05/15/2015

Teenage dreams coming true

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It was a feast for the eyes, complete with a dazzling light show, glittery costumes (not only worn by Katy, but also a good number of concert goers), and a crowd of nearly 30,000 strong. It was easily one of the biggest shows of Katy Perry’s “Prismatic” tour.

Now, I can’t attest that I’m obsessed with Katy Perry, or that Teenage Dream plays on repeat on my Spotify queue. I’m a casual fan. I was a pre-teen when I first heard of her, and of course, I ate it all up when she sang about not wanting to be “one of the boys.” You simply couldn’t escape from hearing her songs playing everywhere. But, I couldn’t bring myself to complain when she was my go-to artist at karaoke sessions.

So I found myself at the concert, and frankly, I felt like a pre-teen again. Not in a bad way though — there’s just something about dancing and singing to Top 40 hits that makes you feel shameless. In fact, there were countless parents and titas that were brazenly cheering along with their younger counterparts. It looked like they knew every word, too.

Photo by Magic Liwanag.
Photo by Magic Liwanag.

The Dolls, a duo that was one part DJ and one part violinist took the stage first. On their playlist was an arsenal of girl power anthems, from Beyoncé’s Run the World, to M.I.A.’s Bad Girls, but played on violin. Was the violin played live? They sure made it look like it, even if it didn’t seem electric, or plugged in anywhere — but I’m no expert and I enjoyed it nonetheless.

I had the perfect view. Katy seamlessly transitioned from song to song, from outfit to outfit. The theme of the set changed every few songs; it went from a juxtaposition of neon lights and tribal costumes, to space-age Ancient Egypt, to an ‘80s rave (complete with a Dance Cam that flashed to not-so-lucky concert-goers). I know, when I describe it, the concert sounds like it was all over the place. But seeing it in the flesh was all weirdly harmonic.

But of course, the concert wouldn’t have ended without an emotional segment where the piano and acoustic guitars were busted out. I always thought the whole lighter-in-the-air thing was a little bit too cheesy, but it actually looked amazing with the size of the crowd. I’m guilty of it myself — I pulled out my phone and activated the flashlight during Katy’s medley of The One That Got Away and Thinking of You. My eyes got a little misty, because hey, those two songs know how to pierce into a teenage girl’s heart.

By the end of the show, everyone was on their feet when the song I was waiting for the whole night came on – California Gurls. It was inarguably the best part of the whole thing, as the end of concerts always are. But huge ones like this always end kind of anticlimactically; the crowd was full of energy just a minute before, and then the lights were back on, and everyone and their mothers were trying to fight their way into the bathroom. The traffic on the way out was probably the worst I had ever experienced — it took about an hour and a half to make one U-turn, and another few to actually get out of the Philippine Arena complex. Traffic usually makes me incredibly antsy, but I was able to sleep soundly in the car, with Katy’s songs subconsciously playing in the back of my head.

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