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Concert Reviews:
Katy Perry keeps fans high, dry and happy at The Palace

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Tuesday, August 12, 2014

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AUBURN HILLS -- It's probably safe to say that none of the fans who jammed The Palace for Katy Perry's Primsatic World Tour stop on Monday night, Aug. 11, were sorry it was an indoor show, even in the middle of summer.

The day's non-stop rain -- or as Perry herself called it, "crazy-a** weather" -- certainly would have put a literal and figurative damper on things if the concert were held at, say, the DTE Energy Music Theatre. As it was Perry went on 15 minutes after start time in order to accommodate late arrivals due to traffic, but that didn't at all impact on an unhinged and enormously entertaining spectacle, even if it was at times too much of a good thing.

During her two hours and 10 minutes onstage, Perry -- supported by an entourage of 10 dancers, five musicians and two background singers who did a lot of the show's vocal heavy lifting -- delivered an unapologetically excessive pop diva display of choreography, costuming (a dozen outfit changes), visual effects and hits, with 10 No. 1 singles among the 21 songs Perry played. You got the sense Perry would do most anything to please her Katy Cats, an all-ages audience that could just as easily been coming to Disney on Ice, save for the colorful costumes. She gave a pizza pie to one very poised 12-year-old fan, took selfies with several others and brought a birthday girl named Amber onstage for an extended stay during, of course, birthday.

And then there were the prism glasses distributed to fans as they arrived, which were designed for use during the finale, "Firework," but actually enhanced the show's already jazzing visual impact at any given point of the night.

Following opening sets by synth-pop Ferrar and hot country force Kacey Musgraves, Perry set the kitchen-sink tone from the get-go, emerging from a pyramid at center stage as dancers dressed like jungle centurions swirled around her -- and above her on trapeze swings -- belting out "Roar" from her latest album, "Prism." The song finished with Perry and company performing a flashy jumprope routine before yielding to the urgent, EDM beat of "Part of Me." "I don't care if it's a Monday night. We're gonna turn it up like a Friday," Perry declared before "Wide Awake," and the show moved at a breakneck pace through several "acts" and a series of set pieces ranging from an opulent Egyptian motif (Perry, as Cleopatra, even rode a faux horse during "Dark Horse") to a gleefully "Cat-Oure" segment that looked like a Perry-ized version of Andrew Lloyd Weber, with a bit of Madonna's "Vogue" and a nod to "Flashdance" as she bathed herself in "milk" at the end of "I Kissed a Girl."

Perry and her dancers also made effective use of a triangular stage that jutted deep into the Palace floor, with a general admission pit for fans (think Metallica's Snake Pit) in the middle and a segmented, triangular video screen that showed animated concept pieces throughout the night.

Unfortunately the show stalled during a three-song acoustic segment. A chatty-to-a-fault Perry took the wind right out of her own sails, and the concert didn't really regain its momentum until she kicked into lavishly staged versions of "Teenage Dream" and "California Gurls." Some judicious editing and the trimming of a few songs would definitely have a made a very good thing that much better.

Then again, the idea of too much Perry is anathema to the Katy Cat nation, and Perry was certainly aware and appreciative of that devotion. "Can I just say thank you for still liking me," she noted at one point. "I hope we never break up." Perry needn't worry; rain or shine, outside or in, those fans will likely always be there to hear her roar.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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