KATY PERRY, O2 Arena – Evening Standard, 15 June 2018

An international pop superstar could struggle to stand out in the crowd in London this month. June is positively awash with divas round here, with Shakira, Beyonce, Taylor Swift, Demi Lovato and Camila Cabello all dropping in, plus Ed Sheeran bringing even more crowds and slightly less glamour.

All of which meant that Katy Perry, on a mere pair of arena shows while others are in the stadiums, had to bring her A-game. She did, magnificently. If it flew through the air, she stood on it. If it had a valve, she inflated it to gigantic proportions. Giant puppet flamingos strode, a giant venus flytrap chomped her, a giant tiger’s head roared and she played a game of giant basketball with a volunteer audience dad. He won.

The Witness Tour’s oversized logic culminated in her singing Wide Awake while sitting on a planet. She did everything possible to be seen from row Z, including wearing an LED top that flashed out her lyrical keywords.

We could have done without her ingratiating attempts at an English accent, which ought to have been more accurate given that she was married to Russell Brand for a few minutes, and her wrecking of our best-known advertising slogan. “Heinz meanz beanz!” she yelled. A cameo from Left Shark, a viral moment from her 2015 Super Bowl appearance, became a welcome outstayed.

The spectacle being prepared in the shadows justified the time-killing, however. During I Kissed a Girl, her lesbianism-lite first hit, a pair of vast, startlingly realistic lips appeared. She was lifted slowly by a cable and dropped in.

All of this grand scale madness confirmed that, despite mild attempts to get political on her latest album, among all of pop’s giants Perry is the most fun. That’s a space she can have all to herself.

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