Katy Perry – Live @ Spark Arena, Auckland 2018
Walking up to Spark Arena Monday night, the crowd outside can be heard from around the corner. The general excitement is almost palpable and I hadn’t even managed to get inside yet! Getting into the arena itself is like walking into another world. There were just so many people out last night including plenty of young kids with parents out on a school night little knowledge of what was in store for them.
WORDS BY KIMBERLY JONES | PHOTOS BY DAVID WATSON
With the stands full the crowd is buzzing. It was amazing to see so many people dressed up and really taking advantage of the night out.
There were plenty of wigs of varying colours but my favourite was a group of girls dressed up like Katy’s Roar video, grass skirt, wigs and a touch of face paint. I spoke to one 5-year-old girl with her mum waiting in line for some merchandise and she was out for her first ever concert. The smile on her face is going to be one I remember for a long time yet.
The arena itself is set up with a large curved catwalk that reaches halfway down the arena. There is a massive eye set up as screens at the back of the stage symbolising the eye from Katy’s album, Witness. Looking around the crowd with the lights lowered reveals many people with cat ear headbands lit in red and purple.
Almost immediately after Zedd finished on stage, the crowd went wild as smoke started to filter from the rear of the stage. Katy’s band all come onto stage in a kind of uniform suit full of various symbols and large bows for the girls in their hair. Katy doesn’t disappoint as she enters from behind the large eye sitting on top of a large star full of lights. She was a spectacle in a hooded red glitter outfit looking like a priestess starting the night with Roulette from her Witness album.
Very attentive to all her fans, Katy made sure she walked every bit of the stage for the first song and this continued throughout the concert. She acknowledged that Auckland had been so patient as Katy had started this tour almost 1 year ago now with only 2 shows left until she finished.
Dark Horse was next and for anyone not familiar this was quite clearly one of her top hits. Anyone that wasn’t already standing got up and started to dance. Two puppeteers joined Katy on stage controlling giant men with TV screens as heads for Chained to the Rhythm. “I had heard you were fun! Now I’m starting to believe it” Katy shares before she leaves the stage for a quick costume change.
Back out on stage in a white checked suit and signature red glasses, a warmed up Katy belts out another hit, Teenage Dream. Not only did Katy get changed, all her dancers did too and together they created such a story to be told for each and every song performed. There was plenty of cheeky attitude and fun being had which was openly received by the crowd. I had been told that Katy could really put on a show, but I have to say this was much more than expected.
Teasing the audience Katy removed her jacket to reveal a neon shirt flashing Hot/Cold. The scream from the crowd was deafening and Katy laughed as she said: “What happens if I show you my ankle?” Often referring to the crowd as her “Cute Little Kiwi’s”, she checks in to make sure everyone is having a good night and has a brief chat about what she has done while in New Zealand.
Playing guitar Katy performs Hot then Cold with large flamingos dancing around the stage. TGIF was a treat for all those at the end of the runway and is followed up with California Girls and the appearance of a shark. A short skit between the shark and Katy had everyone laughing as they played various tunes on a foot piano including chopsticks. Katy warns that she is a very serious musician and for any journalists here tonight, just stop right now.
Another change and Katy is back for I Kissed a Girl wearing yet another jacket with a large eye on the back.
This was a show that just kept giving and giving with a large set of lips coming from the depths of the stage which ‘ate’ Katy at the end of the set. Absolutely owning the stage, Katy walks the runway like a model as she gives her best for De Ja Vu leading into Tsunami. What was mind-blowing for me was the serious talent of the male pole dancer, Fernando, at the top of the catwalk who was captivating in the precision of contorting up, down and around what appeared to be a 4-metre tall flower bud.
Following up with ET, Bon Appetit and Wide Awake made sure that no one was sitting idle. Getting on what appeared to be Saturn, Katy played acoustic guitar in a similar outfit to her opening act, only in silver. High above the audience, Katy is transported to a small tear drop shaped stage to the left of the catwalk. Here she greets some of her fans to much applause, receives some homemade earrings from the crowd and passionately performs her love song Into Me You See.
After dedicating Power to all the strong women in the audience, Katy introduced her band. Katy reappears in a blue outfit and chats with a 12-year-old in the seated GA section. She asked if he could floss. After what I think is the fastest floss I have seen, Katy hands him a signed fan before continuing on with Swish Swish. It was great to see how much Katy involved herself with the audience. Including encouraging all the kids to show how they can floss and inviting 2 girls up to play a shootout in basketball. While introducing her dancers, a large lion emerges on stage indicating Roar as the next number.
Finishing up the night, yet again airborne, with Pendulum and Firework at the top of the catwalk, the crowd was stunned with fireworks erupting on stage as well as confetti cannons showering everyone with stars. Such an amazing show was really well put together and full of theatrics. A late show for a Monday for some of the younger ones but a memory to hold onto. With one final show Tuesday night, Katy still gave her all and ensured her fans were appreciated.