Live Review: Katy Perry – O2 Academy, Newcastle, August 26th 2009

Katy+Perry+PNG12By now, Katy Perry should really be playing bigger venues with her worldwide fame. However, Newcastle Academy was one of a few cancelled shows, and as her massive Hello Katy Tour rolls into town, there’s a hardcore collective, some waiting as early as 8am for the I Kissed A Girl star; this one’s been anticipated for ages.

Before all that though, the audience is subjected to Sliimy, a would-be Mika from across the channel in France. He takes to the stage with a minion armed with an acoustic guitar, and proceeds to rape the audience of their listening pleasure with empty, light-hearted, and disgustingly flamboyant pop songs. Things should step up with a rendition of Britney Spears’ Womanizer for the crowd, but in retrospect, it just adds to the embarrassment. On record, Sliimy sounds somewhat catchy, with an electro vibe. Live, it’s just dull; the only interesting note being his bizarre look that nobody should be able to pass off. This shambles, thankfully, lasts for a grand total of just 17-minutes. How this man got onto the tour is beyond rational; when your songs beat in time to Old MacDonald Had A Farm, there’s some serious thinking to be done.

During a tiresome 40-minute wait after a lacklustre support, the Academy was given a flashy makeover with a glitzy faux lawn on stage, a sparkly microphone, larger-than-life-sized flamingos and inflatable strawberries, indicating that it was finally time for one of pop’s fastest rising stars, Katy Perry, adorning the stage in her typically kooky style, wearing a tie-dye denim one-piece and white tutu – only something she can pull off – kicking the set off with Fingerprints.

The hits were there, all achieving a rapturous response, including new single Waking Up In Vegas, an incredibly emotionally-driven – and to her credit – solo acoustic version of Thinking of You, as well as party anthem Hot N Cold, inviting one visibly-shaken and starstruck fan to dance with her on stage.

Unsurprisingly, non-singles, such as Mannequin and Self Inflicted, weren’t as well received, but the energy on stage was still there, as she confidently and strongly belted out most of the tunes from her debut full-length, One Of The Boys.

With only one album under her belt, the set was stretched out to just over an hour, thanks to her charismatically quirky in-between-song banter, as well as a few fun covers, including Build Me Up Buttercup and Please Mr. Postman, thrown into the mix.

After dashing off stage, her band members came back sporting Newcastle United strips, while she swiftly returned wearing a hot pink leopard print cat suit for the encore of cover Don’t Stop Me Now and the song that the majority solely came for, I Kissed A Girl, easily and predictably, receiving the best reaction of the night, as Katy came to the barrier and threw herself into the hysterical crowd, planting a smooch on one lucky female, before being silly-stringed by a few rogues in attendance.

Over the course of the year, Katy Perry has proved that she’s not just a one hit wonder and, tonight, she proved that she can hack it live, too. It really wouldn’t surprise me that if the next time she comes back here, instead of playing the Academy, she’ll be playing in front of 11,000 in Newcastle’s Metro Arena.

George (Intro & Sliimy) and Faye (Katy Perry).
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