Katy Perry - SECC, Glasgow, Tue 5 Apr
The pop princess delights the crowd in Glasgow
SECC, Glasgow, Tue 5 Apr
It was a big disappointment to discover in the days following this show that America’s most full-of-attitude pop princess who isn’t Lady Gaga had been using a crib sheet to get all her local references right. Of course she didn’t learn to call people from Glasgow ‘weegies’ and about the great rivalry between ‘the Rangers’ and ‘the Celtics’ (almost got that one right, Katy) by hanging about in East End boozers before the show, but it’s at least amusing to think of her much more clued-up other half Russell Brand giving her an emergency crash course in Glaswegian.
All she had to do, of course, was mention ‘my husband’ and every girl in the room was screaming their approval. There was a lot of love for Perry too, though, who delivered an extravagant set which was bitter and sweet in equal measure, but shot through with more originality than a production of this size usually offers. Subtitled the California Dreams Tour, it featured a loose narrative of video inserts in which Perry hammed it up to the max through a cupcake-strewn, Wizard of Oz-style fantasy California.
The stage set was similarly overblown, featuring video screens fringed by pink clouds, neon keyboard stands and a troupe of dancer/acrobats springing around the singer. There were some impressive costume changes from Perry, including a massive peacock feather attached to her back for ‘Peacock’, a flapperish lime green dress and purple feather boa for an initially slowed-down version of ‘I Kissed a Girl’ (before which the first guy to take his shirt off got to come up on stage and give Perry a kiss: ‘go figure,’ she remarked cattily, ‘I picked a ginger in Scotland’) and a whole bunch of magic-effect quick changes behind screens and confetti clouds during ‘Hot’n’Cold’.
Not all of Perry’s songs are blessed with such effortless pop appeal, with a few sickly-sweet slower tracks including ‘Who Am I Living For?’ and ‘Not Like the Movies’ contributing to a bit of a midset lull. Yet these were more than balanced out by the convincing rock chick attitude of ‘Circle the Drain’ (chorus: ‘I wanna be your lover / not your fuckin’ mother’), the striking electro oddity ‘E.T.’, a faithful cover of Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’ and the ever-reliable closer ‘California Gurls’. A midset acoustic medley of Rihanna’s ‘Only Girl (In the World)’, Jay-Z’s ‘Big Pimpin’, Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ and Willow Smith’s ‘Whip My Hair’ was another masterful exercise in crowdpleasing, with her declaration that the Jay-Z track ‘goes out to all the neds’ providing possibly the night’s comedy highlight.