I came to an epiphany on Tuesday night at Britney Spears’ Femme Fatale show at the AAC. She may not be the most artistic or profound artist out there, but she does serve a purpose. Much in the same way Transformers movies serve a purpose at the theater. You can’t expect a deeper meaning behind them. Spears’ music isn’t trying to change the world; it’s pop music that has fun and flirts and dances its way through the ears and body. If anything, and without knowing it, Spears might actually encourage people to live in the moment.
The cohesion of her show may have been applied with a Band-Aid as her costume and set changes were the femme fatale in various disguises, but her and her cadre of dancers churned out the energy like DJs at a gay bar in full swing. Nary a break was to be found in the high energy set list that thumped its way into the adulating fans as they roared with each song. The true fans knew all the words to even her non-hits from Fatale, while the rest fanatically pumped their fists and danced to the beat.
Each costume and set was threaded with a film narrative of a man tracking the “sexy assassin” down but to try to tell a story here didn’t add much to any theme or tone.
Gone are the strong line dances as she’s reduced her moves to patty-cake hand movements, cheap stripper-esque poses and a whole lot of hair whipping, but instead, this is who Britney Spears is and even if it lacked a certain panache, it still reduced fans to tears and screams. Unfortunately, lip-synching rumors were evident as her vocal tracks were crystal clear from the beginning with “Hold It Against Me” to almost the end. I could say I heard a breathier, realistic tone to her singing in the encore “Toxic” and it wasn’t bad.
She nodded to her early days with a snippet of “Baby One More Time,” but she smartly focused on her adult work. “Gimme More,” “If You Seek Amy” and closer “Womanizer” all peppered the set list comprised mostly of Fatale tracks. Although she surprisingly did the ballad “Don’t Let Me Be the Last to Know” in full swing. Literally, on a swing above the stage with a ripped dancer dangling along in full Cirque-like action.
We got to see man-butt on screen during “Boys” and a very awkward lapdance during “Lace and Leather” with a volunteer from the audience. Picking a young man from the audience, he was handcuffed as she and her dancers overtly writhed around him. I would dare to say the guy wasn’t even 21, if even 18. Trust me. Awkward. I recoiled at her Egyptian set because it reminded me too much of this and flashes of lynch mobs entered my head.
Although the show trucked along with hit after hit, there was a sort of ramp-up toward the end. Appearing on a huge glittery guitar, Spears picked up the speed with Madonna’s “Burning Up” followed by current hit “I Wanna Go” and “Womanizer.” The party got a second wind that was better than everything before it. The encore of “Toxic” and “Till the World Ends” was superb in its energy and visuals. Although Spears may be blamed for phoning a lot of her work in lately, she was there Tuesday night and didn’t let Dallas forget it.
Having said that, Nicki Minaj was fan-fucking-tastic. With her own dance crew in military/drill team fashion, she churned out a performance that was jaw-dropping and performed like a superstar who easily could have headlined the night. Where Spears’ performance was pretty much to the detail, Minaj and gang had a free flow that brought the audience into her easily. With her own backdrop of LED displays, she kicked everyone’s ass in the arena and still had the refrain of a respectable opening act. When she reappeared during Spears’ “Till the World Ends,” the crowd was deafening.
Although I missed DJ team Nervo, Jessie and the Toy Boys performed a respectable act. Her dance music wasn’t groundbreaking, but her insistence on giving a performance with heart didn’t go unnoticed.
After the concert was over, and like a Transformers movie, I left with a satisfaction of visual spectacle, ringing ears and residual overflowing energy from the audience. Simply, the concert was fun and for that moment, I didn’t worry about Spears having some profound message to the world, her lip-synching or her train wreck of a career. I joined the ranks and opted to party on.
All I didn’t have was popcorn, but that shit’s too expensive up there.