I had a blast at the Prismatic World Tour, and I am smiling as I write this review! My wife and I went to Katy Perry's Prismatic World Tour concert at the Barclay's Center in Brooklyn, NY, USA, on Friday, July 25, 2014. We were seated in the upper section of the venue, near the bottom of Section 215. These seats were far away, but had the advantage of looking at the stage and the main screen.
This is the first time that I have seen Katy Perry live. I have been a fan of Katy Perry since 2009 when I first heard "Hot n Cold." I became a bigger fan of hers a year later when she released "Teenage Dream." As I have posted about before, the title track of that album has special significance to me, and has helped me feel a personal connection to Katy. I also really enjoyed the other singles from that album, especially "Firework." I gained even more admiration for Katy in 2012 when I saw the "Part of Me" movie, and learned much more about her past and present personal life. After seeing the movie, I correctly predicted that with her next album, she would move in a more mature, adult contemporary direction (the singles "Part of Me" and "Wide Awake" hinted at that). I became an even bigger fan of hers in the fall of 2013 when she released "Prism". I then started discovering some of Katy's deeper, more personal songs from her first 2 albums which made me an even bigger fan of hers. Ever since the release of "Prism", I had been looking forward to seeing Katy live which I finally did on July 25! I just can't believe that it is over, and I feel as if I'm coming home from a long anticipated vacation.
What I previously did not like about Katy was some of her more risqué songs and antics. Those both seem to be mostly gone, as I will mention in the review. If you are a parent reading this, and you have a teenager or even a younger child, this concert should be safe for them to attend, especially compared to what other current artists are producing these days.
The concert had 2 opening acts. First was Ferras, who Katy signed to her new record label, Metamorphasis Records. As I posted before, I really like him a lot, and I am glad that Katy is giving him a chance, and I really hope that he makes it big in the music industry. He began singing around 7:15 PM, and I highly recommend that you arrive early enough to hear him. To promote him, after the concert, they gave away free CDs with 3 songs by Ferras, including his very beautiful duet with Katy, Legends Never Die. Unfortunately, the venue was mostly empty when he performed, which somewhat wasted the opportunity to promote his career. Since Katy clearly wanted to promote Ferras, it may have made more sense for him to be the second opening act, when the venue was more full.
Next was Capitol Cities. They began singing around 8:15 PM. The only song of theirs that I was previously familiar with was their hit "Safe and Sound", which I've always liked. I was born in 1979, so I grew up during the 80s. Capitol Cities reminded me very much of the guy bands that were popular during the 80s, so I enjoyed them a lot! A surprise was hearing them cover Madonna's song "Holiday", which further contributed to their 80s sound. I've now enjoyed two opening acts, and the best was yet to come!!
Katy began singing around 9:15 PM. The concert was a lot of fun! The majority of the concert was fun songs with fun visuals, but there also were enough serious, introspective songs. Having said that, Katy's voice is very beautiful, and her voice could have easily carried the entire concert in an acoustic setting. That is something that I look forward to hopefully hearing from Katy in the future. As Katy's grandmother said in the "Part of Me" movie, the music was loud, although it was not painfully so, and Katy's voice could always be very clearly heard.
The concert was divided into 6 sections: Prismatic, Egyptian, Cat-oure, Acoustic, Throwback, and Hyper-Neon, followed by an encore. I will review each section separately.
The first section of the concert was "Prismatic", and it primarily featured inspirational, uplifting songs. The first song of this section, fittingly, was "Roar". This was a great way to start the concert, since it's a fun, energetic song with a positive message, which almost everyone enjoys. This song is also the first song on the "Prism" album, and it does a great job of setting the tone for the album, as well as setting the tone for the concert.
The next 2 songs, interestingly, were the 2 singles from the "Complete Confection": "Part of Me", and "Wide Awake". As I mentioned earlier, when I first heard these two songs in 2012 and saw the movie, I had correctly predicted the direction that Katy would move in. Both of these songs fit in very well with the themes on the "Prism" album. "Part of Me" continues the empowerment theme from "Roar", so it was a fitting follow-up. "Wide Awake" was performed with a dub step arrangement, which worked very well for the song. One of the great things about "Wide Awake" is that it combines a catchy arrangement with very powerful and introspective lyrics, and shows Katy's vulnerable side. I always admired Katy for this song, since it was very brave of her to be so vulnerable, and it is a very beautiful vocal performance.
Next were "This Moment", immediately followed by "Love Me" with no break in between. These two songs, whether fairly or not, have a reputation for being two of the more bland songs from Prism. However, hearing Katy sing them live gave me new appreciation for them. Hearing the words coming straight from Katy's mouth allowed me to really listen to the words of the songs, and to appreciate the inspirational message of these two songs. These songs are both mid-tempo ballads, and like the rest of the concert, Katy sang them very beautifully.
The visuals during this part of the concert had an Egyptian theme. The first song in this section was "Dark Horse", and it included a recorded version of Juicy J's verse. This song got the crowd very excited, and I really enjoyed Katy's performance and the visuals. She began singing the song on what appeared to be a stationary horse, and, to my surprise, the horse started moving!!
Next was "E.T.". I was glad to see that Katy included this song in the concert; I wasn't expecting it (until I saw the setlist a few months ago). It did include Kanye West's opening, but it did not include any of the later, more risqué verses by Kanye West. I like this song mostly for its unique, futuristic, catchy arrangement, and also for Katy's beautiful bridge near the end of the song.
Next was "Legendary Lovers". This song I really like for it's unique Indian arrangement, and Katy's live performance was excellent, as expected! I really hope that this is released as a future single, since it is so unique. I'm honestly not sure what the intended interpretation of this song is, if anything. Various sources have various sexual and/or religious interpretations of the song, and I'm not convinced that any are accurate. The visuals fit the song very well, especially the "blood orange sun".
Next was "I Kissed a Girl". Honestly, I do not like this song, although Katy did perform it well at the concert. I have no idea how this song fits in with the Egyptian theme. The visuals did not fit the song at all. Katy introduced this song saying that it was the song that put her on the map. My wife noticed that Katy gave this song less of an introduction than any of her other songs, and it didn't really with the others. She wonders if perhaps this implies that Katy is somewhat ambivalent about this song, but perhaps sang it out of obligation, since it was the song that made her famous, and many fans would be expecting to hear it. If you are worried about risqué songs: this was really the only risqué song of the concert.
The next section was titled "Cat-oure". I enjoyed this section since, like Katy, I love cats! I suspect that most of Katy's fans do. It started with a cute video interlude showing various cats. Two that I found especially humorous were one with a cat in a pool, and one with a cat jet skiing. Those were humorous since, in real life, cats hate water! Also, one of the videos showed a cat smoking. I was surprised to see that, since I know that Katy doesn't want to promote smoking.
Katy wore a really cute cat costume for this part of the concert. The first song in this section was "Hot n Cold". She sang it with a jazzy arrangement, which worked well for the song. Since this song is so well known by now, it made sense to change up the arrangement. Interestingly, she started near the middle of the song, and did not include the part with "You, PMS, like a b****, I would know". Not sure if that was to avoid risqué content or if it was for time constraints. Maybe a combination of both.
Next was "International Smile", combined with portions of Madonna's song "Vogue". During the first verse, when she names various cities, she substituted "Brooklyn" for "Rio", and said it with a lot of enthusiasm! Interestingly, in the next verse, "New York City" (also with a lot of enthusiasm) was not changed, even though Brooklyn is officially part of New York City. This is one of the many fun songs from "Prism", and hearing it live was even more fun!
Next was the acoustic section of the concert. Katy said that this is her favorite part of the concert, since it allows her to feel close with her audience. This is the part of the concert that I was most looking forward to. The acoustic arrangement shows off the true beauty of her voice. The first song in this section was "By the Grace of God". This is a very beautiful and very powerful ballad. Katy dedicated the song to her Katy Cat fans who have helped her through difficult times in her life, which I found very touching. This is one of the most personal songs that I have ever heard from any artist, and is one of my 2 favorite Prism songs. It is also very touching hearing a mainstream artist remember God in one of her songs. This was clearly a very emotional performance by Katy, especially near the end. One of Katy's strengths, which many people do not realize, is the emotional quality of her voice, which is best heard in a live acoustic setting. I admire her bravery to perform this song, especially given that it was all about her voice, with no visuals to fall back on. Definitely one of the highlights of the concert!
Next was a duet with Ferras, "Legends Never Die". This was a very pleasant surprise, since I had not seen it on any online setlists. Katy's and Ferras's voices worked very well together. As I said earlier, I hope that Ferras makes it big in the industry. This song was a good way to introduce Ferras to the general public, since it is a duet with Katy, which is sure to interest her fans, and it's a song that would appeal to fans of Katy's acoustic ballads.
Next was an emotional, acoustic version of "The One that Got Away". Although this song was released as a up-tempo song on the "Teenage Dream" album, Katy typically performs this song live as an acoustic ballad. Unlike many songs, this is a song that works very well both as an up-tempo song and as a ballad. The acoustic version of this song shows the true emotion behind this song, as well as showing off the beauty of Katy's voice. Katy combined this song with a few lines from "Thinking of You", another very beautiful and emotional ballad. It would have been nice to have heard "Thinking of You" in full, but I do realize that with limited time and so many huge hits, there isn't really the time to include a full version of a minor hit from 2 albums ago, so I was glad that Katy included at least part of that song. By the way, "Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection" includes a live acoustic version of "The One That Got Away".
Next was "Unconditionally", another one of my personal favorites from "Prism". This is another very beautiful power ballad that both shows off the full power of Katy's voice, as well as giving a great message. This song is about any type of love (whether romantic, parent and child, between God and a person, between Katy and her fans, etc.). Katy dedicated this song to her audience, which was very touching. This was another very beautiful performance.
Next was the "Throwback" section of the concert. This started with a "Megamix Dance Party" interlude, presumably during Katy's costume change. This featured several fun dance songs from the 90s. I was a teenager during the 90s, so these songs brought back so many memories! The last song in the dance party was Cece Pennistons song "Finally". It transitioned directly into Katy's next song "Walking on Air", which is a 90s style dance song, often compared to "Finally". This was another very fun performance, again, especially since I was a teenager during the 90s. The visuals during this song featured angels.
Next was "It Takes Two". When I saw the setlist, I was pleasantly surprised to see this song included. I was surprised, since it's a bonus track on the deluxe edition of "Prism", but there were 2 songs on the standard version that were not included in the concert. It was a pleasant surprise, since this is a song with a really good message. I'm not sure why it was in the "Throwback" section, but maybe that was because my wife has commented that it sounds like a song Celine Dion could have sang (a huge compliment), and she was most popular during the 90s.
Next was "This is How We Do", combined with a few verses of "Last Friday Night". This was a very fun performance!! Although this is not my favorite song from the album, it worked very well for a fun, live performance. Definitely a song that is better performed live. The spoken shoutouts in the song were replaced with (I think) a shoutout to each section of the audience. Although, it was hard to hear the shoutouts since the crowd was having so much fun!! This song included a few verses of "Last Friday Night". It was interesting that only a few verses of "Last Friday Night" were included, given that it was Katy's 5th #1 single from "Teenage Dream", a record tying only Michael Jackson nearly 3 decades earlier, when many non-#1 songs were included in full. That may have again been an example of Katy wanting to excise the more risqué content from the song as much as possible, while feeling obligated to include part of the song, since it was the song that made history.
The next section of the concert was called "Hyper Neon". The first song in this section was "Teenage Dream". As I said earlier and have mentioned in the past, this is a song with special meaning to me, so I enjoyed hearing Katy sing it live! This was also the song that back in 2010 first convinced me that Katy was extremely talented both as a vocalist and as a songwriter, far beyond most other current singers. The visuals seemed to show scenes from Katy's past videos, which did not really fit the song. I found them somewhat distracting, but that wasn't a big problem, since I just stopped watching them and just looked at Katy. At the beginning of the song, Katy was lying down on the trap door. Not sure if that had any significance or not. One theory I have is that maybe it showed her trust that the trap door would not fail, to symbolize her trust in a relationship.
Next was "California Gurls". Another very fun performance! This was a fun song that had helped me through stressful times in my life during the summer of 2010, so it was great hearing it live. It did not include Snoop Dogg's somewhat risqué verse. That is fine with me, since the version I was familiar with on the radio in 2010 did not include that verse, so this is the version that has the most meaning for me.
Katy tried to make it look like the concert was over at this point, but we knew it wasn't. Next was "Birthday", one of the most fun performances of the show, complete with balloons and confetti! Katy called up a guy onto the stage who had a birthday in July. I'm sure this was a birthday present he will never forget! Interestingly, his birthday was July 4. I don't know how the person was chosen, but I do wonder if he was chosen due to his July 4 birthday, since that also fit with the next song. Another highlight of this performance was Katy flying above the audience! I was sitting way back in the cheap seats, so I was too far back for the balloons and confetti, and I was never that close to Katy. Although when she was near my area, I did feel as if I was very close with her. I waved to her, though I have no idea if she saw me. As others have said, it was great seeing Katy address sections of the audience that most other artists wouldn't have bothered with. Definitely one of the most fun parts of the concert!!
Finally, we were told to put on our "Prism vision" 3D glasses for "Firework", the final song! This was an amazing visual performance, combined with a song that is both fun and inspirational and uplifting! Another highlight of the concert.
Overall, I really enjoyed the concert a lot. It was one of the most fun nights that I've had in a long time! Like I said, I feel that I've just returned from a vacation that I had been anticipating for a long time! If Katy returns to the New York area, I would definitely consider attending again, if I am able to. I recommend this concert for anyone who is a fan of Katy. You don't even need to be a huge fan to appreciate it, since it is such a fun time. I now somewhat wish that I had attended the California Dreams Tour and even the Hello Katy Tour, although back then, I had never expected that I would become as big a fan of Katy as I did. In the future, I would like to see Katy release an acoustic album and perform an all acoustic concert, in order to experience her in a completely different way.