Fancy pop spectacle from Katy Perry

Katy Perry performed in an array of costumes on a large stage with fancy set-ups.
Katy Perry performed in an array of costumes on a large stage with fancy set-ups.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR



Singapore Indoor Stadium


When it comes to putting on visual spectacles, American pop singer Katy Perry does not do anything by halves.

Her concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium - part of her global tour in support of her latest album Witness and her fourth show here - was deliciously over-the-top.

Fancy stage set-ups and multiple costume changes are par for the course for any pop show, but in her case, every tune in her 18-song setlist featured some new gimmick.

It is certainly a canny move.

The gig, which was one hour and 50 minutes long, was designed to be an Instagrammer's dream, thus solidifying her status as one of the most popular personalities on social media.

Each eye-popping spectacle, whether it is Perry and her posse of dancers performing on top of constantly moving podiums or giant stilt-walkers roaming around the stage, was made to spark an online flurry of likes.

The large stage featured a backdrop in the shape of a gigantic, life-like eye that stared eerily at the audience before the show started. It also served as a screen that displayed anything from trippy, space-odyssey visuals to a montage of the singer's childhood photos during Teenage Dream.

To let her get closer to the audience, the stage featured a long, snaking runway which she constantly ran along.

While her live band and backing singers wore pink-hued clothes and played pink instruments, her dancers, eight women and two men, went through almost as many costume changes as Perry.

There was plenty of skin-tight and brightly coloured latex bodysuits as well as dresses that drowned in glitter. At one point, Perry came out in a relatively tame pantsuit, only to take off the jacket to reveal an LED bra that flashed the lyrics to her songs.

Then there was an extended cameo by Left Shark, the goofy but lovable costumed mascot whose offbeat choreography at her Super Bowl performance back in 2015 became a meme worldwide.

A viral sensation like that was too good to not bring back, and there was at least one fan in the arena who dressed up as the blue and white mascot.

While most concerts save the confetti shower for the climax, her show featured several of them. These ranged from the usual heart-and star-shaped ones to a bizarre rain of receipts from the fictional "Karma Coffee & Tea" cafe, a reference to Swish Swish's lyric ("Karma's not a liar/She keeps receipts"), supposedly a dig at fellow pop star, and friend-turned-enemy, Taylor Swift.

Perry was clearly in a chirpy mood and she genuinely seemed to enjoy herself at the show, rattling off her past experiences in Singapore, including her dip in the infinity pool atop Marina Bay Sands.

One segment where she attempted to have a fan teach her local languages went on for a bit too long though.

Sure, she can be accused of favouring style over substance. While older hits such as I Kissed A Girl, Teenage Dream, Firework and Roar held their own, the weaker songs off Witness, such as Bon Appetit and Tsunami, seemed to use the bombastic song-and-dance routines as a crutch for their mediocrity.

But there is no denying that Perry's brand of campy, outsized pop works extremely well as escapist fun on a Sunday night, before a new work week kicks in.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 10, 2018, with the headline 'Fancy pop spectacle from Katy Perry'. Print Edition | Subscribe