On Sept. 19, Katy Perry begins Witness: The Tour in Montreal, kicking off an 85-date trek around the world including 51 North American dates. But for those who may not be able to attend one of Perry's shows, the tour's sponsor Xfinity is bringing the experience straight to your home.
Comcast announces today (Sept. 13) that its Xfinity brand is launching a new On-Demand destination in partnership with Perry, through which fans who are Xfinity X1 customers can access behind-the-scenes content from Witness: The Tour, along with music videos and never-before-seen interviews. Essentially, the digital hub has all the Katy Perry content any KatyCat could want, from her entire catalog of hits to "The Making Of" episodes that show how her some of her most iconic videos like "Firework" and "California Gurls" came together -- and yes, even an appearance from Left Shark.
Perhaps the best part about the Xfinity fan destination is that it will feature footage from every North American show on the Witness Tour, including backstage access and videos of fans. So if you attend one of Perry's shows, you may get see yourself on TV; but if you can't make it to a show, you can feel like you were part of the action anyway.
"My tour only hits so many cities, and sometimes even my most passionate fans aren't able to join me live for one reason or the other," Perry tells Billboard. "It means a lot to me for all of my fans, no matter what their situation, to feel like they can come along for the ride and join the fun. There’s so much more that goes on in a tour than the pictures you see of the show the next day.
"I love that Xfinity X1 will be a place where I can give fans weekly glimpses into all the different facets of tour," she continues. "Not just the work of it, but also the fun. It’s a real peek behind the curtain, and up-close-and-personal access to me throughout the tour. It’s just like you’re on tour with me!"
Take a look at an example of the destination below.
Ahead of the tour kickoff and launch of the Xfinity On Demand destination, Perry chatted with Billboard via email to share some of her favorite tour memories, what she's looking forward to about Witness: The Tour, and how her latest trek is going to be "a feast for the eyes." Check out what she had to say.
What can you tell me about the Witness Tour? How would you describe what it's like, especially to someone who may have never seen you before?
Witness: The Tour is a tour full of all of the songs you know, love and want to hear, plus new moments from the [new] record. Some songs have been given modern updates, and I will be introducing you to larger-than-life worlds -- you won’t want to blink because you might miss a dazzling display! Hopefully this show will bring an array of emotions.
How does what you have prepared for the Witness Tour compare to the California Dreams and Prismatic World Tours?
Witness: The Tour is The California Dreams Tour and the Prismatic World Tour matured, but we still dip in and out of moments of playfulness and light-heartedness. I generally never take myself too seriously, but there are definitely some modern mature moments to this tour.
What Witness songs are you most excited to bring to life and perform?
There are a lot of new songs that have become really fun numbers. Some of my personal favorites off the record are “Hey Hey Hey,” "Déjà Vu," and “Power." I bring out huge, angelic wings for “Power,” which represent the chorus of that song. “Roulette" is a really big number. “Swish Swish" is an interactive game with the audience, which will be really fun.
What are you hoping fans take away from this show or how do you hope they feel upon leaving the Witness Tour?
I hope they feel connected to the community of music, and to the person next to them. I imagine people will be using their phones to take pictures and Instagrams, etc., but hopefully they can laugh and sing while doing that. Music makes people not feel like such strangers when they like the same songs and start singing together with the person next to them. It’s a night of a lot of favorite songs, but also a few new ones. My shows have always been a feast for the eyes. It’s the definition of musical spectacle.
Do you think touring and your experiences on the road have impacted who you are as an artist and the kind of music you've been making?
Absolutely! Making eye contact, touching hands, and singing the songs with the audience is one of the most rewarding experiences for me. I get to travel the world and see the different tastes and songs that people respond to, and really get out of the bubble that the studio can sometimes be. I love really getting out and meeting the people, whether it’s at a show, or when I visit local Boys & Girls Clubs as part of my ticket giveaway initiative. It’s all about the connection and getting to know the listener better and being a witness for them.
What have been some of your favorite fan encounters and why?
I’ve grown up with the KatyCats, and touring is a fun way to reconnect with them again. Even though I don’t do paid M&Gs, I always make time for true fans. I love to hear their stories and what the music has meant to them, to encourage them -- and at the same time, they inspire me with their stories.
As one example, the girl who always wore the quirkiest outfits was someone I wrote a letter of recommendation for to get into art school, and she has since interned and worked for some of our favorite designers. Another KatyCat works at Sirius, and the last time I was there for an interview, she was the one who greeted me at the door and brought me in to the studio. It’s nice to see them succeed and achieve their dreams as well.
That's amazing! What have been some of your favorite fan gifts you've received?
Anything handmade - I love handmade stuff. I like tchotchkes, dolls and things I can put around my makeup mirror during the tour. I open my makeup mirror every day, and there are little moments around the world that remind me how creative and kind the fans are. Some of my favorites have been knit baked beans, bobbleheads of me, and handmade patches.
Have you had a standout crowd or sing-along you'll never forget?
I’m grateful to be playing any place around the world, but Brazil takes the cake for being the most passionate music lovers. They will sing outside of your hotel room through the night. There’s been many times I’ve been to Brazil and have woken up in the night hearing them sing songs from the record.
Would you say this tour is the one you're most looking forward to or you feel most confident about?
I would say this tour is about an evolution. When I started out, a lot of my fans were 13 and now they’re in their early 20s, so almost 10 years later, it’s time for me to have an evolution. It’s mature, but it’s still fun. It’s sexy and intelligent and fun at the same time. It’s not just one thing, and you never know what you’re going to get when you come to a show.