Photos: AEG Presents
The main stage featured an eye-shaped backdrop screen, spookily staring at the crowd of KatyCats - some wearing cat-ear headbands, while a dedicated few dolled up in cotton candy dresses and shark onesies - before the lights dimmed to signal the start of the show. Then inching towards 8.30pm, an ethereal video introduction played on screen, navigating past planets and stars to bring concert-goers into outer space. It might’ve been a Sunday night but it sure didn’t feel like it.
Katy Perry’s Witness World Tour stop at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on Sunday - which marked her fourth time in Singapore - saw her bursting with energy. She ran up and down the pussycat tail shaped stage runway, an entourage of wonderfully in sync backup dancers in tow.
In that moment, it didn’t matter that Katy Perry’s latest studio album “Witness” has been stumbling on the charts for the first time since she skyrocketed into mainstream consciousness a decade ago with frisky and flirty "One of the Boys". The pop sensation knows how to work a stage and the tour must go on. And she wasted no time blasting the confetti, performing "Dark Horse" and new political number "Chained to the Rhythm".
Leading up to her second act, a montage of her childhood and teenage photographs came on. Long-time fans were in for a treat as she sang a string of monster hits from earlier albums. “Teenage Dream”, “Hot N Cold”, and “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F)” among them. Putting a cheeky twist to California Gurls, she teased “you’re not California but you’ve got the weather” and “Singapore girls you’re undeniable”.
Sprinkled with concert candy (read: pole dancing, Pac-Man graphics, oversized salt and pepper shakers, giant puppet flamingos and television heads maneuvered using stilts, and Katy Perry and her troupe grooving on moving podiums), the show was the kind of playful and wacky visual fantasy you’d expect it to be. The gig was adorned with futuristic and retro accents - the star donning an LED bra and blending sexual innuendo-laced “Bon Appetit” with old school Janet Jackson - “What Have You Done For Me Lately”.
Speaking of blasts from the past, on cue to Snoop Dogg’s "California Gurls" rap, Left Shark made a reappearance. The vegetarian mascot became a viral meme for his goofy dance moves during Katy Perry’s Super Bowl Halftime performance back in 2015.
But underneath that “frothy fantasy dream girl-turned-woke” persona, she’s only human and makes sure that you know it. In windows of down-to-earth realness, she takes a break to share that she has dipped in the Marina Bay Sands infinity pool, to acknowledge her short haircut, to rehydrate on stage, to pick up a few phrases (like “hot” and “cold” in Mandarin), and to snap a selfie with a fan.
Like the costume changes, the setlist was fast-paced - going from whimsical to heartfelt. Essentially slowing down for ballads as flashlights lit up the stadium. The pastors’ daughter might not have the strongest set of pipes, but it would’ve taken a stone cold heart not to have feels as she belted out tunes such as "Wide Awake" (armed with an acoustic guitar) and "Into Me You See". Even if the latter involves the lyrics “you broke me wide open, open sesame”.
Of course the night wouldn’t have been complete without the American Idol judge performing "Swish Swish". Katy Perry might have gone on record saying that it’s a message for her haters collectively but it’s hard to ignore that she chose this song to introduce her dancers one by one (as it turns out, one’s half-Singaporean)! In case you've only recently returned from your trip off the grid: her beef with fellow pop star Taylor Swift stems from when she allegedly “poached” three backup dancers from the Red World Tour.
But sometimes it doesn’t matter if a song was a diss track or if it’s weird that the alien in "E.T." looked like a giant mosquito. It’s about the good vibes and having a raucous fun time singing along. The 19-song set wrapped up with empowerment jams "Roar" and "Firework". It was a teenage dream alright. And now we reckon we’re fuelled up on enough motivation to at least get through the work week.