The slightly muted reception to last year’s ‘Witness’ album hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of the UK’s Katy Kats. The first night of her two dates at London’s O2 arena saw thousands of giddy fans lapping up her latest circus. Where ‘Witness’ saw Perry getting serious, her show is still, gloriously, quite Carry On Popstar.
Opening to the electronic whirs of title track ‘Witness’, Perry appears soaring above the stage on a moving star, swathed in shimmering red sequins, before launching into ‘Roulette’.
The action really kicks off, though, when Perry dropped the megalithic ‘Dark Horse’. Expertly performing complex choreography on a series of moving blocks, she then blitzes through a string of her biggest hits.
From ‘Teenage Dream’, straight into ‘Hot N Cold’ and ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)’, Perry barely paused for breath. The show and staging continues to get wackier – during ‘Hot N Cold’ (which was dedicated to those of us who can make a good cup of tea) Perry’s LED crop top starts to illuminate the songs title, and several giant flamingos stomp across the stage during ‘California Gurls’; it’s brilliantly bonkers, and coupled with Perry’s trademark charm, makes it a total hit. An extended comedy routine with Left Shark (which involved them both playing a huge piano like in classic Tom Hanks movie ‘Big’) drags on slightly too long, but as soon as Perry starts on an ’80s-styled version of ‘I Kissed a Girl’, the pace is back.
As the show goes on, it’s the songs from ‘Witness’ fall slightly short. Album tracks like ‘Déjà Vu’ and ‘Tsunami’, although accompanied by gorgeous, futuristic visuals, see the crowd heading to the bar; only to find themselves legging it back when Perry moves onto ‘E.T.’. Among the wacky visuals and dancefloor filling hits, a highlight of the show comes when Perry floated across the stage on a miniature Saturn, accompanied by her acoustic guitar, for a stripped back version of ‘Wide Awake’ – a reminder that the singer easily still has the vocal chops to fill a stadium.
Finishing the show in a flourish of sparkling pyro accompanying the always euphoric ‘Firework’, Perry can be reassured that she’s still at the top of her game. Yes, we could have done without the extended periods of audience interaction in a mockney accent declaring “Heinz means beanz”, and perhaps the internet’s beloved Left Shark should have stayed at the Super Bowl; but in amongst the banter and the gimmicks were countless fizzing pop songs, performed by proper pop star. Visually captivating, vocally impressive, and most importantly, impossibly good fun.