Ten years ago, a cheeky pop star broke the mold with her provocative debut single "I Kissed a Girl." Katy Perry has built a colorful identity that's sometimes sassy, sometimes sweet and mostly unapologetic. Her latest record, Witness, is a progressive album that reinforces defiance and self-confidence while also revealing vulnerability and maturity.
In concert Sunday at Dallas' American Airlines Center, Perry showed off her quirky, larger-than-life style with bright, '80s-inspired costumes and storybook backdrops. Clad in a futuristic gold suit — kind of like an edgy C-3PO, come to think of it — and a fresh pixie cut for her first few songs, Perry strutted up and down the expansive catwalk as her dancers and props rotated around her. And that's all fine, but what really mattered is whether she could maintain the spotlight during an over-stimulated show.
And she certainly did. Among the costumes, flutters of confetti and a stadium filled with shrieking fans, Perry's voice demanded attention. She hit the soaring vocal runs in "Dark Horse" without hesitation or backing tracks, which offered a dramatic and exhilarating build. Whether she was dancing along with her crew or skipping across the stage, Perry's singing never seemed to be sacrificed.
In her second ensemble of the night, Perry didn't hesitate to make fun of herself when she came out in an LED tube top only to discover that half of it wasn't working.
"We knew this day would come," she said, "when my boobs wouldn't work." She laughed it off and strapped on an electric guitar for a sped-up version of "Hot n Cold."
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With four records out, Perry had plenty of songs to choose from in the two-hour set. She deemed songs like "Thinking of You" as "vintage" and altered most of the older tracks to vary from the recorded versions by changing the pace, style or sound. Floating above the crowd on a Saturn-shaped throne, Perry played a stunning acoustic version of "Thinking of You" that gave her a chance to show off her demanding, rafter-reaching vocals.
In a fun connection with the crowd, Perry invited two fans on stage to play games. The moment turned sentimental when Perry asked one of the fans, a 10-year-old girl, what she would wish for if she could have anything. "I wish for no bullies," the girl said, as a surprised Perry hugged her young admirer repeatedly.
After four costume changes and a satisfyingly eclectic set list, the bubbly pop star performed current single "Swish Swish," a cool, thumping song that addresses her haters with swagger. Swaying and leaping through a giant basketball hoop, Perry became a prop inside her larger-than-life set.
Relentless and just as powerful as her first note, Perry ended with dynamic renditions of "Roar" and "Firework." And her notes were as explosive as the fireworks shooting from the stage, accompanied by an entire arena singing her empowering anthems.
Ten years in, Perry has continued to be a bold performer who balances a girl-next-door quality with international superstardom. Whether you're a Katy Perry fan (or you're Team Taylor), this California girl seems to have moved past the drama and found her own storyline.