Katy Perry brought her massive, cavity-inducing California Dreams Tour to a sold-out crowd at New York's Madison Square Garden last night (Nov. 16). Despite it being the tour's 118th show, Perry and her crew kept fans -- and their often equally excited parents -- on a sugar high for two hours. "Who cares if it's a school night?" Perry asked to chorus of screams.
The show unfolded in between videos of Perry traversing the same Candy Land-like world of the "California Gurls" video. After escaping the clutches of the evil butcher, she goes in search of her cat, Kitty Purry, and the loving arms of the Bakery Boy. On stage, that same world was brought to life with forests of candy canes and lollipops, and topped off with a cotton candy cloud that flew Perry above the crowd for an unplugged rendition of "Thinking Of You."
The entire extravaganza included approximately fourteen costume changes (five alone during "Hot N Cold"), two dancers dressed as mimes, numerous jokes that went over the heads of many audience members (a dancer dressed as a slot machine but referred to as a "slut machine"; a pot brownie given to her by the aforementioned mimes), and one shirtless redhead brought on stage to be semi-groped by Perry herself, kissing him, then scaring him off-stage after discovering her husband was there to surprise her. (Mr. Russell Brand, unfortunately, did not make a cameo.)
Ah, but the music! The concert kicked off with "Teenage Dream" with Perry coming out in a silver dress dotted with spinning peppermint pinwheels. Perry ticked off the rest of her record-tying five No. 1 hits from "Teenage Dream" throughout, including a doozy of a finale that included "Hot N Cold," "Last Friday Night" (with a synth replacing the epic saxophone solo, much to the dismay of a certain reporter), a cover of Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance With Somebody," "Fireworks" -- complete with actual fireworks -- and of course, an encore of "California Gurls."
Other highlights included the Elvis impersonator-assisted "Waking Up In Vegas," and a rendition of "I Kissed A Girl" that started out sounding like a pseudo-jazz club standard before morphing into something surprisingly heavier. Perry's backing band was spot-on throughout, with guitarist Casey Hopper showing his fret board chops on several cuts. While the dancers as well were just as impressive, at one point the two mimes were spun around upside down for several seconds on trapeze bars before landing and getting right back into the swing of things.
The hits got the biggest responses, but the audience remained rapt for ballads like "Not Like The Movies" and -- following a goofy introductory monologue about stalking exes on MySpace (of all places) -- Perry and her band set up Grand Ol' Opry-style, upright bass and all, for a lovely rendition of her new single, "The One That Got Away."
British pop songstress Ellie Goulding opened the show, and though her vocals were muffled at times, songs like "Salt Skin" (with its fantastic, Kanye West's "Power"-sampling drum solo) and "Animal" stood out. The unbelievably named DJ Skeet Skeet kept things rolling after Goulding's set, spinning pop hits before the main event. But of course, the night was all about Katy Perry, who's had a monstrous year and a half -- and a live show certainly worthy of her five No. 1s off "Teenage Dream."