Katy Perry terrific at first of three L.A. shows
Savvy she may be, and funny too, but to them Perry – who was simply terrific Friday night in a two-hour extravaganza at Nokia Theatre, her first of three sold-out shows there this weekend – is nothing more than the latest pinup reaping millions off easy hooks and eye-grabbing cleavage
She’s nothing if not a head-turner, whether in her silvery Katy’s Kisses outfit for “California Gurls” or shimmering in strangely padded tights that don’t entirely flatter her legs. Her show comes laced with cat-suits, straight-jacket straps, cream-shooting water-guns and other bits of playful allure that still don’t venture beyond PG-13 fare – and it’s such ridiculously giddy fun that it’s hard to look away, and harder still not to smile.
Yet Perry isn’t as inch-deep as all that seems. For starters, she’s no dope when it comes to her music, which manages to bridge dance-pop and light-rock in ways few other performers have pulled off in the past decade. Swedish star Robyn, who opened with an energetic, superbly received set, is another who can do it and reach the sort of KCRW cool-kids crowd that rebukes Katy.
What they dismiss is the considerable skill that goes into crafting ditties as irresistible as “Teenage Dream” and “Firework” and “Waking Up in Vegas,” all of which Perry principally wrote (like every other song she’s ever recorded). She merits her recent Rolling Stone cover for more than just popularity.
Yet Perry, at 26, would appear to be following her trajectory, albeit on fast-forward.
She did her formative struggling in her teen years as a failed Christian pop wannabe, and since coming of age has broken out huge and in a hurry, leaping from showcases at the Hotel Café to a surefire showstopper at Staples Center (where she gives an encore performance Nov. 22) in less than five years. The trick to that, of course, doesn’t rest strictly in the strength of the star-maker machinery. It’s more so in the ability of said star to connect with her following in a lasting way.