Review: Katy Perry makes spectacular city return but wacky set reduces music to sideshow at circus
Belfast finally got to see Katy Perry last night, after the US superstar had spent 10 days in the city rehearsing her latest pop spectacular.
The Odyssey Arena was sold out for the first of two nights, as Perry launched the Prismatic World Tour in the company of her Northern Ireland fans.
But before Perry had made her dramatic entrance, a squad of dancers strutted their stuff, wielding glow-in-the-dark tridents and sporting equally garish mohawks.
They cavorted about while Perry emerged from inside a madly elaborate stage set that seemed to take up around half the arena's floor space.
It was immediately evident why she has spent nearly a fortnight fine-tuning everything.
Opening with the very dancey Roar, from the singer's latest album, the chart-topping Prism, the music was as loud as it was brash.
"Finally, we're back together again," Perry announced after another thunderous dance number. "I'm so excited, and I'm so nervous."
Indeed, she seemed as relieved that the unfolding extravaganza was going to plan as the audience was transfixed by it.
It was certainly dazzling, from the tiny green and red spotlights that filled the arena like a million glow worms during Love Me to the animatronic steed Perry rode out on for Dark Horse. Every song brought another bit of business that seemed designed to outdo what had come previously.
Sadly, the overblown approach was often at the expense of the songs.
When three dancers, one male and two female, rose above the crowd in a prism-shaped climbing frame and began doing acrobatics – with even Perry herself sidelined to a corner of the stage – it began to feel less like a gig than it did a circus.
Unlike the star's previous Belfast show – which had the playful vibe of a Tim Burton flick starring Alice Cooper's kid sister – last night was overly choreographed.
Still, the fans seemed happy enough, especially those in the 'Reflection Section' – an enclosed area located between two walkways leading off the stage that joined in the middle of the arena.
One lucky fan even got to share a pint of beer with Perry in one particularly surreal moment.
These more human touches were welcome, and when she got a chance to speak between set pieces, Perry proved she's still got her quirky sense of humour.
"Don't make me cry my false eyelashes off," she joked, as she read the gushing fan-made signs around the arena.
Elsewhere, popular hits including I Kissed A Girl, Hot n Cold and The One That Got Away remained glorious nuggets of pure pop, immune to the bombastic theatrics surrounding them.