Katy Perry helped London’s iTunes Festival go out with a “Roar” last night as she played four “Prism previews” from her forthcoming third album.
As the names of previous headliners flashed past on the big screen (Elton John, Vampire Weekend, the Pixies, to name a few), suddenly the curtain dropped, revealing the star clad in a tartan mini-skirt and enacting an impressive dance routine involving a massive, billowing sheet and a wind machine. Katy Perry was in the house – and the house, it seemed, was in Katy Perry. She opened with her new single, the Nineties-style piano house rave “Walking on Air,” followed by electronic versions of “California Gurls” and “Teenage Dream.”
The stage set was relatively low-key by Perry’s previous, dancing-gingerbread-men standards, but she still brought some arena-style production to the Roundhouse, a theater in North London. The brooding electronic-soaked “Dark Horse,” saw her dancers perform an elaborate routine on large plastic cubes before Perry pledged to “get down and dirty” on “Part of Me.” At one point, Perry even operated her own special effects, ripping open a packet of confetti over the wind machine to create a ticker tape storm during “Wide Awake.”
The only completely unfamiliar song was “By the Grace of God,” introduced as “an exclusive song that I’ve never sang before and is nowhere on the Internet.” That wasn’t the case for long with Apple live-streaming the gig – it featured lyrics about the suicidal thoughts she experienced post-split with ex-husband Russell Brand, before concluding: “By the grace of God / I picked myself back up . . . I looked in the mirror and decided to stay.”
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The night came to a close with Perry re-interpreting the first half of “Firework” (dedicated to “anyone who has ever felt less”) as a moody ballad before another costume change that saw her re-enact the MTV VMAs routine in a hastily assembled boxing ring. Judging by her skipping-and-shadowboxing dance routine, Perry doesn’t pack much of a right hook, but “Roar” still proved to be a knockout pop punch, placating a crowd that seemed surprised at the shortness of the set. With no one actually paying for a ticket, however, plus strong support sets from Icona Pop and Iggy Azalea, there were no complaints and plenty of cheers as Perry threw her jump rope into the crowd, saluted from the top of a podium and ran off stage. She left without an encore, but still wearing the belt of the reigning heavyweight pop champion of the world.
“Walking on Air”
“I Kissed a Girl”
“Part of Me”
“By the Grace of God”