Katy Perry At Air Canada Centre
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By Nick Krewen
One suspects that if multiple GRAMMY nominee Katy Perry had managed to find a kitchen sink, it would have somehow found its way into her visually stunning Prismatic Tour … because just about everything else did during her two hour extravaganza.
That's not a criticism, just an indication of how much effort the chart-topping singer/songwriter put into pleasing her fans during a big-budget production that could easily find a home on Broadway or in Las Vegas as it does in arenas worldwide.
For the first of three Air Canada Centre concerts on July 18 — she ended up playing to approximately 45,000 people in total — Perry pulled out all the stops with an entrance worthy of "The Lion King": spear-throwing ninja-armored warriors with DayGlo-colored headpieces fought, wrestled and flew through the air as the opening notes of her GRAMMY-nominated anthem “Roar” bellowed through the arena. A prism rose through the floor of the huge, triangular stage that stretched out to penetrate about three-quarters of the way into the venue and opened like a flower as suddenly Perry stood, singing the first of her many No. 1 hits, dressed in a lime-green dressed, her ponytail filled with glowing neon extensions.
It was quite an opening salvo, and the impressive eye candy didn't stop there. Numbers such as “Part Of Me” and “Wide Awake” from 2010's Teenage Dream consisted of her 10 accompanying dancers engaging in even more aerial gymnastics, as Perry herself was elevated high above the crowd, singing on her back, suspended in mid-air.
Equally stunning was the scenario for “Dark Horse” as Perry, dressed as a whip-brandishing Cleopatra and borrowing another idea inspired from "The Lion King" musical — costumes that were brought to life by dancers utilizing rods as sort of extended puppetry — found her astride a golden horse, much to the awe and delight of her adoring crowd.
Each song brought forward a new costume change or an elaborate prop-filled scenario. Perry's disciples — or KatyCats, as they're known — were treated to floating butterflies, sunflower gardens, the cast of "Cats" (at least in terms of tail-stroking costumes during her “Kitty Purry” segment), inflatable cars, tacos, what I'm really hoping was a smiling pile of chocolate ice cream, and the tour-de-force during “Birthday” — Perry holding onto a bouquet of balloons and flying around the arena, right within intimate view of the “cheap seats.”
As for the music, Perry's fine seven-piece band amplified the celebratory pop and dance-driven grooves and beats while complementing the more intimate acoustic moments of songs such as "By The Grace Of God," "The One That Got Away" and "Unconditionally."
By the time "Firework" concluded the evening, Perry had presented perhaps the most colorful concert in existence. It was no doubt a thoroughly entertaining evening, with Perry packing an enviable string of No. 1 hits and a generous portion of her latest album, Prism, into one exciting performance.
It was enough to leave a dedicated KatyCat breathless, and a newcomer a devoted convert.
"Part Of Me"
"This Moment/Love Me"
"I Kissed A Girl"
"Hot N Cold"
"International Smile/Vogue" (Madonna cover)
"By The Grace Of God"
"The One That Got Away/Thinking Of You"
"Walking On Air"
"It Takes Two"
"This Is How We Do/Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)"
(Nick Krewen is the Toronto-based co-author of Music From Far And Wide: Celebrating Forty Years Of The JUNO Awards, a contributor to The Routledge Film Music Sourcebook and has written forThe Toronto Star, TV Guide, Billboard, and Country Music. He was a consultant for the National Film Board's music industry documentary Dream Machine.)