This is a bullshit-free review!
Britney Spears descended from the sky at the New Orleans Arena on Tuesday night to rightfully reclaim her role as the Princess of Pop. And Perez was lucky enough to be there!
One of the reasons we decided to go to New Orleans was because we weren't sure if Britney would make it without quitting through to the middle of April, when her Circus tour is scheduled to hit Los Angeles. Heck, we weren't even sure she could pull off opening night.
And she did! Quite well. Much better than we had expected!
Here's how it all went down: The Pussycat Dolls went on at 8:00 P.M. sharp and put on an energetic 40-minute set of hits. Robin Antin, the group's founder, told us that they had just one day and only two hours on stage to reconfigure their arena show to be in-the-round, as is the case with Britney's 3-stage circus.
Backstage we ran into K-Fat and Spears' newly rehired assistant, Felicia Culotta. There was no sense of chaos or panic behind the scenes before Britney went on, which surprised us.
There was a pre-show featuring clowns, martial arts and acrobatics, and Britney went on at approximately 9:20 P.M, playing for about an hour and forty minutes.
A video featuring none other than yours truly, Perez, opened the show, and - we are pleased to say - it was very warmly received!
Spears descended from the roof on an apparatus and kicked things off with the appropriately-themed Circus. And she looked great! The outfits were fab and her body was bangin! Her leg muscles are ridic!
Now, let's get our biggest gripe/problem with the show out of the way. Yes, she lipsynchs during the entire concert. There is no live singing. None!. She recorded vocals to "sound like" live, but they were all canned, pre-taped.
However, it's a Britney Spears show. You expect that!
Even though you expect it, though, it would be nice if at least a handful of the almost 20 song set were live. But, that's not gonna happen.
In exchange for the miming, you do get Spears doing what she does best, dancing. And she's got the moves again!
We were a bit underwhelmed by her live TV appearances performing Womanizer. She seemed drugged and lethargic. She'd walk around from point A to point B, just walking - without much (if any) confidence.
Well, we are pleased to say that Britney has her confidence back! And she seemed to be having a great time throughout the whole show. You could tell by the huge grin that appeared on her face throughout the evening.
She didn't say much. In fact, she didn't speak at all to the audience until after the very last song! We do wish she would have said something earlier, but she didn't have to. She spoke through her body and that infectious smile.
When you see Britney smile, you can't help but smile back!
Her only words the whole night were, "Thank you New Orleans, I love u guys. Did y'all have a good time? Thank you so much," which she said after the final encore, Womanizer.
The show is a non-stop, exhilarating assault on the eyes, a visual extravaganza. And there is a LOT that Britney does. To her credit, she pulled it off! She did it!
She danced like she hasn't danced in a very long time. And, one of the best parts of the evening was that Spears seemed to be clear-headed. She did not appear heavily-sedated or lethargic at all. She was on point!
It being the very first show of the tour, you could tell she was wasn't 100% tight with the choreography yet, but she was more than just going through the motions. She was feeling it and into it!
We had never seen a show in-the-round before and it was a thrilling experience. There is no bad seat in the house! And director Jamie King did an exquisite job of filling the space and being inventive.
The show was fun and fresh and dazzling! There were definitely many more "moving pieces" than in Madonna's recent Sticky & Sweet tour, which King also directed.
There were a few missteps on the production-front, a misguided heavy metal segment and some empty space with two background vocalists that could be filled or tightened after Spears
sings lipsynchs the ballad Everytime.
But, those moments were definitely very few and far between. If you are a Britney fan - or someone who appreciates a big spectacle - then you will love the show. Jamie did an amazing job of giving the concert a true Circus-like feel, incorporating magic, aerialists, clowns, tons of dancers and lots of razzle dazzle.
The most jaw-dropping moment of the show was when Spears performed Breath On Me accompanied by two aerialists, who turned their bodies into a bed and sent Britney flying into the sky with them! But, not just that, she totally was fearless in the air and did some amazing moves herself in the air!
Other highlights include the super-playful If You Seek Amy - with boys and hammers - and an amped up version of …Baby One More Time, which still kills.
From flying sets, smoke, wind, pyro, this concert has it all. But it's biggest asset is definitely Spears herself.
There is something about Britney that makes her truly special. She has that indescribable "it" factor. People are always rooting for her, even when she was at her lowest lows. We genuinely want to see her succeed! We've seen her grow up in front of our eyes, and we love her - shortcomings and all. She may not be perfect, but that's okay. She's our Britney.
And she's back, bitches!
We can't wait to see the show again in Atlanta and Miami and see it get better and better.
Perez, your faithful and honest critic, over and out!
P.S. We do feel confident now that Britney is going to finish out the tour, so we are uber excited we'll see it in Los Angeles too.
Enjoy the Circus!
[Images via WENN.]