One thousand six hundred people is a lot. Especially if each of those people has their eyes on you. But when you’ve just wrapped up a year-long stadium tour, it can feel like a small gathering, just as Katy Perry explained on Monday night as she performed at The Theatre at the Ace Hotel as part of the Citi Sound Vault Series. After just two songs, “Hey Hey Hey” and “Chained to the Rhythm,” she began chatting with the crowd about post-Witness tour revelry: “I went to Burning Man, so my brain is mashed potatoes.” However, she also has taken some time to chill out, admitting to eating In-N-Out three times in one week. Most importantly, Perry was enthused about the “intimate” show. “You could smell me,” she joked. She also noted the circumstances reinspired her, which led into the title track of her pop juggernaut album, Teenage Dream.
Perry brought out all the bells and whistles, as she informed the crowd. What was unique for an artist of her caliber, however, was that the set and her outfit remained the same, save for the altering background projection and neon lights outlining the set pieces. The stage was made to look like a glowing cartoonish bedroom with a bright pastel aesthetic. The California native donned a green pixie cut, shiny sneakers and a leopard jumpsuit with a large, ruffled neckline.
She treated the crowd to primarily her hits—and there are a lot of them. Following “Teenage Dream,” Perry sang “Hot N Cold,” which flowed into “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.).” The mashup began with Perry playing a pink electric guitar, which she strummed during the chorus, at a flamingo microphone stand. Just before, Perry spoke with her niece in the crowd. Moments later, when singing “like a bitch” she put her hands over her ears, quickly saying, “Sorry!” When the bridge led into “Last Friday Night,” Perry ditched the guitar for some choreography with her backup singers. Riding off the high of such Perry party favorites, she made an observation: “It’s funny that everybody from New York has relocated to Los Angeles,” adding to the informal coastal feud. While singing “California Gurls,” Perry snatched the blue wig (reminiscent of her Teenage Dream era hair) and invited a fan onstage, the first of three that night, to rap Snoop Dogg’s verse.
The dance party continued with her other Top 40 conquests, including “I Kissed a Girl,” “Dark Horse” and “E.T.” A young woman jumped on the stage for Juicy J’s “Dark Horse” verse, with Perry doing the girl a favor and recording the moment on the girl’s phone. The set relaxed for her cover of Joan Osborne’s “One of Us,” “Thinking of You” and “The One that Got Away.” At the start of this shift, Perry stated, “The music industry is going through something very strange.” She went on to talk about streaming, which led to social media/the Internet and ultimately loneliness. Perry offered for people to stay true to themselves and that though she has her own days where she wants to stay in bed, “I don’t have fear anymore.” To wrap up, she insisted “It’s about connecting with God” (or nature or friends or neighbors) and “it’s about what you grow into.” For someone that took a media tumble, it felt like a moment of reflection and vulnerability.
A smart popstar knows when to turn back on the fun—the escape into happiness. Perry segued into the final chunk of her set, featuring the anthemic “Part of Me” and “Roar.” The final lucky fan to guest on a verse came during the Nicki Minaj rap in “Swish Swish,” who just so happened to be the person wearing the blue wig earlier that evening. One might say he was the best of the guests, lying on the floor with Perry during the verse. They were the next best thing to actually having Minaj come out. Before the final song, Perry thanked the audience and the multitude of people on her team. She made a promise: “I’m gonna keep on doing what I’m doing for the rest of my life, if that’s ok.” By evidence of the cheering, it probably will be. The night closed with “Firework,” sending the audience home with, hopefully, some inspiration. “It’s dedicated to that authentic spark inside of you,” Perry said.
- Hey Hey Hey
- Chained to the Rhythm
- Teenage Dream
- Hot N Cold/ Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)
- California Gurls
- I Kissed a Girl
- Dark Horse
- One of Us (Joan Osborne cover)
- Thinking of You
- The One that Got Away
- Part of Me
- Swish Swish