Katy Perry Makes Splashy Brooklyn Debut With 'Prismatic' Tour: Live Review
"If you don't want to sing along," Katy Perry demanded on Thursday night (July 24), "then now is your time to leave." Positioned at the vertex of a triangular stage and swiveling her head in order to see her thousands of fans, Perry made this declaration three songs in to her Prismatic world tour set list, with two No. 1 smashes ("Roar" and "Part of Me") and a No. 2 hit ("Wide Awake") already under he belt. The 29-year-old spent the first movement of the lavish pop spectacle with her voice barely audible, the shrieks of tween girls bouncing off the barriers of Brooklyn's Barclays Center and drowning out everything aside from the steady thwack of the percussion. By the time her proper performance in Brooklyn (not counting the live debut of "Roar" at the MTV VMA's last summer) had ended, Perry had rattled through a dozen Top 5 singles, flexing her hit-making muscles while presenting a stage show worth the many, many screams.
Compared to other pop music arena shows currently running, Perry's Prismatic tour is the most colorful, literally and figuratively. Neon props checkered the stage for nearly two hours on Thursday night, from the glow-in-the-dark jump ropes used during "Roar" to the inflatable convertible driven during "This Is How We Do," from the paint-dripping video montage that introduced "Teenage Dream" to the glow-sticks encompassing the edges of the first of Perry's many outfits, technicolor light bookending her bare midriff.
As outlandish musical pageants go, Perry has spared no expense on her latest arena run, but the excess never felt overwhelming. "I Kissed a Girl," for instance, was filled with crawling people-spiders and buxom mummies chasing Perry around the stage, before two guitarists took flight on harnesses and sparks shot out of the ends of their instruments. Later, Perry and her crew of backup dancers were dressed as felines, performing a Kitty Purry-approved send-up of Madonna's "Vogue" while various cat puns flashed onscreen. Perry is the world's corniest pop superstar, but she embraces that mawkishness and tosses it back at her crowd with complete self-awareness. She may not be "edgy," but the tweens at Barclays Center certainly didn't care, and continued worshiping their idol.
The Prismatic stage was constructed out of a variety of triangles, and of Perry's trio of albums, "PRISM" was naturally leaned upon the most. Hits like "Dark Horse" and "Birthday" dazzled, and upbeat tracks like "Walking on Air" and "International Smile" kept fans out of their seats. The set only lagged during an oddly extended ballad set midway through, in which Perry performed "By The Grace of God," "The One That Got Away," "Legends Never Die" as a duet with her new label signee Ferras and "Unconditionally." The inter-song monologues about the strength of her fans and her undying love for her supporters allowed Perry to speak frankly, but the show's momentum slowed to a halt, and when the ballad set ended, it felt like the entire arena let out a relieved exhalation.
Those who enjoyed Perry's 2011-12 California Dreams arena tour will certainly be enthralled by the Prismatic run, which provides the crowd-pleasing pyrotechnics that the singer's universal anthems deserve. It will be fascinating to watch Perry's career and stage show evolve, and perhaps cater to an older audience on her next major tour; for now, the superstar is at the top of her game, and Prismatic's Brooklyn debut shone bright.