When I was presented with the opportunity to accompany my 7 year old cousin to her very first pop concert, my reaction was an immediate yes. Despite not being a huge fan of Katy Perry, I had been to her concert in 2014 and knew that she was a great performer, so I figured I would enjoy myself despite not knowing all of her latest tunes.
Our tickets had been purchased a full year ago, and at the time of purchase, the section we were seated in had sold out. However, the first thing I noticed when we arrived at Rod Laver Arena was just how many empty seats surrounded us. It seemed that as the year had gone by, people had decided they were no longer fans of the pop singer, as they failed to show up to claim their seats.
Visually, the show was incredible. There were multiple costume changes, the stage looked amazing and her dancers and back up vocalists were incredible. The stage had a long catwalk which ran all the way into the audience and Perry was constantly engaging with all different sides of the arena, moving up and down the catwalk throughout the whole concert. However, while the visuals were amazing and Perry’s vocals are fantastic – there was something lacking from the performance overall.
There were multiple times throughout the performance where the audience seemed to be completely disengaged, sitting down in their seats and refraining from singing or dancing along. Many of her newer songs were not so well received by most of the audience, while better known hits such as ‘Roar’, ‘Firework’ and ‘California Girls’ got the audience on their feet.
Perry also seemed to go off script a lot, stopping the music several times to talk to the audience for upwards of 10 minutes at a time. This may have been the reason the show ran so late, as it had an advertised finishing time of 10:45 pm, but ended at 11:30 pm. A predominantly child audience surrounded me, with most of the kids asleep on their chairs by 10:30 pm.
There were some definite highlights of the show though – Perry swinging around the stadium on a giant clock before landing in a blow up hand was one of these highlights. Another highlight was when a girl was called up on stage, who then used the opportunity to speak to such a large audience to promote her dance school’s Instagram page.
However, my young cousin didn’t share my feelings about the concert. When it was all over, she grinned at me and said it was “great”. Maybe I’m out of touch.