07 June 2015

The world through prism-vision

“We’re going all around the world spreading light,” said Katy Perry on “Vevo Tour Exposed” in describing the Prismatic World Tour, which is in support of her fourth studio album, “Prism.” According to billboard.com, Perry originally intended to make an acoustic record with “depressive shades,” but instead “found inspiration in more positive places.” The site quoted the singer: “All the light hit me and it influenced the songs.”

On May 7, the tour marked its first anniversary and biggest show to date at the Philippine Arena in Bulacan. For two hours, Katy Perry fans, also known as “KatyCats,” were transported into and enraptured by Perry’s Prismatic world.

The show was divided into seven set pieces, each one showcasing Perry’s music and personality. The first part, “Prismatic,” opened with the pop star’s recent #1 single, Roar and immediately raised the room’s energy to stratospheric heights.

Perry came out on stage donning a gladiator-inspired suit, not without a touch of Katy quirkiness — glowing cats eyes on the chest, lights at the seams, and more strands of light flowing from her ponytail. Around her were dancers wielding fluorescent spears.

She was just starting. Next up was the “Egyptian” section where the audience saw their princess riding a mechanical horse around the stage and a giant snake dancing as she sang Dark Horse. At this point, it was difficult not be impressed by the elaborate stage production and be convinced that “more is more.”

After the stormy performances, the playful, campy Katy Perry we knew surfaced, taking on the role of her cat Kitty Purry (or was it the other way around?) in the “Cat-oure” section, which was packed with every visual and aural cat pun and reference — from the theater theme that was reminiscent of the musical, Cats to making a catwalk out of the stage. A highlight within this highlight was Perry sashaying in a glittering fishbone dress to the tune of Madonna’s Vogue. In this part she sang an early hit, Hot N Cold and International Smile, a potential new hit from “Prism.”

The singer displayed both her warmth and sense of humor in the “Acoustic” section, dishing out emotional songs like By the Grace of God and the soaring ballad, Unconditionally. In between she talked to the fans and even asked a die-hard KatyCat to come up on stage and teach her Tagalog.

A video posted by Razel Estrella (@fishpeep) on

“We may have different languages but we both share the love of music. We all came here and went through the traffic because we love music,” she remarked and continued in a more serious tone, “We hope that you come out of this show feeling happier than when you came in.”

The following section, “Throw Back” was all about good ol’ fun. It began with dancers grooving to old-school hip hop beats like Good Vibrations before Perry came back on stage to perform Walking on Air, Last Friday Night and This is How We Do, employing humble props like SUV-sized flying emojis (the poo emoji a crowd favorite) and an inflatable car.

Later on Perry brought the California vibe to the Philippine Arena in “Hyper Neon,” where the audience reveled in Katy classics, Teenage Dream and California Girls. Meanwhile the dancers played with their colorful version of the HOLLYWOOD sign, spelling out words that define our time: YOLO and LOL, among others.

Perry ended the night belting out Firework. Here the audience was encouraged to put on the prism-vision glasses that diffract light — a final kaleidoscopic touch to the spectacle that preceded it.

The Prismatic World Tour had every intention do dazzle and succeeded. It’s a rare concert where one can say, “I’ve never seen anything like it before” alongside “Ah, that’s where my money went.”

It’s one thing to mount a show with a scale as grand as Prismatic’s and quite another to replicate it (from production quality to energy intensity) in 138 cities across different continents. “I’m proud that we never had a major injury or show cancellations,” declared Perry in the middle of the concert. “We get tired, we get homesick, but we show up every single time because we said we will show up.”

On behalf of the 30,000 people who went to the Philippine Arena last Thursday, we thank Katy Perry and her crew, who came over bringing music, humor and, as promised, light.

—Originally published on GIST.PH

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