This year’s iTunes Festival closed last night, with Katy Perry and Lady Gaga acting as none-more-glamorous bookends to a star-studded month.
Perry, a natural inhabitant of the gigantic pop arena even when she was playing pubs, didn’t strip things down for the theatre setting. Only two different outfits across 10 songs might count as restrained, but one of them did incorporate a moving LED image of a tiger.
Rotating rainbow-coloured triangles foreshadowed the title of her third album, Prism, due later this month and expected to sell like the hottest of cakes. Lasers, confetti, upward bursts of steam and a pneumatic dancing team all made appearances, though this wasn’t quite business as usual.
An early airing of breezy new song Walking on Air, California Gurls’ carefree funk and the vivid synthpop of Teenage Dream were a false start. Perry has been married and divorced from Russell Brand since she first sang about wanting to be “your teenage dream tonight”. Today she is a worldly woman singing of survival – less Kitty Kat, more Bear Grylls.
Wheeling out a piano and long-term songwriting collaborator Greg Wells for By the Grace of God, she almost went full circle back to her days as teenage Christian singer Katy Hudson – before she kissed that girl and liked it. “By the grace of God I picked myself back up,” she sang on a powerful tune that clearly referenced her doomed marriage.
Recent single Roar – her fourth number one here and remarkably her eighth in the US – treated the self-help theme with more of her trademark wink.
“I’ve got the eye of the tiger,” she bellowed from within a makeshift boxing ring, then jumped a skipping rope with some skill. She didn’t play the underdog for long. Thankfully for the pop world, she’s back on the prowl.