'Meow' and, since it's inspired by Candyfornia, I imagine this what was used to scent the air]. I'm not sure about touch - fondling the T-shirts from the merchandise stands or should we have all been feeling each other up?
The fun started before the concert started: it all kicks of when the man who mans the lighting rigs climbs the rope ladder up to his perch... Dressed as Batman, while the Batman theme tune plays [maybe this was just a Halloween thing? Update; it was I've just seen the show again in Vegas and they didn't do it there].
Then shortly before Katy herself comes onstage a dancer came out to throw bags of sweets to the audience and she was soon joined by another dancer who had a candy striped rocket-launcher-type thing, which he used to fire more sweets to the rear of the standing arena, to give those audience members a chance to grab a souvenir [I can't really imagine being too thrilled if someone pointed a rocket launcher in my direction - candy striped or not].
* * *
The concert follows a single storyline, so what follows is almost a musical, not just a case of random sets. The storyline follows a girl who lives in a colorless world working for a mean old butcher. One night while searching for her missing pet cat she crawls though a air vent and ends up in the magical land of Candyfornia [like the California Gurls music video]... Will Katy find her cat and the love of her life, the Baker's Boy?
The California Gurls inspired candy decored stage doesn't change. There are three screens to the rear of the stage which display rainbows, sweets, cats and other cute images that are appropriate for each song. There is a bigger screen on each side of the stage that show the concert-standard close up shots of Katy for those sat far away from the stage.
If you didn't get the hints by now, you are left in no doubt that the concert is a happy, cute, poppy love affair after Katy's lively opening songs TEENAGE DREAM and HUMMINGBIRD HEARTBEAT. They get the audience singing and dancing, as well as setting the tone and pace for the evening.
Next up is WAKING UP IN VEGAS. Katy and her dancers throw fake money to the audience and this song is accompanied by dancers dressed as a human slot machine, showgirls and an Elvis Presley impersonator.
She leaves the stage briefly for a costume change while a video interlude shows Katy taking a shortcut that leads her into a candy forest where she meets two naughty mimes', who come out and join her on stage to perform UR SO GAY.
I was bit surprised that Katy choose to perform UR SO GAY. The song is about Katy using the word gay as a insult to a boyfriend of hers, and it caused offense in the lesbian and gay communities, so it was a unexpected inclusion on her setlist - especially for her Manchester concert. Quite a few people did get up and leave; maybe it was just to go to the bar and sit out that song, but I didn't notice lots of people coming back again.
At the end of the song Katy takes a bite of the mimes magical brownie, which will be important later.
Katy is feeling strange and flirty, meaning hat the next few songs and a quick interaction with the audience is going to be a bit saucier. So, after a onstage wardrobe change, it's time for PEACOCK.
I can't stand the song, but it is catchy and is fun performed live. I've not been able to get it out of my head since. I loved the jazz intro to the next song, I KISSED A GIRL, as it breathes new energy into the overplayed original mix. She makes sure that the audience can see her wedding ring and changes the line "hope my boyfriend don't mind it" to "hope my husband don't mind it" as well.
At the end of the song Katy 'faints' and is carried off-stage by a dancer...
The audience watches a video interlude, that reveals that the mimes' brownie has transformed Katy into a catwoman, a plan executed by the villainous butcher.
This character transformation is used to allow Katy to come back on-stage to perform her angier tracks, kicking of with CIRCLE THE DRAIN. For this track Katy stages a battle against her dancers, who are now dressed as butchers. I thought that she might change the lylics as she must have known that loads of younger children would be in the audience, but she doesn't.
Katy then performs E.T., which whilst not a angery track origionally, has a rawness to it performed live. This darker segnant closes with WHO AM I LIVING FOR. During this song the dancers use elastic strings to strap up Katy and by the end of the song she is left on the ground, captured.
Luckily her two backup singers 'save' her and, after undergoing another on-stage wardrobe change, Katy launches into what she has called her favoute track in interviews; PEARL. During this song she sits on the backs of two aerialists and is lifted into the air.
After a brief video interlude telling us how the effect of the magical brownies has now worn off, Katy reappears on stage sitting on a swing to perform NOT LIKE THE MOVIES. During the performance, Katy is lifted high above the stage as images of cartoons kissing are projected behind her. I don't think her vocals suit the slow music on the album version of this track, but her shouty vocals suit the live music perfectly. It makes me love the actual song more.
Katy then descends to the stage and picks her guitar to perform an acoustic version of THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY. This another one of Katy's songs that I don't find interesting on her album, but again the live music elevates my opinion of the song. At the end of the song Katy, still with her guitar, stands on a pink cloud, which moves over the standing audience during THINKING OF YOU, allowing the entire arena to see her up close. She also threw bags of sweets out to the audience as she moved over the crowd.
The next section begins with another video interlude in which Katy finally finds the lost Kitty, and now is preparing to head to the Big Bakers City Ball wearing a blue wig to meet her lover, the Baker's Boy.
Undecided on what to wear to the ball, Katy comes on-stage to sing HOT N COLD [the mix contains elements of The Strangeloves single I Want Candy]. During the song Katy makes half a dozen or so quick-change tricks [where a dancer holds up a screen in front of her for a few seconds whilst she removes a layer of clothing]. Katy immediately follows this with LAST FRIDAY NIGHT. During this song, photos of fans are displayed on the screens - a few days before each concert Katy asks concert attendies to send pictures of them on nights out to Twitter if they want them featured on the screens.
At this point Katy is reunited onstage with her cat [when a dancer comes onstage in a purple cat costume]. A thrilled Katy launches into a upbeat cover of Whitney Houston's I WANNA DANCE WITH SOMEBODY [the mix uses elements from Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Want to Have Fun]. In the final verse over a dozen audience members were picked to go up onstage and join in with the dancing and group hugs.
After this, Katy ends CALIFORNIA DREAMS on a high, by contiuing the cheerful vibes and high-energy with a passionate performance of FIREWORK. The song is accompanied by, three guesses, indoor fireworks. This is another song which whips the audience into a frenzy and by having bright lights and explosions,everyone goes wild.
The encore begins with the final interlude of the show, which reveals that Katy has been dreaming all along, but then the Baker's Boy enters her room dressed in a gingerbread costume and starts dancing, before everyone comes onstage again...
The encore song, naturally, is the song which has the music video that inspired Candyfornia; CALIFORNIA GURLS. During the song Katy operates a huge machine with a hose, that she uses to spray the audience with something which looks liked whipped cream.
* * *
Katy herself spent a lot of time chatting to the audience to create a connection. However she was hyper, excited and giggly, so I couldn't understand much of what she said, a mixture of caffeine and having her husband in the audience I guess. I did like her telling us about her favourite Halloween costume; she dressed as a Holy S**t [a poop costume, which she added a halo to].
Katy is not the greatest singer in the world by far - the word that springs to mind is shouty. However, she has a heck of a lot more control over her vocals now [look on YouTube for the eariler performances in her career. Not pretty] and the passion and cheer she has carries across to the audience, so it doesn't matter if it's not perfect.
This year I've seen Kylie, Rihanna [awful, she was hungover and mumbled and let the backing singers carry the first half of the concert] and Britney Spears too, and at all of those concerts I found the sound levels uneven. CALIFORNIA DREAMS is the only concert that didn't seem to have any issues in that regard.
On a personal note; the Katy Perry songs I don't rate are all clustered together, but that is a matter of personal taste and doesn't affect the concert itself.
- - - - - - -
- - - - - - -
Waking Up in Vegas
Ur So Gay
I Kissed a Girl
Circle the Drain
Who Am I Living For?
Not Like the Movies
The One That Got Away
Thinking of You
Hot n Cold
Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)
I Wanna Dance with Somebody