Katy Perry roared last night. On the first night of her Prismatic World Tour she entertained, thrilled and serenaded - nobody went home unhappy.
Undeterred by the fact that she chose to upset loads of Perryonistas south of the border and not play Dublin, your intrepid reporter found himself barreling northwards on the M1 yesterday afternoon. The Odyessy Arena is a mere two hours drive away and easy to get to, being in the docklands area of Belfast. It's an arena typical of many in the US and not unlike Madison Square Garden in its layout. Everyone gets a great view and Perry did her best to reach into corners that many simply wouldn't bother with.
This is Perry's first tour since 2011's California Dreams outing and The Prismatic tour will take her across three continents - Europe, America and finally Australia. Before last night's show Katy said, "The tour is going to be fantastic. I always try to take it to the next level. She also emphasised that she would be "very close" to the audience during the tour. "The stage is different, it's fresh, it's clean and it's actually in the middle of the audience."
True to her word the stage was set up with a huge "V" reaching into the middle of the arena. To get truly "intimate" with Katy one has to purchase a ticket inside the "V" which is tastefully called "The Reflection Section". Not lucky enough to be in there we slummed it in the stands but in fairness the stage worked great and gave Katy some semblance of intimacy with the majority of the audience.
While I would admit not being exactly the target audience for this show (a slight bit old, male and firmly parking any Spinal Tap influences) I was accompanied by my daughter who is the 'bang on' demographic. The lights went down - let the screaming begin. The hors d'ourvre was a tight and ballsy three-piece called Icona Pop who had a good few well worked and catchy songs and delivered them with energy in a setting that couldn't have been easy.
If the starter warmed us up, little could have prepared us for the feast that followed. Perry hit the stage at ten past nine. The sound was good - crisp, clear, loud and enough bass to trouble your dinner. Banks of video screens shaped like pyramids crackled into life. I looked over at my daughter. She was simply mesmerised.
She kicked into 'Roar' first off and for entertainment we started in what I thought was Central America with warrior dancers and sacrificial pyramids and what I presumed was going to be an Aztec/Inca theme. I was way wrong. It soon became clear during 'Heart of Me', 'Wide Awake' and 'Dark Horse' that Katy was actually Cleopatra in ancient Egypt and the pyramid theme was just that. To my daughter's delight here were lots of cats everywhere. Did this fit with the Egyptian theme? Yes but relax, I was trying way too hard. Let the cosmos, the light and the gods take over.....
Without spoiling the show for the millions that will surely see it there followed two good hours of non stop action, costume changes, trapeze artists, inflatables, props of every kind and shape and despite catching a cold on her stay in Belfast and being a bit under the weather, Perry oozed professionalism. For the lovers of detail the performance continued with ET, I Kissed A Girl "it felt so wrong" (accompanied by dancers with enormous bums and boobs that seemed to be a lovely slag on the Kardashians).
The stage in the centre of the arena came into its own during the slow set. On a stage adorned with sunflowers, she played unaccompanied acoustic guitar on 'The One That Got Away' then 'Double Rainbow' and back to the main stage she pressed the foot to the metal for the final wind up. Mention here has to go to the dancers and backing singers whose timing and enthusiasm was spot on particularly for a first night.
She sent us reeling to the car park with a truly explosive version of 'Firework'. And by the time we got out of the car park I thought I saw the dawn come up.
In great physical shape Katy Perry looked and delivered a knock out tonight. For a sceptical and cynical aul' fella I was truly impressed. It was good, honest entertainment - it brought pantomime, an explosion of colour and a bit of Californian sunshine to the docklands of Belfast.
On the drive home I started chatting to her in the back seat about her favourite parts of the show. And then I looked in the rear view mirror and there she was, snooozing away happily and dreaming of being up there one day - belting out a few tunes to a wild, ecstatic crowd, autograph signing. It's what its all about - acts continuing to deliver great musical entertainment - why we all got involved in this crazy business to begin with.
No grumbles, no gripes she was worth every penny. Catch her if you can!
Review by Julian Douglas
Setlist (via setlist.fm)
Part of Me
This Moment / Love Me
I Kissed a Girl
Hot N Cold
(Contains elements of 'Vogue' by Madonna)
By the Grace of God
The One That Got Away / Thinking of You
(Katy asks the crowd would … more)
(90s dance, contains elements … more)
Walking on Air
It Takes Two
This Is How We Do / Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)
Images used with permission via Getty.