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Concert Reviews:
Katy Perry gives fans a "Dream" concert at the Palace
 

By GARY GRAFF
for Journal Register Newspapers

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AUBURN HILLS -- It wasn't that long ago, just three years, that Katy Perry was plying her trade on the Vans Warped Tour and at hip alt.rock venues such as Clutch Cargos in Pontiac.

But that seemed like a whole other person, or another lifetime, from the Katy Perry who brought her California Dreams Tour to town Tuesday night (June 28) at the Palace.

Perry, to be fair, was all about pop and provocation even back in 2008, when "I Kissed a Girl" and "Ur So Gay" were eyebrow-raising playlist favorites. But the juggernaut that is "Teenage Dream," the 2010 album whose five No. 2 hits made Perry the first artist ever to spend 52 consecutive weeks in the Billboard Top 10, has pushed her into another league. With its elaborate staging, tightly choreographed dance numbers and visual eye-candy, the frothy confection of a show she delivered before 13,000 Katyphiles at the Palace had a lot more in common with fellow summer touring divas like Rihanna and Britney Spears than it did with her previous haunts. She's no longer one of the boys but, rather, all Girl and making no apologies for that.

The nearly two-hour show did manage to straddle a line between silly and naughty. The sexual references were light -- the occasional bump 'n' grind from a dancer, the not-so-double entendres of the "Teenage Dream's" "Peacock" and "Hummingbird Heartbeat." Mostly, Perry and her entourage -- five musicians, two backup singers and eight dancers -- offered frilly, candy-coated spectacle, romping around a lollipop-laden stage that looked like a Candyland board game come to life and bulked up with lasers, trap doors, rising platforms and five video screens.

And a pink, cotton candy-styled cloud that took Perry for a ride above the Palace crowd while she sang a solo acoustic version of "Thinking of You."

There was a story to follow, too, a five-act "Alice in Wonderland"-esque tale in which Perry chased her pet cat (Kitty Perry, 'natch) through a fantasy terrain where she encounters a pair of mimes and takes a bite of a psychedelic brownie that leads into a dark (well, as dark as you can get with a heavily teen and tween fan base) section that included performances of "Circle the Drain," "E.T.," "Who Am I Living For" and "Pearl."

But Perry and company were most successful when the conceptuals were in the background, however, and they were romping through spirited enactments of "Teenage Dream," "Waking Up in Vegas," "Hot N Cold" and "Last Friday Night," as well as "I Kissed a Girl's" jazz-styled opening. Bringing a well-ripped guy named Lawrence on stage before the latter was a speed bump, and an unplugged sequence of covers -- Rihanna's "Only Girl (In the World)," Jay-Z's "Big Pimpin'," Rebecca Black's "Friday" and the Willow Smith Internet sensation "Whip My Hair" -- was deadly. But "Firework" had plenty of the expected indoor pyrotechnics, and the show-closing "California Girls" recreated the song's day-glo video complete with foam guns, confetti and a dancing line of gingerbread men.

And, in case you were worried, Perry does find true love at the end of the show -- with the Baker Boy, dressed up as a gingerbread man himself and bringing cupcakes. She also had the love of the Katy Nation's Detroit chapter, but hopefully they all brushed and flossed before heading off to some sweet dreams -- California, teenage and otherwise -- of their own.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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