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Katy Perry: Pop’s Perfect Powerhouse
5.0Overall Score

When Katy Perry announced that she was bringing her ‘Witness: The Tour’ spectacular to South Africa, local fans went wild. It prompted the promoter to schedule an impressive three Johannesburg tour dates and tickets instantly flew off the shelves. The demand is unsurprising. Katy Perry is one of the biggest pop stars in the world. She has broken countless Billboard chart records, had an impressive five number one hits off her ‘Teenage Dream’ album and has moved millions of copies of her records around the world. Here, Katy Perry has solidified a strong fanbase of KatyCats and now, after a decade of waiting, the star has brought her music to South Africa – and the wait was well worth it.

Katy Perry has worked hard to ensure that her shows are a mind-blowing audio-visual experience – and ‘Witness: The Tour’ was everything we hoped it would be. Opening acts Elle B (who has been Katy Perry’s backing vocalist for eight years) and The Dolls set the mood wonderfully but nothing prepared us for the high-energy extravaganza that Katy Perry unleased on the first of three nights at the Ticketpro Dome.

The event started off with a near-three-minute introduction which saw Katy shoot up from the centre of the stage in true pop star fashion. It was clear that ‘Witness: The Tour’ wasn’t going to be your ordinary concert. Not since Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way Ball’ have we seen such an extravaganza on local soil. Katy pulled out all the stops and filled the show with all the bells and whistles you could imagine.

The staging was phenomenal. A variety of raised bars and platforms added to the show’s performance value which was incredibly entertaining to watch. The production is a visual experience of note. Katy had an array of different props and costumes which really brought the wow factor to the stage and beyond. Some of the stage props included a jungle-gym “Little Shop of Horrors”-like creature, huge flamingos, a rose stripper pole of sorts and so much more. With the stage looking so spectacular, Katy ensured that the costumes worn throughout the production paired perfectly with the story she was sharing. From sequined catsuit-like dresses to a sexy latex ensemble and even an LED bra, Katy pulled out all the stops ensuring that the show was unlike anything local fans have seen before.

Running at just over an hour and a half long, Katy made sure she gave her all. The tour is energetic, fast, entertaining and shows the potential pop stars have when it comes to their live show. Because the show is so high-energy, Katy’s vocals did feel the brunt of the workout but it’s nothing her incredible backing vocalists can’t fix. However, that’s not to say that the star didn’t give a phenomenal performance. When she stripped things down performing ‘Wide Awake’ and ‘Unconditionally’, her voice was crystal clear and proved that she does, indeed, have the whole package.

One of the big highlights is her skit with Left Shark. Left Shark was a character born out of one of her props during her Superbowl performance after seeming incredibly out of sync with the stage’s Right Shark. However, instead of it being messy, Left Shark became a cultural phenomenon and it was great to see Katy incorporating the character into her new show.

The only thing we would have liked to see Katy make more of a splash about was the fact that her first South African performance took place on what would have been Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday. The star posted a video of the former South African president on her Instastories earlier in the day but mentioned nothing throughout her performance.

However, Katy Perry brought her A-game and ‘Witness: The Tour’ is easily one of the greatest pop concerts to have ever been performed on South African soil. Her chemistry with the crowd and her dancers was incredible, the setlist had an array of new tracks intertwined with the hits we’ve been waiting a decade to hear and every aspect of the production was meticulously crafted so that the concert goer would have the ultimate concert experience. After witnessing this extravaganza, it’s clear why Katy Perry is one of the biggest names in pop music today.

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