Katy Perry puts on award-style spectacle at Consol Energy Center


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If there’s a down­side to be­ing a mega pop star, it’s al­ways hav­ing to fig­ure out how to top your last move — even if you have to bor­row.

For Katy Perry, it was a Cal­i­for­nia Dreams Tour in 2011 that was sug­ary enough to give fans a cav­ity from 200 feet away.

Hav­ing worked through the heart­break of di­vorce, she warned of a darker re­turn for fourth al­bum “Prism,” and the mu­sic was cer­tainly more heavy and puls­ing this time. So was the im­ag­ery. But Katy Perry is still about fun, and that was the gen­eral vibe once again Tues­day night on the sold-out Pris­matic Tour stop at Con­sol Energy Center.

The Cal­i­for­nia Girl was called upon to “Roar” and more. Dur­ing the nearly two-hour spec­ta­cle, she went through nine ward­robe changes, jumped rope, road a me­chan­i­cal horse, swung up­side down and be­came one of the danc­ing cats of Kit­ty­wood.

It was a lot of awards-show flash we’ve seen many times be­fore. Ms. Perry did her best to con­nect with her Ka­ty­cats on as per­sonal a level you can get in an 18,000-seat arena. They were pumped, even do­ing the Wave as they waited what seemed like an eter­nity for her to ar­rive.

She launched the hit pa­rade with a drum-and-bass “Roar,” ris­ing out of a prism she might be able to re­sell to a Pink Floyd trib­ute band, sur­rounded by neon Tro­jan sol­diers. It was all very Madonna, ex­cept for the long mov­ing run­way, and pretty cold and me­chan­i­cal, with no mu­si­cians in sight for “Part of Me” and “Wide Awake.”

The seven-piece band rose out of the floor for the fourth song, “This Mo­ment,” giv­ing it a more le­git con­cert feel, and mov­ing the show to the an­cient Egyp­tian seg­ment with “Dark Horse” and “E.T.”

If you liked the Madonna Su­per Bowl half­time, it was a chance to re­live it with Katy Perry songs.

“I Kissed a Girl,” com­plete with — yes — bub­ble-butt mum­mies, was much harder and de­void of the charm of the orig­i­nal. The band rocked it right into ca­coph­ony, then de­stroyed “Hot N Cold” by turn­ing into a pound­ing vamp. The more overt Madonna nod came on the “In­ter­na­tional Smile” / “Vogue” combo.

She didn't break the ice un­til she emerged in the rain­bow gown and hair to be her charm­ing self and chat with fans about the Amer­i­can Dream, heart­break, gar­den­ing, glu­ten and other stuff. She even brought up an an­gelic young fan and handed her a pizza. In acous­tic mode, she set­tled into the ten­der­ness of pi­ano bal­lad “By the Grace of God,” a weepy “The One That Got Away” and aw­fully awk­ward “Un­con­di­tion­ally.”

The en­ergy picked up again in a much brighter way for the “Walk­ing on Air” high wire act and a fi­nal run of sum­mery hits (“Teen­age Dream,” “Cal­i­for­nia Gurls”), a “Birth­day” party and prism ef­fects for “Fire­work,” send­ing her Ka­ty­cats home with a happy neon glow.

To top this spec­ta­cle, next time she might need a sta­dium with room to land a space­ship.

L.A. synth-pop band Cap­i­tal Ci­ties could be in line to con­tend for “next Bee Gee’s” if an­other disco era were to break out. The quin­tet, fronted by dual sing­ers Ryan Mer­chant and Sebu Si­mo­nian (with the beard) and wear­ing gar­ish match­ing ’70s jack­ets, played a funky open­ing set en­liv­ened by trum­pet and high­lighted by their catchy thump­ing hit “Safe and Sound.”

It was the one song ex­cit­edly re­ceived — de­spite a cover of Madonna’s “Hol­i­day” and the best at­tempt to put over a chant of “I Sold My Bed, But Not My Ste­reo”— so they ended the set with a rave-y re­mix to a cell phone glow.


Scott Mer­vis: smer­vis@post-ga­zette.com; 412-263-2576.

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