I made the unfortunate mistake of watching a YouTube video or two before actually going to Katy Perry’s Witness: The Tour on Wednesday night.
There was a little disappointment because I quickly realised this wasn’t the exact big stage she dragged along for the majority of the world (in some shows she emerges on a giant star during the opening number, which looked pretty darn impressive). Did it matter? Not one little bit.
You see, I’ve Just Dance-ed with Lady Gaga, Pour-ed it Up with Rihanna, listened to The Best Song Ever with One Direction, went on Starships with Nicki Minaj and said Sorry with Justin Bieber – but none of it compared to Perry’s first performance in South Africa.
Katy Perry and her brand of pop has never been about convention and once she locks eyes with you on this tour, she steals your heart, whether you’re a fan or not. That says a lot about how mesmerising the entire experience is.
Built around an eye-shaped screen, the stage is a character in itself, transforming for each section of the concert, starting with a space journey in the first act when Perry makes her grand appearance, draped in red sequins. What happens next is a trifecta of good showmanship.
After touring a year, appearing as a judge on American Idol and everything in between, Perry seems fresh and joyful when she asks: “Joburg, will you be my witness tonight?”
The roars from the floor to the bleachers was a resounding “yes” as Perry delivered hit after hit in one of the best live productions I’ve seen in a non-theatre space. She never misses a beat and is a ball of energy, bouncing from the runway to the stage.
And that’s the magic. From beginning to end it feels like Perry actually cares about delivering something that will stay with you forever.
It’s the same sort of mark directors leave with a good movie, or artists with a defining work. So much so, that whether you’re right up front, or in the nosebleeds, during Witness you get to feel as though Perry is talking directly to you.
While Witness, the album, received mixed reviews, during the show songs from the album dazzle, thanks to the over-the-top stage production. But don’t think Perry doesn’t include every hit from One of the Boys, Teenage Dream and Prism. It’s a party from beginning to end.
If you have tickets for tonight’s sold-out show, feel lucky because you’re going to see something that will stick with you a while. If you don’t have tickets, do everything you can to get some.
This wasn’t just another Big Concerts experience, this was something life changing, big stage or not.