By Brad Haynes
The preponderance of glowing Katy Perry cat ears (representing the rabid KP fans known as the KatyCats) prior to the beginning of Witness: The Tour signaled the readiness of the Amway Center crowd for the approximately two hour sugar rush of pop sweetness she would be bestow upon them. And they appeared to never be disappointed.
Entering on a floating star staircase before asking Orlando to be her witness, Perry opened with the title track from her latest album and then immediately was climbing a pair of gigantic dice for the show’s second number, “Roulette.” It was a lavish set, with everything red, including Perry’s dazzling sequined gown.
“So nice to see you again Orlando,” she greeted the hometown crowd, which had missed out on her Prismatic Tour. “This weekend’s not quite done yet,” she shouted before launching into “Dark Horse,” one of the string of hits she’s amassed in her 10 year career.
While many of the songs of the night came from her latest album, such as “Chained To The Rhythm” which unleashed some stunning gigantic puppets, the night was a thorough mix of all of her biggest hits. .
Each set in the show was separated by a video segment, giving Perry enough time to change costume, and each set also had its own color theme. The second set, which opened with the smash “Teenage Dream,” was all about pink and found Perry’s amazing backup dancers resembling a pink and geometric approximation of the famous Rockettes.
The crowd went crazy when neon lights lit up with the words hot and cold on Perry’s chest before, well, yes, “Hot and Cold,” accompanied by a pair of oversized dancing flamingos. The big old birds continued along with her for another Teenage Dream smash, “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.).” And “California Gurls,” another dynamo from that album, made humorous use of the infamous Left Shark.
While only 33 years of age, Perry had no problem making fun of her minimal seniority in comparison to other pop counterparts such as Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga, saying, “Grandma’s been doing her yoga,” after completing some onstage acrobatics.
Above all the pastel glitz and glamour on stage, Perry totally knows how to keep it real, and brought the audience into her own life by making a phone call (on the biggest phone you’ve ever seen) to her mother. “My mom turned 70 yesterday and had to evacuate for the fires,” she said before connecting with Mom via the giganta-phone. While mother Mary Hudson is now staying at Perry’s home in Los Angeles, she claimed it was a birthday she would never forget, calling it her “personal pearl harbor day” before proclaiming that “age is an attitude and I am getting younger every day.”
After she hung up she launched into the song she claimed her mother wished she had never written, and the song that put her on the map, “I Kissed A Girl.” Paired with a set of gigantic lips, the song displayed a very acrobatic Perry.
There were numerous exceptionally memorable moments of the night, but one of the most unique was her performance of “Tsunami” that was paired with the incredible pole dancing feats of male dancer Fernando.
Suggestive thorny clams along with a venus fly trap and gigantic salt and pepper shakers gave “Bon Appetit” a novel look, as it was infused nicely with Janet Jackson’s “What Have You Done For Me Lately.”
The planets played a huge part in Perry’s next set, opening with “Wide Awake” while floating above the stage on a planet and strumming her guitar. Dedicating one of her very first songs, “Thinking Of You,” to those fans who have been with her from the beginning, the planet she rode in on began working its way over the audience, before stopping and hovering just above the floor.
Holding a “wishing star,” Perry proved why she is so beloved by fans of all ages when randomly pulling 9-year-old Emma (who burst into tears when she was in Perry’s arms) from the audience and allowing her to make a wish in front of the entire crowd. Saying she wanted to be a writer when she grows up, young Emma’s wish was an admirable one, a wish that world hunger would come to an end.
After one final arcade themed video interlude, Perry emerged with the most colorful and elaborate set of the night, beginning with “Part of Me.”
“Swish Swish” found Perry being dunked in a giant basket as well as bringing an audience member onstage for the biggest game of basketball ever. It was tons of fun, and once again proved how good Perry is at working with the audience. Despite all the pageantry, it’s clear she’s just one of us.
The show concluded with the anthem of empowerment, “Roar” before she was called back onstage for an explosive performance of “Firework.”
While she may be celebrating 10 years in the biz, Perry is as fresh as ever, and seems to have found the perfect sweet spot in front of the crowd. Here’s to the next tour Katy!