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Timothy Finn blogs about the Kansas City music scene

Katy Perry unleashes a feast for the eyes at the Sprint Center

08/20/2014 7:01 AM

08/20/2014 12:05 PM

All pop concerts are ultimately about the songs, but Katy Perry’s are about something more, like the barrage of visual stimulants: the costumes, the dancing, the aerial and trapeze feats, the videos, the fireworks, the elaborate props.

Tuesday night, Perry brought her Prismatic Tour to the Sprint Center, drawing a crowd of more than 14,000 fans. For two hours, she and a large ensemble of musicians, dancers and backup singers turned the place into a Technicolor circus — a rampant display of pop music, high-flying acrobatics and campy theater.

The stage was equipped with a two-sided runway shaped like an elongated arrowhead that jutted far into the seats on the floor. It featured conveyor belts and trapdoors into which Perry disappeared several times to execute some of the countless wardrobe changes, re-emerging as yet another character: a whip-cracking Cleopatra who entered the stage riding a huge, animatronic horse; a catwoman clad in a pink leopard-skin suit who eventually douses herself with milk (sparkly confetti) from a giant cup; and an array of cartoon-like characters wearing neon wigs, skirts that glowed in the dark, smiley-face shorts and bra.

During “E.T.,” she sang (or appeared to) while suspended from the ceiling half upside-down. Even members of her five-piece band got into the act: During “I Kissed a Girl,” her two guitar players were hoisted via harnesses high into the air, executing flips as sparks sprayed from their instruments.

There was music, too, though it often felt secondary to the spectacle around it.

The set list was loaded with hits — eight songs from her past two albums alone have topped the Billboard Hot 100 charts — including “I Kissed a Girl,” “California Gurls,” “Teenage Dream,” “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.).”

About halfway through the show, there was a respite from the visual assault. Perry talked about her day off Monday, when she and her crew played for a few hours at Schlitterbahn, the water park in Wyandotte County, and, yes, they rode the Verrückt, the enormous and famous waterslide.

She preached a little, too, in her self-effacing way, about getting over the hard times in life.

After a pizza emerged from one of those trapdoors, she confessed she’s gluten-intolerant and then gave away the pizza to an 11-year-old girl chosen randomly from the crowd. “Your body changes when you’re 29,” she advised the girl as she made off with the pizza.

After that, Perry, two members of her band and her two backup singers performed a few quieter numbers at a satellite stage, including the ballad “The One That Got Away.” Perry strummed an acoustic guitar on that one.

Then it was back to the throbbing disco-pop tunes and the dancing and garish costumes. During “Birthday,” Perry rode a swing festooned with balloons up toward the upper-level seats at the back of the arena. Toward the end of the song, cannons fired salvos of confetti all over the arena.

She followed that with “Firework,” her finale, which included a light show that required the wearing of special glasses handed out before the show. Not everyone had them or wore them, but it didn’t matter.

There were plenty of other spectacles going on, including dancing and real fireworks, to keep everyone entertained.

To reach Timothy Finn, call 816-234-4781 or send email to tfinn@kcstar.com. Follow the Back to Rockville blog on Twitter @kcstarrockville.

SET LIST

Roar; Part of Me; Wide Awake; This Moment/Love Me; Dark Horse; E.T.; Legendary Lovers; I Kissed a Girl; Hot N Cold; International Smile; By the Grace of God; Legends Never Die; The One That Got Away/Thinking of You; Unconditionally; Megamix Dance Party; Walking on Air; It Takes Two; This Is How We Do/Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.); Teenage Dream; California Gurls. Encore: Birthday; Firework.

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