Katy Perry @ HMV Apollo 17th March 2011

The California Dreams tour had hit the UK. This was the first date out of 3 at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo. Katy Perry has come a long way since I saw her for the first time at her 2nd ever UK gig at Scala in 2008. She has raised the bar and also the fanbase has sky rocketed. People were queueing from 5.30 in the morning just to be right at the front. Since the release of Teenage Dream Katy’s has definately raised her game. After playing mid size venues (Koko, Shepherd’s Bush Empire) on the 2009 Hello Katy tour 2011 saw her play at the bigger venues. The California Dreams tour opened up with 3 sold out shows at HMV Apollo shows (that is about 27,000 people she would play to over the 3 nights). Then April is Wembley Arena then 2 nights at o2 Arena in October. Now I arrived around 10.15am to find just under 30 people queueing. So the thought of being right at the front in the centre to the left or right became a distant dream. Also the Katy Perry HMV Hammersmith Apollo app on Facebook turned out to be really stressful. With this you have to check in claim the deal which was limited to 100 people. The battery life on my phone was nearly wiped out. Thankfully this deal was not working and therfore was cancelled for this date. This was a relief to the people right at the front. The doors then opened on time and what happened next puzzles me. Basically there were three people scanning in the tickets. I went to the door where no one was. I had my ticket scanned then when I was inside I was the first one there. The only thing I can think of is all the scanners failed. When I had my ticket scanned it wasn’t turning green but I was let through. So I then found myself at the barrier and my distant dream came true. It was then onto an hours wait till the first act of the night and this being French group Yelle. Yelle are Julie Budet, Jean-François Perrier and Tanguy Destable. Now this was a strange choice of support act. They were fantastic but the songs that featured during the 8 song set were all in their native language French. Now I really enjoyed the set and I definately want to see them live again in future. The set opened up with Safari Disco Club taken from the self titled second album and the final song being the bands first ever single A Cause Des Garcons from the debut album Pop Up. I think to appreciate this band you need to hear their music more than once. Despite the songs being sung in French there was a pop feel to each one of them. I think other songs in the set included Ce Jeu from the first album S’eteint Le Soleil, C’est Pas Une Vie which were both taken from the new album.

Around 9.15pm the cupcake curtain rose to reveal a candyland plus three screens which were hanging above the stage. The thing that made this gig memorable was the fact there was a narrative to it. The first part of the story showed Kat being ordered to leave the butcher’s shop (where she worked)  and afterwards Katy went into a cupcake shop where she met the Baker’s Boy. The story then begins to take shape after Perry cannot find Kitty Purry so therfore goes through the catflap to enter an alternate world which is completely made from candy. This then led nicely into the first song of the night Teenage Dream. “Hello London” Katy said before launching into the song. The audience were going crazy and were singing to every word of this song. The dancers were a nice little addition as well. The night felt more like a show rather than just being a gig. It was then into Hummingbird Heartbeat which was a real audience pleaser. “Hello, Welcome to the California Dreams tour, I’m Katy Perry and I’m so happy to finally be here” she said before launching into Waking Up In Vegas from the first album One Of The Boys. “Let’s eat some sweets until we get sick”. This song was very energetic plus there were alot of people singing along to this song. “Who wants some cash” Perry said towards the end of the song. Cue Katy and her dancers throwing cash into the crowd. After the first of many outfit changes it was then onto One Of The Boys track Ur So Gay. For this song Katy was joined by two mime artists and this song was delivered to sheer perfection. When the song is ending Katy is being teased with a chocolate brownie. Peacock then followed on and Katy’s dress had been removed and a big feathered tail had been attached to her. Next was onto I Kissed A Girl. Katy was wearing a sleek green dress.

“Anybody sexy enough to throw me their shirt”. Cue loads of people throwing items of clothing onto the stage. “Remember it’s cold outside” Katy told the crowd. Well this version of this song was unique at first it started slow and powerful then it got more rockier. It was then onto another video interlude which showed Perry on her quest to find Kitty Purry. Katy then turned into a cat and when she made her entrance she was wearing a black cat outfit. Circle The Drain is one of my many favourites from Teenage Dream. It was delievered strongly and the song itself is rather rocky. The forthcoming single E.T went down well with the crowd. What Am I Living For? came next and what followed after was Pearl. Now Pearl was a beautiful steady paced song and I adore its lyrics. Ballad Not Like The Movies proved to be a tearjerker as Perry made her entrance on a massive swing and clips from cartoons were being played on the screen behind her. What happened next was slightly special. This was to be an acoustic medley of 4 different songs. Katy urged for someone to chuck £1 at her. So there were quite a few people that hurled money on stage. “I hate picking money off the floor, I feel like a stripper”. Katy then asked the crowd what songs they wanted to hear. Someone shouted out Justin Bieber and there were plenty of boos for him. “Do you know Justin Bieber is my adopted son with Russel” Katy then said to the crowd. The first song being a slowed down version of Rihanna’s Only Girl (In The World) which sounded amazing. The second song of this medley being Big Pimpin’ and what came after was Lady Gaga’s Born This Way. The take on this song was incredible and turned out to be a massive sing a long. This take on this song was extremely unique. The last song of this medley was Willow Smith’s Whip My Hair. Before the next song Katy told the crowd she had been watching The Only Way Is Essex, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Morgana. “I’m going to get one of those dresses made and wear it on stage, watch out” Perry told the crowd after mentioning My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. “I want to dedicate this next song to all of you guys because you’re constantly on my mind”.

It was then onto slushy ballad this being Thinking Of You. Now for this song it was just the crowd and Katy. The song is actually a tad emotional as well. Once over Katy went offstage for another change of outfit. While this was happening there was a interlude of the Jackon 5’s Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground) sung by one of her dancers. Once back onstage (donning blue hair) it was then onto a magical performance of Hot N Cold. During this song there were plenty of costume changes. This illusion was fantastic and by the end of the night I was still left wondering how this was done. Weekend anthem Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F) followed on and this song really needs to be released as a single. It was really strong and contagious at the same time. The penultimate song of the night was a unique take on Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance With Somebody. Kitty Purry made a appearence during this song. At the end Katy picked some fans to dance onstage with her.

selections from her debut One Of The Boys and some carefully selected covers. With the stage decked out with all varieties of candy and the smell of candy floss in the air, this was easily Perry’s biggest touring production yet. The tomboy era of her debut album has gone and in its place is a pure-pop rush that had last night’s audience screaming with delight. Ending the night was Perry’s favourite song Firework. She mentioned that all the fans were her sparks. There were plenty of people singing along to this energetic song. The band then went offstage and then the crowd were treated to the final video interlude. Everything was just a dream then the Baker’s Boy knocked on the door as a gingerbread man. The encore was California Gurls and Katy was wearing a cupcake dress. There was a real party atmosphere during this song and everyone was singing/ dancing along to it.

SET LIST

Teenage Dream
Hummingbird Heartbeat
Waking Up In Vegas
Ur So Gay
Peacock
I Kissed A Girl
Circle The Drain
E.T.
Who Am I Living For?
Pearl
Not Like The Movies
Acoustic Medley: Only Girl (In The World)/Big Pimpin’/Born This Way/Whip My Hair
Thinking Of You
Michael Jackson Tribute: Shake Your Body (Down To The Ground)
Hot N Cold
Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)
I Wanna Dance With Somebody
Firework

ENCORE

California Gurls

OVERALL: This night was sheer pop perfection. The perfect sugar rush. Now Katy’s fanbase has gone through the roof and this is down to the fact how amazing Teenage Dream is. Back in 2009 during the Hello Katy tour you wouldn’t have people queueing from 6am in the morning to be right at the front. She definately has upped her game and the fact there is a narrative is amazing. This tour is a must see.

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