PONTIAC, Mich. -- Katy Perry is the girl who would be Queen.
An acknowledged and avowed fan of the veteran British band -- in its Freddie Mercury years, at least -- the 24-year-old pop sensation came onstage Friday night (March 27) at Clutch Cargo's to the strains of the group's hit "Killer Queen." And for her first encore she covered Queen's less well-known "I Think I'm Ready" in a cheerful, Disney-ready arrangement.
With just one album -- albeit a hit one -- under her belt, it's too early to call Perry a queen of pop. But she's definitely a princess in the yes of the crowd that packed Clutch Cargo's, and she carried that mantle creditably over the course of nearly 80 energetic minutes that straddled the line between hard-rocking Warped Tour credibility and old school "TRL" frenzy.
Playing before fans ranging from twentysomethings intrigued by her take on Girl Power to grade school-aged girls who weren't quite tall enough to really see her, Perry traipsed around the stage dressed in a gold lame ball dress while a large inflatable cat surrounded by similarly engorged bananas and strawberries looked on with glowing blue eyes. "You came here to have some (expletive) fun!" she commanded the crowd as she and her white-suited four-piece band ripped through a high-propulsion opening romp through "Fingerprints," the title track from her "One of the Boys" album and "Hot n Cold," though she made the latter -- one of her many man-smashing putdown songs -- a bit more family friendly by doing a couple verses of "The Hokey Pokey" before it.
Throughout the 14-song concert Perry showed more confidence than command, but the latter is something that comes from repertoire deeper than just one album (which she played in its entirety), a cover and an iTunes bonus track ("I Think I'm Ready"). Pacing proved to be the real challenge on Friday; Perry front-loaded the set with rock and had trouble maintaining the momentum with her between-song patter (including a dedication for seemingly every song) and late-show ballads such as "Lost," a solo acoustic version of "Thinking of You" and the airy "I'm Still Breathing."
But Perry was still able to finish with a bang -- both in the main set, tossing giant strawberry-shaped balloons off the stage for "If You Can Afford Me," and during the encores, when she lunged into the front rows during the chart-topping "I Kissed a Girl."
Ultimately it was nothing less, or more, than a good introductory concert, the kind of show that doesn't necessarily blow us away but kindles a desire to check her out again.