When I made my way into the Crystal Ballroom Monday night for the Katy Perry show, I arrived in time to see a woman in her late 30s/early 40s getting kicked out for drunken behavior. She pleaded with security not to turn her out onto the streets since she was from Corvallis, so they humored her by phoning her husband. Hmmm. Weird sight for a concert aimed primarily at pre-teens. Apparently, the venue and promoter thought the same thing. When I got to the main floor, the normal barrier that protrudes down the center of the Crystal separating the drinkers from the under-21 crowd was gone. The only area for those desiring to imbibe was the balcony. But, the audience in attendance didn't quite mirror our young predictions—there were tons and tons of people over the age of 21, including a lot in their 40s. I guess we were too quick to judge Katy Perry's fanbase.
Purposely missing the opening band, I was exactly on time for Perry's entrance onto the stage, which was festooned with inflatable bananas, strawberries and a giant cat modeled after her own feline pet Kitty Purry. While the living blow-up doll's first two songs and brief flirtation with the hokey-pokey before introducing third song (and current single) "Hot N Cold" were on point, the show quickly devolved into Operation Wait Until "I Kissed a Girl." And it was a painful wait full of gratuitous profanity seemingly meant for mere shock and awe and a lot of balladry. The thing I liked about the Killers when the group was at its height of popularity was that they would play the hits as the fourth and fifth songs. It was an arrogant confidence that announced to the assembled crowd that the band knew something they didn't know: That the band had other tricks up their sleeves that it knew were worth hanging around for. Katy Perry couldn't quite make that promise, even though it's worth noting she played guitar, an impossible feat for many of her pop peers. And there was a cover of Outfield's "Your Love" thrown in, which offered the realization that maybe she should've bumped some of her own songs for more covers instead.
As the clock ticked towards 10, it was encore time. "I Kissed A Girl" served as an appropriately thundering close, nearly redeeming the past hour of filler entertainment. Not only did she reveal a giant inflatable tube of lipstick meant to mimic the lyric about "cherry chapstick" but a pair of 40 year-old women in front of me broke out cherry chapstick tubes of their own with glee. Hmmm... indeed.
All photos by Nilina Mason-Campbell