Flooding the concourses of the 1stBank Center on Tuesday night was a sea of teenagers, mostly young ladies — not quite the hypersexual “Teenage Dream” Katy Perry sings about in her hit songs.
But, of course, Perry’s fans skew young. Who else is pop radio’s biggest audience?
When 2010′s most popular artist hit the suburban arena’s stage, she was greeted as the pop royalty she is. She boldly replied with a set-opening take on “Teenage Dream,” the brilliant song that helped define popular music in 2010-11. She also let out a throaty “Hello, Denver!” that was more aggressive than innocent.
And that’s part of Perry’s appeal. The kids love the simplicity of her songs, and adults can relate to her fun sexuality.
Perry makes it work.
Again, “Teenage Dream” is a legendary pop song — structured and formulaic, yeah, but also a perfect anthem for our times. “E.T.” is an explicit dance jam, and Perry and her seven dancers, two backup singers and five-piece band transformed the single into an even bigger party onstage.
While Perry is quite likable, and her voice sounded solid Tuesday, she’s not the most charismatic performer. She doesn’t appear to be completely comfortable in front of a large crowd.
Her discomfort was visible when she slinked into a flashy, lounged-out “I Kissed a Girl,” which grew into the arena rock jam that first introduced us to Perry. As she strode the stage in an oversized feather boa, her herky-jerky stomps and wide- eyed, slightly nervous glances gave away her poker face.
But for the most part, Perry’s concert — vaguely focused on a story involving her going through a magic portal in search of her cat, Kitty Purry — was a visual treat. Who doesn’t want the Cirque du Soleil-like aerial action during “Pearl” or the Katy-on-a-swing portrait of “Not Like the Movies.”
Of course, that meant the crowd had to sit through “Hummingbird Heartbeat,” “Peacock” and her karaoke-hour take on Jay-Z and Rebecca Black — eww — but even the hardcore fans sang along to those. At one point, Perry invited a “Denver boyfriend” to the stage — a shirtless, much-envied lad with “I love Katy” written on his chest. When she asked him how old he was and he replied proudly with “17,” she quipped back instantly: “Get off the (expletive) stage.”
That’s why we love her. She’s well aware of the kids in the audience. But there’s no candy-coating it — not even in Perry’s Candy Land.