Britney Spears brought her Femme Fatale tour to Los Angeles' Staples Center last night (June 20), where the packed crowd heard a plethora of hits from the singer's decade-plus career. Among the tunes included in the evening were all five of her Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 hits: "...Baby One More Time," "Womanizer," "3," "Hold It Against Me" and her Rihanna remix duet "S&M."
Spears opened the evening with her Hot 100 No. 1, "Hold It Against Me," and then surprisingly segued into the new "Femme Fatale" U.S. bonus track "Up n' Down."
All told, Spears blazed through a 22-song set (four of those were blended into two separate medleys) that was contained within distinct Femme Fatale-inspired acts. A highlight was the bright and colorful segment that kicked off with the new "Femme" album track "Big Fat Bass." Spears seemed especially engaged with the audience and her dancers, smiling and playful whilst prancing about the stage. Her giddiness was amplified for "How I Roll," when she was rolled out into the center of the audience on a tricked-out, Mini Cooper-like car.
Throughout the evening, the diva was aided by an armada of impossibly athletic and acrobatic dancers. During "He About to Lose Me," Spears was surrounded by four especially daring male dancers, who did their best death-defying Olympian gymnast poses from atop cage-like contraptions high in the air. Their handstands and Cirque du Soleil-esque contortions drew gasps from the impressed crowd.
Fans went nuts after Spears recreated much of her original choreography -- including her memorable slide to the floor and the arms-in-the-air flings -- for a sensual "I'm a Slave 4 U," which was followed by a cover of Madonna's classic 1983 single "Burning Up." The crowd also reacted positively to "Boys," but for possibly a different reason: if you stitched together the fabric that Spears and her dancers were wearing for the slinky number, it might have made a scarf.
"Boys" was followed by the ballad "Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know," which may have been the one song of the night that Spears sang completely live. (Though it was hard to tell whether she was singing along to pre-taped "live" vocals.) Most of the show, as expected, seemed to be lip-synced. Occasionally, especially in the early portion of the night, what sounded like live ad-libs from Spears could be heard.
Some aspects of the show were reminiscent of previous tours by Spears' fellow mega-divas: Madonna and Kylie Minogue. Spears' Japanese anime-esque rendition of "Toxic," complete with battling dancers, brought to mind Madonna's "Sky Fits Heaven" performance from 2001's Drowned World Tour. Additionally, Spears' "(Drop Dead) Beautiful" came with pulse-racing projection imagery of beefcake models that echoed Minogue's "Red Blooded Woman" from her 2005 Showgirl trek.
In the final stretch of the show, the simple staging of her latest single, "I Wanna Go," brought the house down. From the floor to the rafters, the audience jumped up and down along with Spears onstage. Next up was the main-set closer "Womanizer," which seemed a bit flat after the crowd-wowing "I Wanna Go."
Spears' most recent Hot 100 top 10 single, the stomping "Till the World Ends," closed out the night. Nicki Minaj rose from the stage midway through the number to supply her "Femme Fatale Remix" rap before Spears herself ascended to the top of an elaborate multi-story set piece. The song came to a roaring end with an angel-winged Spears flying over the audience, while a brilliant curtain of sparking pyro rained down on the stage behind her.
The Femme Fatale Tour, with Nicki Minaj, Jessie and the Toy Boys and Nervo, next hits Glendale, Ariz. on June 22 and then Anaheim, Calif. on June 24.
Britney Spears' Femme Fatale setlist:
"Hold It Against Me"
"Up n' Down"
"3" / "Piece of Me"
"Big Fat Bass"
"How I Roll"
"Lace and Leather"
"If U Seek Amy"
"(Drop Dead) Beautiful"
"He About to Lose Me"
"Boys" (The Co-Ed Remix)
"Don't Let Me Be the Last to Know"
"...Baby One More Time" / "S&M"
"Trouble for Me"
"I'm a Slave 4 U"
"I Wanna Go"
"Till the World Ends"